I do not like to blog while angry, but, I find it difficult to keep my temper under control…
In the wake of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade buildings in New York, there are so many idiotic (sorry – that is the only term that fits) claims being made that it makes my blood boil. Yes, I have said much of what Ithis before, and others have said it better than I – but, it seems to me, it requires re-telling.
Perhaps this time, I will say ir better – more methodically, more clearly…
Here are a few of the true claims people make – but whose significance is constantly misunderstood and misinterpreted by those who claim the 9/11 tragedy is part of a conspiracy by the US government.
Most of these ‘cospiracy theorists’ state:
‘The Government’ knew about the bombers’ plans and ‘let’ 9/11 it happen (on purpose).
To recognize the silliness of this statement, one needs to understand a little bit about the governance structures in large organizations – and, let’s face it, the US Government is a mammoth-sized one!
(I am no ‘governance guru’ – but, during one of my previous ‘professional’ incarnations, I have spent close to a decade evaluating governance in government projects. I have some limited experience analyzing, evaluating and re-structuring governance, in private, public and non-profit organizations.)
First, one must address the question: What is ‘the government’?
‘The government’ is an ‘organization made up of organization’s, each with its own agents (civil servants) – and agendas (including institutional and specific problems). Just because a ‘civil servant A’ in organization ‘B’ gets a piece of information does not mean that ‘civil servants C,D,E…etc’ in other organizations (agencies and/or departments) actually have any inkling that this bit of information exists – much less have access to it. If ‘civil servant A’ does not grasp the significance of this isolated piece of information – or has simply not processed it yet, even their supervisor may not become aware of it!
Because information is organized and graded – and only ‘kicked up’ once a certain ‘quantum’ of information/significance has been accumulated. This is how organizations gather and process information – it they did not, the organization would be crippled by the ‘noise’ of irrelevant information.
I mean the term irrelevant information quite literally – information whose relevance has not been assessed! Thus, the information is not yet connected to the facts it is relevant to – and before this assessment is made, and made correctly, the information is simply not usable.
If you excuse the tired jigsaw puzzle comparison – it may be used often, but because it is analogous…
Each bit of information is like a 1 million piece jigsaw puzzle being worked on by 1 000 people. If every puzzle piece picked up by each person is immediately shown to every other person – without regard to its relevance (Is it a corner piece? Does it have a distinguishing mark on it?) – the process is so chaotic that the puzzle will never be built.
Similarly, just because different people in different branches of the government each had a bit of relevant information does not mean they had the opportunity to fit them together. Most isolated pieces of information were not relevant enough on their own to ‘pass on’ – even were there no rivalries between various agencies each of which wanted be the one to solve ‘puzzles. Add to this the realization that most of the various agencies thought they were each working on a separate, limited investigation… They were simply not even aware that there was a bigger puzzle they should be fitting their bits of information into!
So, yes: ‘the government’ had all the information – or much of it.
Had all of it been seen by one person who happened to recognize its relevance and how to piece it together, it could potentially have prevented this tragedy from happening. But there is no evidence that this happened – and much that demonstrated it did not.
It is therefore ridiculous to suggest that, actively or passively, ‘the US Government’ is complicit in the conspiracy to comit this crime!
* * *
What the government IS guilty of is trying to look smarter than it was – after the fact.
Individual civil servants/bureaucrats were trying to protect their butts – pretending they were more in control than they were, more competent than they were (individually as well as organizationally).
And the government spokespeople were trying to calm panic among us, the little people, by pretending they were more in control than they were.
Some people believed them! Then, the lies caught up with them. That is what made them look guilty…
Let me re-phrase Ockham’s Razor/’the law of parsimony’ as ‘Xanthippa’s second law of human dynamics’:
Never ascribe to ‘conspiracy’ what can better be explained by incompetence!
Conspiracies require secrecy. Being ‘in’ on a conspiracy makes people feel ‘special’ – and it usually makes them want to tell everyone just how ‘special’ they are. Not bragging about one’s ‘specialness’ requires self-discipline – something most people sorely lack.
People are simply not good at conspiracies!
This does not mean that conspiracies do not occur – they do.
However, the conspiracies that actually succeed are ones in which a very limited number people is actively involved. A conspiracy that would encompass even 1% of the people involved in ‘the government’ would be blabbed out long before it could succeed!
Which brings me to the other part of the claim:
Some people in ‘the government’ worked with the attackers
Of course! But…
When Soviet agents infiltrated Western governments during the cold war, it did not mean that those governments were working FOR the Soviet Union. Similarly, the Islamists had some people who had infiltrated the US government and were feeding them information/aiding them.
That stands to reason. It would have been foolish of the terrorists not to cultivate some sources within the US government civil service who, knowingly or not, fed them intelligence.
But it does not mean that the US government itself was directing their actions!
No, they were clueless…or, at best, crippled by political correctness which prevented them from investigating suspect employees from ‘protected’ groups.
And – of course, no government wants to admit that the enemy had penetrated their defences. Again, both as an organization which would lose credibility and as individual civil servants caught napping on the job, the first instinct is to lie to cover one’s behind. Individual behinds and the collective behind.
Of course, these lies get exposed – and the lies uttered in order to hide simple incompetence begin to look like ‘the government’ is complicit!
Yes – there are many other claims, many claiming pseudo-scientific sources… But, upon closer scrutiny, these simply do not stand up.
Between ‘not seeing the big picture’ and ‘lying to cover butts’, the ‘big conspiracy theory’ just doesn’t hold up.
P.S. – It should not even be called ‘theory’ – it is, at best, an unsupported hypothesis. A far cry from ‘theory’. When people twist words and overstate their case – like calling a ‘hypothesis’ a ‘theory’ – a large helping of skepticism is called for. To say the least…