The 9/11 Truth the Truthers Helped to Hide

Must. Read. Kurt Eichenwald, “The Deafness Before the Storm.”

Executive summary: In the spring and summer of 2001, the Bush Administration was given a lot more intelligence about bin Laden’s pending terrorist attack than has been brought to public attention so far. The infamous August 6 “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” brief we do know about was only one of a string of briefs that provided much more intelligence about bin Laden’s intentions. The Bushies ignored this largely because the neocons who had taken over the Pentagon believed that bin Laden was trying to create a diversion from the real evil being concocted by Saddam Hussein. Seriously. Middle East experts who tried to explain that it was absurd to think that fundamentalist bin Laden and secularist Hussein were in cahoots were simply ignored. Although the Bushies did not know the time, place, and specific targets of the pending attack, it’s not unreasonable to think that if they had been on higher alert the 9/11 attacks could have been stopped.

I’m not going to excerpt the article because the whole thing needs to be read and digested. This ought to be bombshell stuff, although it probably won’t be. But I want to talk about the role of the truthers in shutting down inquiry into what the Bushies did, or didn’t do.

I began this blog in July 2002, after a number of news stories came out about how many warnings the Bush Administration had received about a pending terrorist attack. Even then there was much evidence the Bushies had been given a boatload of warnings from the retiring Clinton Administration and from U.S. intelligence that something huge and horrible was about to happen, and the Bushies ignored it.

Time went on, and George W. Bush was mythologized as the Rock of 9/11 who somehow deserved glory and honor for standing up to terrorists, even though he didn’t. I was frantic to have the events of 9/11 thoroughly investigated, and for the Bushies to be forced to answer basic what did they know, and when did they know it questions.

People may have forgotten how hard the Bushies fought to prevent the congressional hearings that eventually did happen, and that happened because some dedicated 9/11 widows didn’t give up. I thought the eventual 9/11 commission report was only a preliminary step, however. Unfortunately, political support for Bush prevented any follow up investigation, and the truthers helped the Bushies get away with this.

By Bush’s second term, the truthers and their ridiculous conspiracy theories had so muddied the waters that questioning how much Bush may have known before 9/11 branded one as an unserious crank. Liberals who told pollsters Bush knew about a pending terrorist attack before it happened were lumped into the same boat as people who still believe President Obama was born in Kenya. Van Jones was forced out of the Obama Administration because it came to light that in 2002 he had agitated for a congressional inquiry into 9/11 — you know, like the one that finally happened — and the Right rose up and called him a truther. Even to ask questions about how much the Bushies knew before 9/11 marked one as a lunatic.

Thus it was that truther craziness has stifled serious inquiry into what really happened on 9/11. This was something the late ALexander Cockburn, at least, saw clearly. I thought Cockburn was a crank himself, on many issues, but he’d been around the block enough times to have seen other wild-ass conspiracy theories create cover for the establishment and allow significant events to go uninvestigated.

I ran into a truther recently, on Facebook, who was still promoting the idea that one must either believe 9/11 was an “inside job,” the planes millions of people saw were really missiles, and that the World Trade Center towers fell because of a stealth controlled demolition job, or one must be a dupe accepting the “government version” of events. I really cannot abide truthers. I just hope I live long enough to see the whole story laid bare, in spite of the truthers.

49 thoughts on “The 9/11 Truth the Truthers Helped to Hide

  1. maha,
    You and your site helped me get off the “Truther” train. I was starting to believe some of that nonsense, until you pointed out that it was beyond nutty, and closer to bordering on the insane. Works of fiction, suitable for printing as thrillers, but completely void of reality.

    And as time goes by, it becomes clearer how many people who were NOT part of the Bush team, knew about the imminent danger – but then, we’ve known that since Richard Clarke opened up our eyes, and that the “truth” was even stranger than Truther fiction.
    Though the CIA and other agencies were trying to get W and his neocons focused on the here and now, they were too busy planning out how to topple Saddam Hussein, and get at that Iraqi oil.
    The CIA could pretty much tell them with accuracy the why, what, and who were behind the coming event(s), but not the when, where, and how. Hell, the outgoing administration specifically warned him about bin Laden and As Qaeda. But instead of paying attention, and giving the CIA and other agencies greater resources, the President chose to stay on vacation, his adminstration followed its ABC, Anything But Clinton, policy, and the nation slept through a summer only hearing about shark attacks and missing DC interns.

    And the Truthers helped to muddy the water enough, so that even talking about investigations into the lead-up to 9/11 now, will seem like a witch-hunt.

    Evetually, the truth, or most of it, will come out.

    But, regardless of what else we find out, George W. Bush’s legacy is set:
    The fallen towers, the burning Pentagon, the downed plane in PA, the consequent wars and occupations, the tortures and renditions, are his legacy – and sadly America’s, too. The near complete implosion of the countries and the whole world’s economies as he was headed out the door, were the rancid cherry on his sh*t sundae. What’s another scoop of sh*t after all of that?

  2. You agree with the complicity theory; that the Bushites knew and did nothing other than prepare ways to exploit the event. You ‘credit’ Bush’s imperialists with more incompetence that most truthers do, but the effect is the same.

    If there is such a thing as criminal incompetence, then is there such a thing as treasonous incompetence?

    By the way… I notice that this year’s 9/11 defeat celebration is more subdued than last year’s. Perhaps this is because of bin Laden’s death.

    • You agree with the complicity theory; that the Bushites knew and did nothing other than prepare ways to exploit the event.

