September 6, 2006

"Around 75 top professors and leading scientists believe the attacks were puppeteered by war mongers in the White House..."

Writes the Daily Mail, which doesn't seem to have much of a grasp of the meaning of the words "top" and "leading." I wasn't going to link to this stupid article -- which also calls UW part-time teacher Kevin Barrett an "assistant professor" -- but people keep emailing it to me.

IN THE COMMENTS: I love the way the people who hate Bush the most provide the most devastating refutation of the inside job theory:
It's amazing that people could believe a skyscraper would NOT collapse when a plane weighing 100 tons flies into it at 500 miles per hour.

And I love the conspiracy theory. We'll plant bombs in the building to make it collapse - and then - just to make it look real - we'll hijack planes and fly them into the building just to make it look convincing. And then, to make it look REALLY convincing - we'll have the President of the United States sit there like a moron for ten minutes saying nothing - after reading a book to schoolchildren.

Why do they same people who think Bush is a moron with an IQ or 80, also think he is capable of pulling off the biggest conspiracy of all time

90 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

LOL,

We thought it might light your fire. or at least fire you up.

MadisonMan said...

From the article:

But University of Wisconsin assistant professor, Kevin Barrett, said experts are unwilling to believe theories which don't fit into their belief systems.

Pot, meet Kettle. Except Barrett is not an expert.

Mike said...

We use the phrase "top men" as a running put-down around my lab. When someone makes a hand-waving argument based upon dubious data (or, as is usually the case, shear conjecture) we ask where the result came from. We then look at each other, shaking out heads knowingly in the affirmative, and ascribe it to "top men". It's a take off of the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the government guys assure Indiana Jones at the end of the movie that "top men" are researching the Ark (as we see it shuffled into the bowels of a huge government warehouse). Top Men.

Anthony said...

"What men?"

"Top. Men."

Anthony said...

Crap. Beaten to the punch.

Mike said...

But you got the period right, Anthony. My bad.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

Seriously, though, this so-called theory is so offensive that I don't think I could control myself if I were to hear someone say it to my face. It provokes a violent reaction in me, unbecoming a 54 year old prosecutor. I think I understand how a Jew feels about Holocaust denial.

JohnF said...

The guy most relied on in the Daily Mail article is Steve Jones, a physics professor at Brigham Young. He has an article on the collapse here:

http://www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html

It is pretty readable and raises the usual questions about all the molten metal and thermite induced "controlled" destruction.

What all this stuff leaves out, among many other elephants in the room, is (a) how our governmental conspirators got all those Muslims to coordinate their plane hijackings as a cover for the controlled demolition, and (b) how this conspiracy, which required the efforts of scores of people at the least, and the implantation of hundreds of pounds of explosives without anyone knowing about it, could remaing unexposed by at least one participant--this is the U.S. government here, after all.

Gaius Arbo said...

I found out the truth about "Super Thermite" but nobody is listening to me.....

http://bluecrabboulevard.com/2006/09/06/grade-inflation/

(Please forgive the egregious linkage, Ms. Althouse.)

AJ Lynch said...

Come on Ann, one of the top men is a "philospher of science". Whatever the hell that is?

paulfrommpls said...

That Philosopher of Science, James Fetzer, is actually retired from the philosophy department at the U of Mn-Duluth. He also firmly believes that Wellstone's plane was shot down or otherwise sabotaged. I think he may talk about some kind of electromagenetic pulse.

Jake said...

Funny:

Business people are not say this.
Engineers are not saying this
Pilots are not saying this.
Plumbers are not saying this.
Factory workers are not saying this.
Only university professors are saying this.

as PJ O Rourke said

"Universities give you bad ideas for fours years. And you come away with the skill of being able to recognize bad ideas the rest of your life."

hdhouse said...

this is classic....between those who find something that they want to believe and what is just plain old truth.

even the overnight radio shows shut the conspiracy people up after a sentence. heck, there were even reports of flying saucers outside Tower I.

these folks are harmless in a very offensive sorta way.

I think JOE got it best and if there was a way to just bing a few of these people right square on the nose I would do it.

Mike said...

Is it the case that only university humanities professors are saying this?

I know, there is a token scientist, Jones. But he had to turn to something after cold fusion came a cropper.

