September 11 2011. The stinging date that will forever be linked to the single worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil ever encountered. For the last ten years, 9/11 conspiracy theories have held that the U.S. government played a role in the attacks, or even carried them out itself, all to promote a war in the Middle East, beginning in Afghanistan. While the theories have been proven dead wrong by hard evidence and science, they were on to something when they questioned the U.S.’s use of the attacks to promote illegal wars in the Middle East – Too bad most Americans won’t listen to that last part.
Since the unspeakable tragedies that occurred on September 11, 2001, conspiracy theorists have long speculated that the attacks that day were not orchestrated by al-Qaeda, as is widely held, but instead by the U.S. government itself. While there are certain aspects of 9/11 that are puzzling, such as the failure to intercept any of the four hijacked planes, none of the “evidence” that has been presented to suggest a mass plot by the U.S. has ever been validated.
Conspiracy theories claim, for example, that there’s no way the Twin Towers would have fallen so quickly (only after 1 to 2 hours of fires) unless there were controlled demolitions that were set up prior to the attacks. Some even reported hearing explosions shortly before the collapse. An extensive investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, however, concluded that roughly 10,000 gallons of jet fuel spread fires to many floors other than just those hit by the planes, causing the floors to sag and the perimeter columns to bend (causing the sounds of “explosions”). Controlled demolitions are also always carried out from the bottom floors up, yet these collapses started at the top.
Another question brought up in September 11 conspiracy theories asks why the crash site of United Airlines flight 93 was so small, and why aircraft debris was not visible. Theorists say it’s because flight 93 was shot down by a missile and disintegrated in mid air. There are, however, clear photographs and even video evidence of a normal sized crash site. Light debris like paper and insulation was blown by the wind just over a mile, not many miles as originally theorized. The cockpit voice recorder also showed that there had been a passenger revolt and that the hijackers deliberately crashed the plane.
Yet another claim made by conspiracy theorists is that an airplane didn’t hit the Pentagon, or that even if one did it couldn’t have been done so by an amateur pilot. Airplane wreckage (including the black boxes) was recovered at the scene, however, and witnesses did see the plane hit the Pentagon. Remains of crew and passengers were also positively identified by DNA, debunking this rumor as well.
As we approach September 11, 2011, 10 years since the attacks, the aftershock of these theories proven wrong is that those who question the government’s motive for invading the Middle East lose great credibility in their efforts – whether or not they place any faith whatsoever in 9/11 conspiracy. Sadly, there is a lot to question too.
After September 11, the U.S. government seized on an opportunity to make power re-alignments and secure quickly-depleting resources by first invading Afghanistan to pursue the face of the “enemy,” identified as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Besides a tape of bin Laden “boasting” about the attacks, no hard evidence has ever linked bin Laden to 9/11, yet a propaganda machine against bin Laden rivaling Hitler’s against the Jews was fed to Americans until his eventual death at the hands of Navy SEALs on May 1, 2011.
It’s not to say bin Laden was completely innocent. Whether or not he was responsible for 9/11, he applauded the attacks and was still guilty of atrocities and terrorism elsewhere, but immediately attaching his name to 9/11 was an arrogant move by U.S. leaders to put a face to our tragedy and provide an enemy to their war. They wouldn’t stop, they told us, until bin Laden had been captured or killed. Yet, as reported by the Guardian at the time, Taliban foreign minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil offered to hand over bin Laden in October of 2001 for a trial in a country other than the U.S. in exchange for a halt to the bombing. The U.S. declined.
The underlying point is this: The wars we’ve experienced in the Middle East (one in Afghanistan supported by unsubstantiated claims that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 and one in Iraq supported by unsubstantiated claims that Sadam Husein was harboring weapons of mass destruction) were imperialistic in nature, with the U.S. storming those countries without any absolute evidence that they were guilty of what they were being accused of – Yet they were sold to the American people with lies, spins, fear, media strategies and cover-ups. And our children will still be paying off the wars in years to come.