      Back up a couple of steps. I don’t think they were prepared to exploit the event before it happened. Bush and Cheney’s behavior in the several hours after the attacks tells me they were caught completely off guard. I say the actual attacks were not anything either one expected, and it took them about three days before they got their bearings and began exploiting.

      IMO there are two possible explanations — one, they honestly didn’t believe bin Laden was planning an attack within our borders, intelligence agencies be damned; or two, they believed he possibly was planning something within our borders, and decided to not act on it, but didn’t imagine it would be as big an event as it was. I can think of evidence supporting either scenario.

  3. The Truthers’ claims never made any sense to me — too many people involved, too easy for someone to spill the beans, too much risk for an iffy gain. And there was no need for it, not if sitting back and ignoring dire warnings of an impending terrorist attack could accomplish the same objective.

    I do not agree that the neocons believed that Bin Laden was trying to create a diversion to cover some nefarious scheme cooked up between himself and Saddam Hussein. This would have required some concrete supporting evidence, and there was none. So, no, I just don’t buy that.

    Iraq is a little oil-rich country the size of the State of Idaho. From the get-go, Rumsfeld said, “It’ll be over in two weeks, a month at the most.” I’m confident that he (and all the rest of that cabal) believed that the invasion of Iraq would be a cake walk. And then there would be all that lovely oil for the taking.

    Anyway, that’s the only sense I’ve ever been able to make of the whole mess that left many of us feeling like we’d just dropped down a rabbit hole into an alternate universe where nothing added up to what we were told it did.

    • I do not agree that the neocons believed that Bin Laden was trying to create a diversion to cover some nefarious scheme cooked up between himself and Saddam Hussein. This would have required some concrete supporting evidence, and there was none. So, no, I just don’t buy that.

      You think Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, not to mention Dick Cheney, et al., needed concrete supporting evidence to believe what they wanted to believe? I don’t think they needed it at all; they were able to create all the evidence they needed in their own imaginations. I well believe that’s what they thought all along.

  4. And I can think of evidence supporting the full-complicity theory; the PNAC plan, published years earlier, and followed to the letter.

    This is just the old crook-or-fool dilemma, so utterly characteristic of the Bush regime. Either they didn’t believe the warnings, and were fools; or believed but did nothing but prepare exploitation, and were crooks.

    Or… they believed a little, and prepared a lot, and were surprised by the consequences of their negligence; and so were both crooks and fools.

    • And I can think of evidence supporting the full-complicity theory; the PNAC plan, published years earlier, and followed to the letter.

      I’m pretty obsessive about this issue and am fairly soaked in whatever information has been made public. I do not believe there is any evidence to suggest the Bushies knew exactly what bin Laden was going to do. There is only some evidence they were looking out for airplane hijackings, as earlier in the summer Bush Administration officials were warned to not take commercial flights anywhere. However, the preponderance of evidence tells me clearly and plainly that the scope of what bin Laden actually did was way beyond anything they may have been expecting. Even the plans they used to attack Afghanistan (often held up as proof of full complicity) were actually drawn up by the Clinton Administration after the USS Cole bombing and handed off to the Bushies. The plans had been sitting on various desks until after 9/11, when it was fished out of the in-box, tweaked a bit, and put into effect.

      The PNAC plan just tells us the neocons were obsessed with Saddam Hussein and with exploiting unrest in the Middle East to spread American hegemony. What we know about the neocons tells me very, very plainly that they honestly believed Saddam Hussein was the instigator of everything and bin Laden just his tool. If after all that happened you still think that crew was bright enough to know any better you weren’t paying attention.

  5. I remember being in a night class that evening, Sept. 11, 2001, and hearing some much younger folks say they hoped Bush would invade Iraq because of the attacks. As patiently as I could, I explained the differences between jihadist al Qaeda and Saddam’s secularist regime, and why the two were in fact enemies, not co-conspirators. I explained how toppling Saddam just then would allow al Qaeda operatives to pour over the borders and establish a base in Iraq. I explained that we needed to go after the perpetrators, not some straw men, even if beating up the straw men could finally make Dubya feel as important as his daddy, or give Cheney and his oil-industry cronies free reign over Iraq’s oilfields.

    It all fell on deaf ears, because you can’t tell young people anything. (I know, I used to be young myself.) But I understood it all correctly at the time, even if the young people didn’t. Did President Bush, or at least V.P. Cheney, also understand the situation correctly? I doubt it. They’ve often appeared to convince themselves of bizarre, untrue things, or live in denial of obviously true things, as long as it enhanced their power and self-esteem. A couple of nefarious Shakespearean clown/villains, if ever I saw any.

  6. Maha – thank you for covering this. This is not new information. Phillip Shenon’s excellent book, “The Commission”, went into great detail about the numerous warnings that Bush and Condi Rice received, some specifically warning of hijackings! And these arrogant fools did nothing. NOTHING! They could have warned airlines to lock and secure cockpit doors or put more air marshals on long flights. But they did absolutely nothing! Bush and Rice should have been hit with 3,000 civil lawsuits, as this was a preventable tragedy!

    • This is not new information.

      Well, some of what Eichenwald discusses in his article is new evidence, but yes, there was copious evidence in public view as early as the spring of 2002 that the Bushies had been ignoring intelligence predicting a terrorist attack.

  7. …the truthers and their ridiculous conspiracy theories…

    It’s my belief that the official story is the most ridiculous theory of all. It (as well as some of the more popular theories) defies physics. Even John Farmer, senior counsel to the 9/11 commission said that the commission’s report is false in not so many words.