Daryl Herbert said...

They use the word "leading" four (4) times in the article.

I want that written down here, because it's the sort of detail embarrassed editors might wipe from the article without telling anyone.

Leading leading leading leading... how hard is the journalist trying to get his point across? At some point, one must question these journalistic efforts.

MadisonMan said...

From the local paper

Palladian said...

Sad to say, but this conspiracy "theory" is accepted by a lot more people than I care to think about, at least here in New York. If you haven't been to New York lately, almost every lamp post, bus stop and unattended surface in the city, especially downtown, has professionally printed stickers pasted on it that read "9/11 is a lie" or "9/11 was an inside job". They function sort of like the omnipresent posters of Big Brother in "1984", constantly slipping into your brain as you go through the day, reminding you, implanting the thought on a semi-conscious level, spreading malicious little seeds in the hope that they will sprout in fertile minds. I've personally heard people express their belief (of course it's about belief rather than evidence) that 9/11 was perpetrated by the government and by Israel or by Bush, or by some nebulous confluence of all of the above. All it takes is a basic ignorance of science and engineering (and New York is one of the few places that supports that sort of ignorance) and the right basic set of political feelings and you have subject ripe for conversion.

I was at a cookout last weekend in the back yard of a friend's building in Brooklyn and one of the guests, an early middle aged musician, jokingly mentioned that Bush had the WTC blown up and that there were "questions" about it among "experts", and said it in that annoying way that is supposed to suggest that everyone present agrees. My friend, an architect and no friend of the Bush administration, quickly and cooly said that there were no questions among engineers, and that there never were any questions about it except by people ignorant of how modern buildings are constructed. He then explained that most buildings today are not solid; they're mostly air and are built within a narrow range of tolerance to structural disruption. The buildings did what everyone who knew anything about buildings knew they would do after getting slammed by speeding 767 planes full of fuel. He then took a bite of his hot dog stood there silently. The musician changed the subject.

What amazes me is that you can scientifically explain what really happened (another phrase from the stickers) to the WTC to a layperson in about 5 minutes, but you have to labor many months to contrive the most baroque scenarios to support the 9/11 conspiracy rubbish. Yet people are still willing to accept the latter at the expense of their common sense, all in the service of what? It's hard to imagine that political hatred could be that powerful but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

Jonathan said...

So all we have to do is email you stuff enough times to get it published? Hmm. What's the magic number? 100? 248? 513?

bearbee said...

Who really blew up the twin towers?

"We're academics and we're rational, and we really believe Congress or someone should investigate this," says David Gabbard, an East Carolina education professor and 9/11 scholar. "But there are a lot of crazies out there who purport that UFOs were involved. We don't want to be lumped in with those folks."

We're academics and we're *giggle* rational.... *giggle*... and we don't want to be lumped with the crazies ,,,, *giggle* *giggle*

The Drill SGT said...

Beyond the engineering reality that Palladian said...

It's amazing to me that people could actually believe that a Bush adminstration that can't keep a secret what happens inside the super secret NSA (no such agency), could plan (in 6 months after taking power) a monumental conspiracy in broad daylight in deepest blue state America among 70,000 office workers and nobody who lived noticed and none are talking yet today? Hundreds of pounds of demo, wired to beams that lay behind drywall.

amazing!

hdhouse said...

honestly i don't think it is a political hatred issue by-in-large. certainly you are right with regard to a number of these people but i don't think its a bush hatred issue as much as it is a government hatred issue.

i agree with you though that there is a really concerted movement afoot to get this theory out and nyc is so full of angst now anyway it is fodder for the flames.

my year around home is on long island approx. 10 miles from where the TWA plane went down a decade ago. My son saw it and we had the fbi in our homes for a week. there are enough conspiracy theories about that to this day to make the gods sigh.

perhaps that is what happens after major scary events. the science is just too tough (simple as it is) for a lot of people and inventing yarns to explain it must be less horrifying than ferreting out the answers and accepting the science...but its always been that way...it must be something in our beings.

problem is now there are more graphic horrors and we can see them a million times because everyone carries a recording device or so it seems.

tiggeril said...

So, the Bush Administration is a collection of drooling retards who couldn't tie their shoes without help and need to be reminded to zip their flies, but they were able to mastermind the biggest coverup in known history without a single leak? Is that right?

