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My Argument with the 9/11 Truth Movement

After publishing a piece on the idiocy of the Birther movement, I've been inundated with hundreds of emails decrying my comparison of the Birthers to the 9/11 Truthers.
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After publishing a piece on the absolute idiocy of the Obama Birther movement and its potential to turn nasty, I've been inundated with literally hundreds of emails decrying my comparison of the Birthers to the 9/11 Truthers.

The offending paragraph:

The 9/11 truth movement was enormously helpful to the Bush
Administration as it provided a giant distraction from the colossal
crimes they committed in Iraq and Afghanistan. If their energies had
been directed in a positive way, there's a good chance Bush would have
been impeached and Dick Cheney thrown in jail. Alas, the 9/11 truth
movement dedicated its time to proving the U.S government tried to kill
thousands of its own people in exchange for gold/political power.

The Birther movement can be compared to the 9/11 truth movement, perhaps not in scale, but certainly in its potency.

The emails I have received have made for an entertaining read. The absolute certainty with which otherwise fairly rational people have asserted that the U.S. government planned, carried out and covered up the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon has blown me away.

I have been accused of complicity with the attacks, called a 'traitor to the human race,' and a terrorist. This is an example of a typical email:

You're either a complete ignoramus (see PatriotsQuestion911 --, and the peer-reviewed article about nano-thermite found in WTC dust samples -- Google it)...

...or a Mockingbird sayanim flak covering up for the Mossad's involvement (Dominick Souter, Urban Moving Systems, Odigo, Zim Shipping) and an accomplice after the fact to mass murder.

Consider yourself outed.

And that was one of the more polite messages sent by the 9/11 Truth Movement foot soldiers.

Another theme that has come up over and over in the emails flooding my account are the 'facts' regarding 'Building 7'. I've skimmed some of them, and they mostly revolve around the idea that rich
business men had insurance policies for the building that wasn't hit directly, and that it contained gold, and secret documents held by Enron, Exxon, and other evil
corporations that helped orchestrate the attacks.

In fairness, I have also received some polite emails suggesting I do more research on the subject before offering an opinion, but the majority have come from arm chair warriors spewing language that would make a sailor blush.

I have done some research on the topic, but stopped fairly quickly into when it dawned on me that:

1. Any alternative to the official account of what happened is so absurd it simply cannot be true.

2. No reputable scientific journal has ever taken any of the 'science' of the conspiracy seriously.

3. The evidence supporting the official story is overwhelming, whereas the 9/11 Truthers have yet to produce a shred of concrete evidence that members of the U.S. government planned the attacks in New York and Washington.

A couple of years ago, I went to court to testify in a case against someone who had committed a crime against myself and three other people. I won't go into detail, but the case against the defendant was pretty air tight. All four witnesses provided independent, stunningly similar accounts of the crimes the defendant had committed, and all four witnesses had been living in separate countries for the previous decade without any contact whatsoever.

Regardless, the defendant was found not guilty and released without charge. Why? Because the defense attorney alluded to the idea that we had orchestrated a complex conspiracy against the defendant in order to destroy his life. The defense did not provide any evidence of their own, but simply picked holes in the witnesses accounts, all of whom were recalling events from over 10 years before. It was a simple, yet incredibly effective strategy, and the defendant walked free. The 12 regular folks chosen randomly to be jurors failed to see through the tactic, and believed there remained 'reasonable doubt' that he had not committed the crime.

And herein lies the ultimate weapon the 9/11 Truthers wield over your average 'Myth Busters' viewer: They don't have to prove a damn thing. They just have to raise enough doubt, pick enough holes, and use enough 'science' to make you think twice about the official theory.

It's the same type of intellectually bankrupt shenanigans the Bush Administration pulled when 'proving' the case for war against Iraq. They cherry picked evidence, ignored information that disproved their theory, and used a massive disinformation campaign to persuade people the Saddam Hussein was a reincarnation of Attila the Hun and the biggest threat to America since Adolf Hitler.

Given enough time and resources, you could prove that Barack Obama was in fact an alien invader from the planet Krypton, sent to earth to destroy America and turn everyone into slaves. I imagine you'd start with the whole Birther Movement nonsense, then move on to the fact that he alluded to it in a speech he gave when running for president.

The fact is, no one could have ever predicted what would happened to the World Trade Center when a two Boeing 767s were flown into it, because you couldn't exactly recreate the scenario in a laboratory. Science is often limited in its ability to predict, mostly because the real world doesn't conform to standards set in a lab. There are simply too many variables, and the best scientist recognize this and understand that their methodology is intrinsically flawed. While there have been planes flown into buildings before, nothing exactly like that had happened before, and no one really had any idea what would happen if it did.

There are so many variables at play, it is easy to pick holes in the official theory and claim that in fact what we saw (two massive passenger planes flying at high speed into a building) didn't actually happen.

The problem is, by all sane accounts, it did, and the alternative is so ridiculous, you'd have to be a moron to even entertain it.

The Bush Administration was far too incompetent to pull off anything as complex as the attacks on 9/11, and to think that they could have covered it up afterward is even more absurd. What they did do was carry out and monstrously fuck up two illegal invasions of sovereign nations for oil. And thanks to the 9/11 Truth Movement, a considerable amount of attention was taken away from the people trying to hold the Bush Administration accountable.

The 9/11 Truth movement is fighting a pointless battle for a pointless cause. They have spent enormous amounts of time and energy on the matter, taking attention away from legitimate criticisms of the debacle and the ensuing blood bath that followed. And for that, they are the traitors, not me.

And please, if you are part of the movement, don't email me any more. You're wasting your time.

Not that it seems to matter.

Ben Cohen is the editor of The Daily