    The phrase “truther” has never really been clear to me. If it means that Bush/Cheney were behind 9/11 – it’s much too soon to jump to that conclusion. If it means more generally that 9/11 was an inside job – perhaps, but it’s also too soon to conclude that. If it means that there was a cover-up – there’s a lot of evidence for that, including: Bush’s reluctance to investigate, debris hauled away immediately from the site, and the government report, discounted by Farmer, itself.

    On the one hand, your complaint about truthers providing cover for the establishment is true, but given the evidence for a cover-up, it’s natural and to be expected. The truthers are not going to go away. It’s just part of the noise.

    Given your emotional stake in this event and often-stated policy about allowing truther related postings, I’m a bit reluctant to bring this up, but if you’ll bear with me there are one or two points you might agree with.

    Some months ago, a neighbor put me on to a book and a website by a woman who has done years of research on the World Trade Center collapse. Dr Wood has advanced degrees in engineering, physics, and is especially skilled in forensics – the study of how mechanical systems fail. She taught mechanical engineering at Clemson University.

    Because of her training in forensics, she’s foremost interested in determining What Happened, first, before even attempting to address the How, Who, or the Why – which she doesn’t really discuss. This systematic, methodical approach separates her from the overwhelming majority of truthers who quickly rush to blame.

    If the government isn’t going to help us get at the truth of 9/11, then we’re dependent on scientists and engineers like Dr Wood to sort it out.

    And BTW, her conclusion about what happened is dramatically different from any theory you’ve heard before. She believes the towers were literally turned to dust via weaponry that is largely unknown to the public – energy weapons – of the kind that were developed during Reagan’s Star Wars program. She’s not ready to blame Reagan’s program or our military for 9/11, but the evidence points in the direction of these kinds of weapons. Her book and website – which you can spend days at – is loaded with photos and evidence for her argument. The anomalies she’s uncovered will blow your mind.

    Over and over, she states that it is really important to nail down the What Happened, before you even begin to think about the How, the Who, or the Why. She is completely evidence-directed. If the evidence doesn’t support popular theories like demolitions, or the official theory of airplane crashes, then these must be discarded, and what remains – no matter how outlandish – is more likely to be the truth.

    • And BTW, her conclusion about what happened is dramatically different from any theory you’ve heard before. She believes the towers were literally turned to dust via weaponry that is largely unknown to the public – energy weapons – of the kind that were developed during Reagan’s Star Wars program.

      I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. The collapse of the towers have been well and thoroughly explained by physicists and engineers to have been caused by decaying structural integrity caused by being hit by commercial airplanes. The much-maligned (by truthers) Popular Mechanics analysis has the advantage of actually squaring with what I saw and what I know of the damage done to lower Manhattan, which again, I saw for myself.

      I did take a look at Dr. Wood’s page, and she’s making the same fundamental mistake most truthers make — she doesn’t grasp the scale of what happened and she underestimates the energy and force generated by the collapse of the towers. For example, it is not mysterious at all that much of the building materials were ground into fine dust to a degree one normally doesn’t see in a building collapse. This was no ordinary building collapse. I don’t care how many degrees she has; she’s a crank.

      I also think the idea that the Bushies planned the whole thing to be absurd multiplied by ten. That crew couldn’t plan a picnic, and it was too obvious that what happened was not something they expected. The only thing that might cause me to think otherwise is if someday we dig up a mass grave of all the conspirators who had to be killed after to keep them from talking. Although maybe the bodies were vaporized by Dr. Wood’s star wars weapons.

  8. I gave the truthers a fair shot to explain their theories and quickly saw the huge holes in their logic. But, like the birthers of today, they were so wedded to their theory that they weren’t interested in hearing refutations. That’s when I began dismissing them. But it is when the truthers provided cover for those who really did fuck up (by blaming malicious intent instead of colossal incompetence) that I really got pissed off. I once almost got into a shouting match with a truther about this. They honestly thought I was a dupe for the Bushies when it was them that was giving the Bushies the greatest cover they could have hoped for.

    Thanks a lot dickheads.

  9. Somewhere, buried within the insanely intricate theories, lies the implication that the Clinton Administration had to be part of the conspiracy; simply put, chronology and competence demand it. The “truthers” (more like “science-fictioners,” to be accurate) lose me way, way before that, but the implication must be acknowledged.

    And then it all circles back to the VRWC. Do we really want to be holding up and waving even one small tentacle of that monster? Seriously?

  10. If 9/11 really was some conspiracy, and not a combination if idiocy, incompetence, and evil, it was the 2nd greatest one in American history.

    Getting some half-black, foreign-born, raised in Hawaii guy named Barack Hussein Obama elected President in the middle of two occupations in the Middle East after the greatest surprise attack by a handful of crazed theocratic Muslims, was the greatest one in the history of conspiracy theories – and I’m NOT just talking about in America, but the whole world!!!

    The only greater one, would be if we find out that ‘Pope Ratzi the Nazi’ was born Simon Wiesenthal Goldberg, and is an observant Jew.

  11. ..she’s making the same fundamental mistake most truthers make — she doesn’t grasp the scale of what happened and she underestimates the energy and force generated by the collapse of the towers. For example, it is not mysterious at all that much of the building materials were ground into fine dust to a degree one normally doesn’t see in a building collapse. This was no ordinary building collapse.

    OK, if you accept that the buildings were somehow ground into dust by the magnitude of the energy involved – which is a mightily mysterious process to me – I’ve never heard of all of a building’s steel ground up into dust – then how come the cement bathtub in which the buildings were erected, and which was intended to keep out the Hudson River, survived intact? It was damaged more by the cleanup that followed. Or that the PATH tubes also survived. Or that the underground mall beneath one of the buildings survived and even had electricity (lighting) after the collapse (there are photos of firemen walking through this area). Or that the seismic signature of the collapse was far less than expected, and in the case of WTC-7, was indistinguishable from background noise?