My head hurts.

hdhouse said...

and as drill sgt. just posted...and this from an administration that has trouble planning an order out lunch?

what did bond say? "this has to be smersch...its out of our league".

MrsWhatsit said...

Funny, I was just wondering whether I should e-mail you to see if you knew about the article. I'm glad I didn't! I noticed the Barrett error (if it's an error) and posted a comment to the site pointing it out and asking for a correction maybe five or six hours ago. The comment hasn't yet appeared. I am wondering if it will.

Simon said...

I can't help but smirk at the apparent fact that even HDHouse thinks the 9/11 conspiracy theorists are nutjobs. When your theory is so out there that even someone apparently ready and willing to believe anything bad about this administration thinks it's crazy, you know it's pretty far out there.

Maybe there's hope for you yet, HDH. ;)

Ann Althouse said...

Jonathan said: "So all we have to do is email you stuff enough times to get it published? Hmm. What's the magic number? 100? 248? 513?"

It's just like everything else around here, for example, getting a personal response to a comment: you have to figure out how to push one of my buttons.

downtownlad said...

It's amazing that people could believe a skyscraper would NOT collapse when a plane weighing 100 tons flies into it at 500 miles per hour.

And I love the conspiracy theory. We'll plant bombs in the building to make it collapse - and then - just to make it look real - we'll hijack planes and fly them into the building just to make it look convincing. And then, to make it look REALLY convincing - we'll have the President of the United States sit there like a moron for ten minutes saying nothing - after reading a book to schoolchildren.

Why do they same people who think Bush is a moron with an IQ or 80, also think he is capable of pulling off the biggest conspiracy of all time?

Craig said...

I hate to be condescending, but the wool is so thick over the eyes in here that I fear that a bit of that may creep into my commentary here.

As a leading top man (i.e., similar to a fellow wearing a tin foil cap, but poisonous like so-called snakes to Ivy League secret society recruits), I can tell you that there is clear and uncontrovertable evidence in the Google cache that this news story and these professors are all Bush White House plants.

What better foils for a crumbling administration than to put the plain but shocking truth into the hands of jasagers impersonating members of the discredited academic world!

I bet half an hour of detective work would reveal that each of these professors have spent passionate long-weekends in the Islands with the allegedly amorous Mssr. Gannon.

Jonathan said...

I hope you realize that comment was made with tongue planted firmly in cheek (after all, it only took 1 email to get a response about your travel through SLC). I feel blessed to get a response none-the-less. Thank You!

downtownlad said...

The comment was not toungue in cheek.

Ann got it exactly right. I hate Bush, but I hate the conspiracy theorists more.

We are dealing with facts here. There is such a thing as truth. As a New Yorker, I am disgusted by those who wish to DISTORT the truth for political means.

FXKLM said...

The conflict between "Bush is an evil genius" and "Bush is a moron" is a serious issue on the left. I'm convinced that's why Karl Rove gets so much attention. He helps resolve the Bush paradox. Bush is a moron and to the extent that his evil plans are successful, it's because he's Rove's puppet.

Simon said...

DTL - that last point ("Why do they same people who think Bush is a moron with an IQ or 80, also think he is capable of pulling off the biggest conspiracy of all time?") is precisely the right question. There has always been a level of cognitive dissonance in the liberal view of Bush: that he is both a complete idiot ("the chimperator") and an evil genius who is plotting the imminent takeover of the world.

Revenant said...

Why do they same people who think Bush is a moron with an IQ or 80, also think he is capable of pulling off the biggest conspiracy of all time

They usually mumble something about how the same faceless individuals who are the *real* power behind Bush came up with the plan.

Kyle said...

"Why do they same people who think Bush is a moron with an IQ or 80, also think he is capable of pulling off the biggest conspiracy of all time"

I guess the obvious answer is that Bush doesn't make all that many operational decisions. Various important people do such things for him.

So here's the most plausible version I ever heard of the "inside job" theory. Bush didn't know anything, and no one in the US engineered anything. Instead Cheney and Rumsfeld got early word that al-Qaeda was gearing up for an attack and then decided to keep the government from taking even elementary steps to ward off the blow. Result: the ax finally fell and Cheney-Rumsfeld had a nice bloody wound with each to incite the nation to war.