    If you postulate some incredibly large, mysterious force that can grind massive amounts of steel and concrete into fine dust, then you’d expect a lot more effects on the surroundings. The neighboring buildings were only slightly damaged. If this grinding into dust happened in mid-air, before the bulk of the material (and energy) reached the ground, then your understanding is starting to align with what Dr Wood discusses.

    My purpose is not to get into an argument about this – which is counterproductive and I even thought two or three times about replying. It’s a tangent/distraction from the theme of your posting (I apologize for that), and I simply don’t have the time – I’ve written too much already. You’ve made up your mind about what happened, but just I just find the conventional explanation too facile and too far fetched. Wood’s particular explanation is definitely out-there, but there are a lot of engineers and architects who differ with the conventional explanation.

    • I think all the questions about how the towers were destroyed were answered nicely in the Popular Mechanics article, but whatever. The WTC towers were not all steel, but were built on a relatively light steel skeleton. The towers couldn’t be built the way skyscrapers usually are built because they’d have been too heavy to stand. So, again, I don’t understand why the dust is such a big mystery. There were many tons of not-steel building materials in those towers, not to mention furniture and many other soft things.

      A great many things about the collapse was unlike other skyscraper collapses, but nothing like the collapse of the WTC towers has ever happened in human history. It can’t be compared to other building collapses.

      It was obvious, watching with the naked eye, that the collapse began when the floors at the point of impact could no longer support the floors above, and then when the top floors came down the rest of the floors collapsed from the weight. I understand there was some question about how they could have fallen as fast as they did, but again, that was addressed in the Popular Mechanics article. No other explanation I have ever heard makes any sense in light of what I observed.

      The neighboring buildings were only slightly damaged.

      No! Absolutely wrong! And again, I saw this myself. I was down there about a month after 9/11, and all of lower Manhattan was beat up. I saw chunks gouged out of buildings several blocks away. A lot of buildings on the periphery of the World Trade Center had to be condemned.

  12. But…They hate us for our freedoms!

    That is tragedy far more grievious than the horror of 9/11. We’re still bleeding from that wound. Unless Americans open their eyes to see beyond themselves to that proverbial city on a hill called America, we’ll be headed for more of the same.

    Bible says…Putting your hands to the plow,don’t look back.

    Oh, and, thank you, President Obama for your “apology tour”.. It’s just what we needed!

  13. You think Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, not to mention Dick Cheney, et al., needed concrete supporting evidence to believe what they wanted to believe?.

    “Hear, hear!..Fetch a round of Freedom Medals for the house, my friend, and raise our glasses high to our most honorable commander”

  14. The WTC was designed to withstand the impact of the jet planes that were predominantly used when it was being designed.

    The builidings were NOT designed to handle the full impact of a fully loaded with fuel 747, EACH, when they hit at a speed that was not at a rate that would be that of a gjet with a pilot who realized that he/she was about to smack into the side of a buildin, and slowing down – and instead hit each building at near full speed!

    What happened on 9/11, was the ‘perfect storm’ of incompetence, hubris, idiocy, folly, and evil.

    • Well, strictly speaking, the towers did withstand the impact of the planes. Neither tower fell right away. It was the fires on the floors at the points of impact that eroded structural integrity and eventually caused the upper floors to collapse down on the floors below.

  15. I am in your corner, Maha. Bush, Cheney and their crew ignored the signals something was up, and their hubris and ineptitude did the rest. It certainly didn’t help their credibility that Bush and Cheney did not think the public had a right to know that their government officials (with the exception of Richard Clarke) had ignored the warnings of an al Qaida strike and that they were determined to and did go to war with Iraq, who had nothing to do with 9-11. One of the many reasons I don’t like Mitt is that I think he will bring back the same idiots who got us into war with Iraq, and that they will want to go to war with Iran.

  16. I have had a pretty intense life. I have seen some things a person should never have to see. Things I will never be able to erase from my minds eye. But what I saw on 9/11 was a whole other kind of horror. What sticks with me the hardest is the people I saw jumping out of windows to their deaths. Imagine what that must have taken. Imagine the moment you realize the building your in is burning and there is no way out. No one is coming to save you, despite your screams. You are faced with a choice. Stay and die here or jump to your death. I searched inside my self a million times trying to imagine how those who jumped decided to do so,,and I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. As an adult I knew very much what was happening to those innocent people as they dropped out of camera range with tears I couldnt control streaming down my face but my mind was reduced to this child like state that just couldnt grasp what I was seeing.Watching the events unfold that day changed how I felt about everything.
    I understand how people can be “truthers” because everything we thought we knew before that day turned up side down and after that how can you “know” anything any more? It can all change again in a moment. Since we really don’t know the whole truth(and may never) people have no choice but to decide the reality for themselves.
    You will never catch me saying that the truthers are nuts( although they well could be, and if those were some kind of weapon instead of planes then where the hell did all the people who boarded those planes go? Someone needs to do the math on that idea) but what we knew as truth before- well thats gone forever.
    Since that day NOTHING could shock me. I could later find out that dick cheneys more evil brother was flying one of the planes thats how planned it was and not be one tiny bit shocked. If I learned tomorrow bush( who I personally dont think could wipe his own ass) was flying the plane with remote control foot petals while reading a upside down book I wouldnt be shocked. Whatever we learn tomorrow or the next day or even 11 more years from now wont ever change that day. All it can do now is help our future( if we are not to closed minded to let it). I refuse to take any possibility off the table until all the facts are in(which may never happen)
    about what happened that day. bin laden was not the only evil force on the job that day and I put nothing past evil EVER. I do believe in my heart that bush is the kind of person who WOULD have let 911 happen to further his own interests if he were to have knowledge of it before that day. I don’t care what party bush and friends belong to , it aint about that. They are evil human beings. The people who would suspect them are not nuts. It is not their fault bush and cheney are so evil nothing could be put past them.
    What we have today is nothing more than clues. The steel may be or may not be a piece( personally I dont think it is but without all the bigger facts it is note worthy to know some experts disagree and keep it in the back of our minds in case other facts present themselves later). I am not closing my mind. All I know for sure about that day is we lost so many innocent Americans and it still breaks my heart.