Evidence? Don't ask. And the argument doesn't survive a minute if you believe there's such a thing as incompetence. In fact, even after the WMDs fiasco, the fellow who tried this line on me rejects any mention of incompetence in connection with the Bush administration. He has a religious faith that the deep schemers in the White House somehow wanted their casus belli in Iraq to be exposed.

But, to give the guy credit, he was smart enough not to fall for the WMD crap back when Congress, the media, and far too many bloggers were taking it seriously. He may be a crackpot conspiracy theorist, but on the most pressing foreign policy issue of our time he performed better than our nation's conservatives and their enablers.

Then again, who couldn't?

Joseph White said...

A total ripoff of the Onion, I know, but I can just see the headline:

"Bush, Jews, Halliburton, Enron, Baggage Handler's Union, Mafia, Papacy, Freemasons, Saucer People, Reverse-Vampires Conspire to Blow Up Twin Towers" --New York Times, Sept. 12, 2001

downtownlad said...

Bush is not a moron and he is not a genius. He simply is willing to pander to the WORST in Americans to get elected - and that's what I don't like about him.

Same with Rove. You don't have to be a genius to win South Carolina by spreading rumors that McCain had a black daughter (she was Bangladeshi). But you do have to be unethical.

Bush did not want to be a war President. He was isolationist when he ran for President. But 9/11 forced him to act. You might not like the way he's acted since then, but that doesn't mean he planned 9/11. So silly. How soon until they start arguing that the Twin Towers never existed at all . . .

Freder Frederson said...

But somewhere around half the people in this country believe Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. So people will believe anything.

They also think we found WMDs in Iraq.

Mike said...

Ya'll realize the fact that they waited for an hour after the planes hit to blow the building, thus allowing most to escape, rather than doing it simultaneously with the planes just shows that Bush is, indeed, a compassionate conservative, don't you? Cheney wanted to do it right away, but Bush wouldn't let him.

To mollify him, Bush did let Cheney push the plunger.

Mike said...

Freder!!! Even you think Bush is innocent of these charges?

There may be hope for you, yet.

JohnK said...

People have gone insane. My experience with conspiracy theories involves my work on Katrina. I know perfectly reasonable people who ought to know better who believe that the government blew up the levies and that an 8 year old was raped and murdered in the Superdome (no one was raped or murdered there). I have no doubt that lots of people who should know better in NYC believe these crackpot theories about 9-11.

There are a lot of explanations for this insanity. I think the best one is that people just can't accept the banality of evil. It is hard to believe a pathetic little nobody like Muhammad Atta could do so much damage. So, it has to be some huge shadowy conspiracy.

The same thing works with the Bush haters. They just can't accept that someone they loath so much could beat them so thoroughly politically. They also can't accept that Bush is an ordinary political enemy because to do so would mean admitting that they and their petty concerns are just that; petty. So instead of the ordinary politician that Bush is, Bush becomes an arch devil destroying the Republic, shooting down Paul Wellstone's plane and planning 9-11. This delusion does two things; first, it explains away their political losses to Bush because they aren't loosing to just anyone, they are loosing to evil incarnate, second, it gives the Bush haters a sense of importance in their lives. They are no longer fighting the usual political fight, but fighting for truth justice and the American way against the evilest man in the universe. This is the reason why so many Bush haters are aging hippie boomers. Hating Bush is just a way to relive their youth back when because of the benefit of time and distance the causes seemed so much larger and more important.

downtownlad said...

I love how they try to make World Trade Center 7 a conspiracy as well. That was the building that fell later that afternoon. Nobody got hurt, and honestly, no New Yorkers really cared about building #7 at that point. So the point of blowing it up as part of a "conspiracy" was what exactly?

Somehow it's ok to say that World Trade Center 3,4,5, and 6 can all be destroyed by the Twin Towers collapsing. But #7 was part of some dark sinister plot.

Maybe these people should take a look at the Deutsche Bank building across from the site. Or Fitterman Hall. Neither are in very good shape and they are both being deconstructed now. There was a randomness to it all. Some buildings got completely destroyed when the Twin Towers fell (#3,4,5, and 6, plus some hotels), some had major collateral damage and fell later (#7) and some got damaged but were still standing (Deutsche Bank, Fitterman Hall).