  17. If the government had an energy weapon that could take down the WTC, why did we waste all that time on bunker-buster smart bombs in Iraq? Did they burn out its vital mumbleonium energy core that day so it could never be used again, at least until we can take another from a Grey alien crash site like Roswell? If humans had the technology to generate, harness and direct energies of that magnitude, it couldn’t and wouldn’t be a secret.

  18. @biggerbox – there is evidence that energy weapons were used in Iraq, but nothing on a huge, skyscraper type of scale, nor in quantity – for example, one such weapon allocated to every fighting unit. I believe Rumsfeld was confronted about it, and was caught admitting to it. And I’m not so sure I agree about the secrecy part of your comment. I think our government has a lot of secrets, particularly of the military variety.

    @maha – It’s interesting to me that you basically agree with Dr Wood’s assertion that the buildings were turned to dust, but you differ on how that came about. I’ll have to read the Popular Mechanics article you mention.

    I think that WTC-7, the 47 story tower that came down – mysteriously, since it wasn’t hit by any planes – might call to question your assertion that because WTC 1 and 2 were so large, this makes their collapse unique. Once you start talking about 50 story buildings, you start to get into the realm of familiar structures, where we do have more experience in how they fall. It’s just really hard for me to believe that these things turned to dust by conventional processes – not even talking about how the unstricken WTC-7 could’ve fallen in the first place.

    • moonbat — See my response to Paradoctor on building 7. It continues to astonish me that people think there is something mysterious about what happened to WTC 7, but again, it comes down to not grasping the scope of what happened.

      Please, people, get it out of your heads that other buildings in lower Manhattan were “unstricken.” That is absolutely wrong. There was damage to structures all over the financial district, and there were buildings not part of the WTC complex that had to be condemned afterward. Flames, building parts, airplane parts, and bodies were falling like rain all over the place down there, and the debris was scattered for several blocks away from the WTC complex. As recently as a couple of years ago they were still finding human bone fragments on rooftops all over lower Manhattan.

      No, 50 story buildings are not comparable. Again, the WTC towers were not built the same way other skyscrapers had ever been built before. Look it up. Also, there was tens of thousands of tons of concrete in those buildings, and considering the force generated by the collapse it doesn’t seem at all surprising to me that most of that concrete was pulverized. And there is nothing that has happened before or since that matches the scale of the collapse of the towers. Don’t try to compare it to anything else.

  19. At least the WTC towers have some sort of an explanation, either the one by Popular Mechanics or the one by the truthers. But the Pentagon hit was a head-scratcher. That immaculate Pentagon lawn! The missing wings and engines! The tiny entry hole! Inconsistent with a jet plane; so what the hey? I’d love to see the security-cam footage of that hit, but I’m not allowed; yet more cover-up.

    And the Penn. crash was also puzzling. The debris field was small and lacked dead bodies. The logical explanation is that they blew up the jet in mid-air. I grant the grim military logic of such a move; but I deplore the corrupt political logic of lying about it to us afterwards.

    • Paradoctor — As far as I know, no steel-framed building was ever allowed to burn for several hours with no attempt made to stop the fire. Sometime in the past I dug up an interview with the architects of WTC 7 who said the building was designed to withstand about four hours of fire, and the thing burned for several more hours before it collapsed. And that was because the NYFD pulled resources from the building once it was determined it had been evacuated, so that they could concentrate on finding firefighters lost in Towers 1 and 2. I was listening to a car radio all afternoon, trying to get out of Manhattan, and local news announcers mentioned WTC 7 several times and said it was on fire and expected to collapse, and this would have been a few hours before it actually did collapse. There is simply no mystery about WTC 7, try as you might to fabricate one. It fell because it lost structural integrity because of fire. Period, end of story. I will tolerate no further nonsense on this point.

      I can’t speak to what happened at the Pentagon or in Pennsylvania, but if peoples’ impressions of what happened are as inaccurate as their impressions of what happened to the World Trade Center, I would not be surprised.

      In other words, get a grip and stop getting misinformation from truthers.

  20. And as for WTC 7; no steel-framed building had ever, before 9/11, collapsed into its footprint from fire alone; nor have any done so since; nor, I submit, on 9/11 itself.

  21. I am just back from a restful trip to the Pacific Northwest, so the only immediate stress I am having now results from readjusting to the culture of the rural South. I’ve read the comments and found the diversity of opinions and reactions interesting.

    I am glad that justme27’s comment came back from the moderation zone, because she expressed the impact of 911 well. It was an event that “stopped the world” as Carlos Casteneda’s Don Juan described. (I know, they were hippie dippie books in some ways. I read them when I was hippie dippie myself, and “stopping the world” has stayed with me.) The physical and symbolic scale of the event was overwhelming and it forced us to question some basic assumptions about the world. Those assumptions were replaced by various narratives and we are still sorting them out.