How utterly rational those silly facts can be.

Brian O'Connell said...

The big mystery, as far as conspiracy theorists go, is why they think that the late collapse of WTC 7 supports their rantings.

OK, so the govt, secretly, and mind you they seem not to be able to keep many secrets judging by the NYT, planted explosives in WTC 1, 2, and 7, and as a cover, caused planes to crash into WTC 1 & 2.

But if the govt had such an interest in seeing WTC 7 go down why didn't they have something crash into it? Why leave this opening in the hijacked plane story?

(Ah, but that's the genius of it.)

hdhouse said...

Errrr I cast my vote for moron but that isn't fair.

Ms. Althouse is quite correct in her observations regarding contempt for Bush's lack of brains and the complexity of the plot. But just like any "if/then" it is only half right and half again totally right.

I'm more than a little convinced that the ...not sure of the proper word...the creatures who conjecture up all the answers to make a conspiracy fly - some of the garbage is pretty original..like the flying saucers off loading the fuses and taking away the alien progeny so they won't perish in the collapse....have no real political axe to grind. some of course evoke the grand plan for wars without end, others want to save a political career, still others seek a financial ruin out of who's ashes rise new and flagrant fortunes.

Just my opinion but the entire issue of conspiracies may well be more complex and obscure than we can hope to imagine.

Robert Fovell said...

WTC 7 is both a remarkable and amusing example of the desperate conspiracist who argues backwards from conclusions to facts.

According to news reports, WTC 7 housed offices of the CIA and other government agencies (Secret Service, SEC, whatever). If WTC 7 had survived intact, while other nearby buildings suffered irreparable damage, that would be sufficient proof to the conspiracist that the government was involved. Obviously, the plotters could save their own structure, since they planned the whole thing, right?

But wait, WTC 7 collapsed. Aha, this is obviously the CIA, Secret Service and SEC, et cetera, ad infinitum, trying to deflect suspicion. Damaging their own property -- including the Pentagon -- is merely a ruse! Or perhaps "They" were trying to destroy evidence of their own culpability that was stored in WTC 7. Yeah, that's it...

Um, but if "They" knew the plot in advance, why didn't they remove tell-tale evidence from WTC 7? Why would they take the chance that it could be recovered from the debris? No doubt, the facile mind of the conspiracist can come up with an explanation that forces the evidence to fit their preconceived notion. If they fail, the inconvenient truth will simply be ignored.

Fenrisulven said...

We're academics and we're rational

Oxymoronic false appeal to authority.

Besides, Dr. Debra Frisch is an "academic" too. LOL.

Harry Eagar said...

Amusing to see all the rightwingers mount their high horses about those gullible conspiracy theorists.

None of them ever fell for the ones about the Trilateral Commission, Freemasons, gnomes of Zurich, pope giving orders to Kennedy etc.

Or the UN, Council on Foreign Relations.

Secret Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

and so on

Fenrisulven said...

Freder Frederson: They also think we found WMDs in Iraq.

Uhm, we did. For starters, 500 arty shells of Sarin and Mustard Gas. Some decomposed beyond use, some not.

Fenrisulven said...

Amusing to see all the rightwingers mount their high horses about those gullible conspiracy theorists.

Typical liberal equivalence instead of shame retort.Both sides are just as bad. So its okay that my side has wacko Moonbats leading the party off a cliff in time of war

Seven Machos said...

Check these comments in a few days or weeks. The demented conspiracy theorists seem to find their way to these sorts of posts late, somehow.

HD: I'm glad we can agree on something.wdddk

Kirk Parker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kirk Parker said...

Fenrisulven, I think the count is actually up around 700 now.

OhioAnne said...

If the Bush administration had planned this one, one of his "top men" (Ted Olsen) would have also had to knowlingly allow his wife to board a plane that was going to later plow into the Pentagon.

So, as stated earlier not only do you have to believe people who have shown no evidence of the genius it would take to pull this off DID pull this off, but you have to believe that they either also kept part of the plan secret from Olsen or he is such a cold-blooded SOB that he was willing sacrificed his wife to this plan.

Telecomedian said...

I asked the surviving members of the Warren Commission to investigate the Towers' collapse.