    I am a pretty simple soul. I like to think of myself as capable of reason, quite rational on occasion. I am not an engineer and I know that I am not an engineer. The “Popular Mechanics” explanation makes the most sense to me. For the more visual, BBC/Nova did a documentary that presents the physics involved, etc.

  22. Hmm… if the WTC towers catastrophically failed, in a way unlike any other skyscrapers before or since, because their design was unusual, then that means their design was unusually incompetent. That would open the door to thousands of lawsuits, were we allowed to know.

    So is that the reason for the cover-up? The evidence sold for scrap to the Chinese? The botched investigations? The official weird science? All to hide, not treason but malfeasance? If so then how petty! Treason has a kind of evil majesty; but subverting investigation into a terrorist attack, in order to prevent lawsuits… that’s _low_!

    And the worst part is, that’s entirely consistent with the moral character of America’s ruling class! I offer this theory to you, maha, as a way to out-cynic the truthers.

    • then that means their design was unusually incompetent.

      No, it doesn’t. It means that the standard way of building skyscrapers couldn’t be used in the World Trade Center, because the buildings would have been too heavy to stand. The architect noted later that the towers absorbed and withstood the impact of the airliners. What they couldn’t withstand was the loss of structural integrity caused by the fires that kept burning after.

      And how can you possibly pretend to know anything about what happened on 9/11 if you don’t even know the basic facts of how the World Trade center was built?

      I can see you have bought a lot of truther myths about the towers (plenty of “evidence” was saved for forensic study, for example). I have been trying to be patient and indulgent with you because you are a regular. But talking to you about this is as exhausting and futile as explaining to a fundamentalist why evolution is not “just a theory.” Ignorance is an impenetrable defense sometimes. Please take the time to educate yourself, and be warned that further comments along these lines will get you permanently banned.

      Update: I don’t know why I am bothering, but here is a bit more information on the construction of the towers —

      Yamasaki and engineers John Skilling and Les Robertson worked closely, and the relationship between the towers’ design and structure was clear. Faced with the difficulties of building to unprecedented heights, the engineers employed an innovative structural model: a rigid “hollow tube” of closely spaced steel columns with floor trusses extended across to a central core. The columns, finished with a silver-colored aluminum alloy, were 18 3/4″ wide and set only 22″ apart, making the towers appear from afar to have no windows at all.

      Also unique to the engineering design were its core and elevator system. The twin towers were the first supertall buildings designed without any masonry. Worried that the intense air pressure created by the buildingsâ high speed elevators might buckle conventional shafts, engineers designed a solution using a drywall system fixed to the reinforced steel core. For the elevators, to serve 110 stories with a traditional configuration would have required half the area of the lower stories be used for shaftways. Otis Elevators developed an express and local system, whereby passengers would change at “sky lobbies” on the 44th and 78th floors, halving the number of shaftways.

      The towers were designed and built in the mid-1960s through the early 1970s. They represented a new approach to skyscrapers in that they were to be very lightweight and involved modular construction methods in order to accelerate the schedule and to reduce the costs.

      To a structural engineer, a skyscraper is modeled as a large cantilever vertical column. Each tower was 64 m square, standing 411 m above street level and 21 m below grade. This produces a height-to-width ratio of 6.8. The total weight of the structure was roughly 500,000 t, but wind load, rather than the gravity load, dominated the design. The building is a huge sail that must resist a 225 km/h hurricane. It was designed to resist a wind load of 2 kPa—a total of lateral load of 5,000 t.

      In order to make each tower capable of withstanding this wind load, the architects selected a lightweight “perimeter tube” design consisting of 244 exterior columns of 36 cm square steel box section on 100 cm centers (see Figure 3). This permitted windows more than one-half meter wide. Inside this outer tube there was a 27 m × 40 m core, which was designed to support the weight of the tower. It also housed the elevators, the stairwells, and the mechanical risers and utilities. Web joists 80 cm tall connected the core to the perimeter at each story. Concrete slabs were poured over these joists to form the floors. In essence, the building is an egg-crate construction that is about 95 percent air, explaining why the rubble after the collapse was only a few stories high.

      The egg-crate construction made a redundant structure (i.e., if one or two columns were lost, the loads would shift into adjacent columns and the building would remain standing). Prior to the World Trade Center with its lightweight perimeter tube design, most tall buildings contained huge columns on 5 m centers and contained massive amounts of masonry carrying some of the structural load. The WTC was primarily a lightweight steel structure; however, its 244 perimeter columns made it “one of the most redundant and one of the most resilient” skyscrapers.

  23. Just as a followup – I saw one person who I trusted relating an opinion that because of the structure of the towers, there was a danger that, if enough girder-length was heated to 300 degrees higher than the others (i.e., the corresponding girders in the appropriate places), then the expansion from heat would warp the structure, and cause a collapse.

    Now, I don’t know if that’s true – I don’t have the specialized knowledge to judge it. But that was when I stopped listening to conspiracy theorists. Because none of them knew, either. They were just relating statements that seemed sensible to them, and I already knew that some were bullshit.

    For example: “Why did the towers fall straight down?” Because – *DUH* – that’s where all the *force* is – all that weight is pushing straight down. It’s not a frickin’ *tree* composed entirely of material sufficient to support its own weight, where you’ve chopped away some of its support structure. If trees were mostly-hollow, they’d collapse straight down like a set of toothpicks once you ruined the structure – but they aren’t, they’re solid wood.

    “Why did they fall nearly as quickly as free fall?” Because – *DUH* – each floor has just been exposed to a massive shockwave, greatly overstressing the structure, to the point that the entire structure is probably destroyed in a split second once the first part of the collapse begins.

    It’s like the old joke about the “chicken gun” that comes with the punchline “don’t use a frozen chicken”. At the speeds that chicken is fired, frozen and thawed don’t matter, the energy is massively more important than the rigidity.

    Those parts aren’t hard questions. But much was made of them by the truthers.

    But I knew that there were people who knew, and could perfectly model, statements like “if this set of girders was heated 300 degrees hotter than on the other side, we’d see complete loss of structural integrity.” And those people would check those models, and the assumptions, and run though them and say “yep” or “nope” while other engineers and scientists would run slightly different models, both to check the assumptions, and maybe learn something new from a different model. There might be some mild disagreements – we never know *everything* – but the consensus of science and engineering just can’t be hushed up.

    • LWH — right about the temperatures, I believe. See this analysis

      The temperature of the fire was not uniform everywhere, and the temperature on the outside of the box columns was clearly lower than on the side facing the fire. The temperature along the 18 m long joists was certainly not uniform. Given the thermal expansion of steel, a 150°C temperature difference from one location to another will produce yield-level residual stresses. This produced distortions in the slender structural steel, which resulted in buckling failures. Thus, the failure of the steel was due to two factors: loss of strength due to the temperature of the fire, and loss of structural integrity due to distortion of the steel from the non-uniform temperatures in the fire.

      And the buildings fell straight down —

      Nearly every large building has a redundant design that allows for loss of one primary structural member, such as a column. However, when multiple members fail, the shifting loads eventually overstress the adjacent members and the collapse occurs like a row of dominoes falling down.

      The perimeter tube design of the WTC was highly redundant. It survived the loss of several exterior columns due to aircraft impact, but the ensuing fire led to other steel failures. Many structural engineers believe that the weak points—the limiting factors on design allowables—were the angle clips that held the floor joists between the columns on the perimeter wall and the core structure (see Figure 5). With a 700 Pa floor design allowable, each floor should have been able to support approximately 1,300 t beyond its own weight. The total weight of each tower was about 500,000 t.

      As the joists on one or two of the most heavily burned floors gave way and the outer box columns began to bow outward, the floors above them also fell. The floor below (with its 1,300 t design capacity) could not support the roughly 45,000 t of ten floors (or more) above crashing down on these angle clips. This started the domino effect that caused the buildings to collapse within ten seconds, hitting bottom with an estimated speed of 200 km per hour. If it had been free fall, with no restraint, the collapse would have only taken eight seconds and would have impacted at 300 km/h.1 It has been suggested that it was fortunate that the WTC did not tip over onto other buildings surrounding the area. There are several points that should be made. First, the building is not solid; it is 95 percent air and, hence, can implode onto itself. Second, there is no lateral load, even the impact of a speeding aircraft, which is sufficient to move the center of gravity one hundred feet to the side such that it is not within the base footprint of the structure. Third, given the near free-fall collapse, there was insufficient time for portions to attain significant lateral velocity. To summarize all of these points, a 500,000 t structure has too much inertia to fall in any direction other than nearly straight down.

      And that’s exactly what it looked like, viewed with the naked eye. It was very quick, but I could see one floor slamming into the next floor. For some reason it’s not as obvious in videos as it was in person. I’ve heard people who were very close say they could hear the impact on each floor as each tower went down.

  24. My guess is the Saudi princes had Bush by the balls and told him exactly what the US could or could not say or do about Islam and 9/11 if he expected America to keep burning Saudi oil.

    That’s the answer to Michael Moore’s questions about the quick getaway of the bin Laden relatives on 9/11.

    That’s why the US has done nothing to punish or take down the world’s biggest patron of Islamism and Muslim terrorism, the Saudi Kingdom.

    We make so much as a move and OPEC uses the oil weapon.

    • That’s the answer to Michael Moore’s questions about the quick getaway of the bin Laden relatives on 9/11.

      Also the Bush family had a long history of business dealings with the bin Laden family. Bush may have had personal/political reasons for wanting the bin Laden clan far away from the U.S. press.

  25. Maha; thanks for the information; but I need a bit more. The WTC towers were tall for their time; but now there are even taller structures. Do they use the same construction techniques? Are they therefore also vulnerable to implosion? If so, then are engineers all over the world worried? What changes have they proposed?

    Whereas, if the WTC’s design is, let’s say, superceded, then doesn’t that open up the lawsuit scenario?

    Please clarify.

    • Maha; thanks for the information; but I need a bit more. The WTC towers were tall for their time; but now there are even taller structures. Do they use the same construction techniques? Are they therefore also vulnerable to implosion? If so, then are engineers all over the world worried? What changes have they proposed?

      Do I look like an architectural textbook? I’m sure that information is on the web somewhere. Look it up. I am only explaining how the construction of the WTC towers caused them to collapse as they did, and why most of your comments and questions are irrelevant.

      Whereas, if the WTC’s design is, let’s say, superceded, then doesn’t that open up the lawsuit scenario?

      This will be the third time I posted this link. Please read the stuff I link to; it’s irritating to me to have to continue to rub your nose in the pertinent passages.


      The World Trade Center was not defectively designed. No designer of the WTC anticipated, nor should have anticipated, a 90,000 L Molotov cocktail on one of the building floors. Skyscrapers are designed to support themselves for three hours in a fire even if the sprinkler system fails to operate. This time should be long enough to evacuate the occupants. The WTC towers lasted for one to two hours—less than the design life, but only because the fire fuel load was so large. No normal office fires would fill 4,000 square meters of floor space in the seconds in which the WTC fire developed. Usually, the fire would take up to an hour to spread so uniformly across the width and breadth of the building. This was a very large and rapidly progressing fire (very high heat but not unusually high temperature). Further information about the design of the WTC can be found on the World Wide Web.