They came up with the "Magic Boeing Theory" that one plane hit both buildings, simply refuting ABC's, CBS's, CNN's, NBC's, Fox's and 1,758 eyewitnesses testimony of two planes as being false, and "a modern-day Zapruder film."

Now, where's MY book deal? Do I get tenure?

Pogo said...

So why exactly does Kevin Barrett remain employed as a University of Wisconsin "assistant professor"?

Because at UW Madison we support free academic inquiry, including wildly implausible and embarrassingly stupid crackpot theories outside our fields of expertise.

I said this in a thread long ago: this guy's gonna cause UW a long trail of regret. It's a great school; friends went there, their kids go there. But this is going to cause serious harm.

Freder Frederson said...

Uhm, we did. For starters, 500 arty shells of Sarin and Mustard Gas. Some decomposed beyond use, some not.

I don't know why I have to keep repeating myself.

The number is actually over 700 now. And whether or not a chemical artillery shell fits the definition of a WMD, the discovery of 700 odd degraded, pre-first Gulf War shells proves nothing, no matter how hysterically man-on-dog Senator Sanitarium (as Tony Soprano calls him) frets about it on the Senate floor. Even the administration says the discovery the occaisional old chemical weapon shell is irrelevant.

The facts remain unassailable--and this is the official position of the Bush Administration, not us leftist Bush haters and those U.N. peacenik appeasers. After the war, an extensive survey was conducted and the conclusion was that Saddam's existing stockpiles of WMD were destroyed shortly after the first Gulf War. Bench-level research continued but all production facilities were shut down and most were dismantled. All intelligence that indicated otherwise was simply wrong, primarily because we believed what we wanted to from very dubious sources and Saddam acted like he still had a program.

That Iraq's inventory control was so poor that an odd shell here and there was overlooked and not destroyed should surprise no one. To use the existence of such shells to vindicate the overblown case for war is dishonest and disingenuous.

It is the height of irony that in a post ridiculing conspiracy theories you are clinging to another conspiracy theory. That Saddam really did have WMDs immediately before the current war (and as you recall we knew "exactly" where they were), but that under our very noses he managed to conceal them or spirit them away to Syria (who of course he hated) before we invaded. All this in spite of the Bush Administration admitting (or at least as close to an admission to a mistake that you will ever get out of them) that they were mistaken about Saddam's program.

DaveG said...

After the war, an extensive survey was conducted and the conclusion was that Saddam's existing stockpiles of WMD were destroyed shortly after the first Gulf War.

That's pretty much the entire point, isn't it? Pre-invasion, Hussein was not complying with the inspection requirements that were the agreement for stopping short of invasion of Iraq in 1991. Without compliance with the inspection requirement, we had no way of knowing whether those weapons had been destroyed or not. The argument was that the consequences of not knowing and possibly having those weapons used against us were far too high to adopt a wait and see policy.

The fact that the weapons haven't been found isn't the point - the point is that the burden of proof was on Hussein, and it was not met.

class-factotum said...

So at least dozens if not more people were involved in engineering the 9/11 attacks. And they've all kept the secret.

Amazing.

Yet People magazine manages to find out about almost every celebrity wedding, pregnancy, and breakup and those involve only a few people.

Where is the responsible journalism, I ask? Why hasn't People been working on the biggest story in the century? Who cares about Demi and Ashton? They need to tell us the truth about 9/11!

Mike said...

In the run up to the war I joked that wouldn't it be ironic if Saddam didn't have any WMD. What would we do? A Pythonesque "sorry, sorry"? I used to think that Saddam was an idiot for letting himself be deposed when he had "nothing" to hide. But what really happened, as it has come out after the war, is that he relied on his buddies the French and the Russians to keep the Americans at bay. Only that didn't work with this president. Poor Saddam.

Freder Frederson said...

Pre-invasion, Hussein was not complying with the inspection requirements that were the agreement for stopping short of invasion of Iraq in 1991.

You know, that is the problem when the president lies repeatedly. People like you believe him. Saddam was complying with the inspection requirements before the war. He filed reports saying he had destroyed all his WMDs but didn't have any documentary evidence to prove it (we now know none existed). We simply didn't believe him because we were so sure he was lying.