      Put another way, it’s possible nothing built by ordinary human beings could have handled the attacks any better than the WTC towers did. I think any attempt to sue the architects or builders would have been laughed out of court. And none of this information is secret or covered up.

  26. I could not comment on this issue until now because I was out of town with my employer supplied computer, and we have rules about the use of company property.
    I am a certified structural inspector. I inspect structures throughout the state, and prepare detailed inspection reports ( thank goodness for spell check!).
    Prior to becoming an inspector, I was an iron worker / welder/ pile driver/ commercial diver. I have experience with explosives, thermite welding, and underwater flame cutting with ultra thermic rods.I have worked on construction AND demolition projects.

    I have inspected structures which have been compromised due to fire, vehicle strikes, and even airplane strikes. NONE of those had such a catastrophic failure, several had compromised strength requiring retrofits or repairs.
    MOST structures are designed with redundancy, which means there are multiple load paths.Multiple load paths would prevent a total / free-fall failues seen in the WTC disaster. I have NEVER seen a building designed WITHOUT multiple load paths.
    Support columns are COMPRESSION members. Compression members are typically very strong; think pilings on a bridge or a building’s foundation. Compression members can take a lot of abuse before they fail, and again, there are usually many that share the load .
    The further down the road we get from 9/11/01, the greater the possibility the truth will come out. Someone will squeal, the “Patriotism” element will erode, and science and logic will prevail.

    All that said, I DO think there should be an in-depth investigation of the events of 9/11.
    The official investigation is tainted by political predujice.
    I DO NOT think Bush or Cheney , the CIA, or any other branch of our government had any role in the attacks, but they MAY have had a role in keeping the whole truth covered up (for obvious reasons).I’m also convinced that they used the terror and fear generated on 9/11 to further their political and business goals;they should be in Leavenworth breaking rocks.
    I DO NOT think the attacks were directed from a cave in Afghanistan by OBL, INDEED, I’m more inclined to believe OBL did little more than bless the event after the fact.

    I find it VERY strange that both of the twin towers fell in such a similar way, even though they were struck on different floors. It seems to me that there would be some asymetry in the collapse, yet there was not.

    As far as WTC 7 goes, this is really strange. True, the fire burned for much longer than “usual”, but building 7 made history because it collapsed vertically at free-fall speed.
    With Bldg 7 falling down so fast and perfectly, demolition firms are wasting time and money wiring buildings with explosives; they could just set them on fire and stoke the flames. O.K., that was a bit snarky, but please consider that point.

    I don’t think there was any doomsday weapon involved as moonbat suggested, but I think the POSSIBILITY of sabotage buy a foreign state sponsored group exists, and needs to be investigated thoroughly.

    The PNAC stated that a PEARL HARBOR like event was necessary to obtain their objectives; they got what they wanted.

    • erinyes — All of your concerns are addressed and answered in the various articles I have already linked to in this comment thread. The collapse of the towers is well and thoroughly explained, as far as I’m concerned. And, again, the fall of these buildings was not as “perfect” as they looked on the videos, nor quite as fast. I’ve checked that out, too. Again, you simply cannot get close to grasping the mess that was made of all of lower Manhattan on 9/11 from watching the videos. They found building bits and body parts many blocks away from the WTC sites.

  27. O.K. Maha, you are my 2nd favorite(over 50) woman on the planet( well, maybe 3rd), and to be sure, NO true evaluation can be made without the “prints”.
    I visited the site of the Oklahoma bombing and was surprised to see how far from that “ground zero” property was damaged, and when that oil tanker exploded in L.A. Harbor back in the early 70’s, how badly San Pedro was damaged from the shock wave.

    • NO true evaluation can be made without the “prints”.

      That’s fine, but you keep asking questions that were answered on the pages I linked to already. If those answers are bad answers do speak up, but please read them first. The first one discusses all the redundancies in the building design, for example.

      Bonus — a look at a beam taken from WTC 7

      From Scientific American, an analysis of World Trade Center dust —

      The other thing that I think people don’t see from the videos, maybe because of the angles at which they were shot, is how much of each building was gone just before the top floors began imploding. I was watching from the 41st floor of an office building approximately a mile north of the north tower, and from what I could see at that angle I could see that the damage to both towers was massive, and the floors at the point of impact were well exposed and disintegrating. So it always puzzles me that people express wonder that the towers collapsed. I have to assume such people have no idea how bad the damage was. And since the towers weighed 500,000 tons each and collapsed from the top down on a nearly windless day, it’s not all that surprising they went straight down. Gravity will do that. However, there was nothing neat about it; bodies and building bits were ejected with great force and ended up smashing into other buildings, sometimes several blocks away.

      There was also flaming debris and people raining down on lower Manhattan for some time, so it’s not surprising that WTC 7 caught fire. It’s actually kind of a wonder there wasn’t more fire. The managers of Deutsche Bank, which had a 41-story building near the WTC complex but not part of it, were so concerned about all the flaming stuff landing on the roof that they evacuated the building before the South Tower fell. And that was good, because the Deutsche Bank building had part of its facade ripped off that morning, and WTC building parts ejected into it mangled several floors. It was so mangled, in fact, they didn’t realize there were bodies in there until some time the following summer, nearly a year later. The bodies were of people who had been in the South Tower, not the Deutsche Bank building.

      So tell me another one about how “unstricken” everything was but the towers.

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