Before the war our intelligence was so good we knew "exactly" where the WMD stockpiles and facilities were (remember we kept telling the inspectors where to look and they kept finding nothing); it was "pretty well established" that Saddam had restarted his nuclear program (a complete fabrication); that Saddam was buying aluminum tubes for use in centrifuges (eventhough DOE, the agency with expertise in these matters, said the tubes were unsuitable for that use).

When the president now claims that Saddam was not cooperating with the inspectors he is simply lying. When the administration claimed that Saddam had an ongoing and active WMD program before the war, they were basing that claim on evidence they knew or should have known was unreliable, forged, cherry-picked, subject to several more likely interpretations or just plain wrong.

Freder Frederson said...

That's pretty much the entire point, isn't it?

No, I think the original point being made was that the 700-odd old chemical shells somehow makes the administration's wildly inaccurate pre-war claims about Saddam's WMD programs somehow valid.

It does nothing of the sort.

tjl said...

Freder Frederson shrilly alleges, "When the president now claims that Saddam was not cooperating with the inspectors he is simply lying."

Not so! It was none other than Hans Blix who said that the Iraqis had been so uncooperative that "It would be surprising if they DID'NT have WMD."

Joe said...

Freder, this is all pure hindsight on your part. Prior to invasion, the entire world believed Iraq had WMDs including the Clintonistas and the French. And he was not in compliance with the UN verification requirements. You revise history to defend a murderous tyrant like Saddam.

MKL said...

I love those people who try and harp on bush reading at that school on September 11th.

If those people had any sense to read history, they'd find out that Jimmy Roosevelt wrote that the evening of Pearl Harbor, hours after the attack, he found FDR at the White House going thru his stamp collection...

"My God, he was going through his stamp collection!! He must be impeached!!"

Joe said...

Iraq also maintained the capability to quickly ramp up productions of WMDs. There is also evidence that they transferred existing weapons stock to Syria. In the year after 9-11, no one was willing to err on the side of giving Saddam benefit of the doubt. Correctly.
I just don't get your point. Do you think the world is better off without him in power or not? Do you want him restored to power? What would you have done at this point?

Mike said...

Freder. I understand. You're disoriented. What happened last night is that you had a brief glimpse of reality. You should try and remember what you were doing just before it occurred. With practice, you can do it at will. Most people like to enter reality every morning when they first wake up.

Bruce Hayden said...

Freder Frederson

I don't think that very many of those who keep pointing out that a bunch of pre-Desert Storm chemical munitions were found are really trying to suggest that serious amounts of WMD were found, but rather just rebutting the silly anti-war talking point that NO WMD were found.

As noted above though, we just didn't know, and that was what was so dangerous. Pre-Gulf War (I), Iraq had huge amounts of the stuff, and in retrospect, it looks like they managed to get rid of most of the stuff, and maybe shipped the rest out to probably Syria in the days before our invasion. But we didn't know, and Saddam Hussein was playing games, actively and blatently flaunting his non-compliance to the agreement he made to end Desert Storm.

Also, note that the point that these munitions are pre-GWI is also a red herring, as our worry was not primarily that Iraq was making new WMD, but that those huge pre-war stockpiles were still around.

On a similar note, you made the correct point that there is still no known connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, and by now, with all the Iraqi documents that have been translated, if there had been, we would probably know it by now.

Nevertheless, similar to to the NO WMD tallking point, we also hear the generalization of this later point - that there were no connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. In retrospect, it turns out that there were a number of them. The two weren't close, but they did share similar aims, and appeared to have often been exploring options of closer cooperation.

I just wish that those who oppose the war would get off the inaccurate talking points (No WMD and No al Qaeda ties), and use the accurate ones (insigificant WMD found and no 9/11 ties), and we wouldn't have to rehash this time after time.

DaveG said...

People like you believe him.

You're right, of course. I have to make a judgement call to decide who to believe. I can believe the POTUS, the international intelligence community and google-cached staements from the Clinton Administration, or I can believe Michael Moore, Nancy Pelois, Dan Rather, Sandy Burger, and Harry Reid. Tough call, that.

Shrillness is the tie-breaker.

When the president now claims that Saddam was not cooperating with the inspectors he is simply lying.

Others have addressed that, so I'll save my breath. I was watching the games played by Hussein in the 90s, I have my perception of those events, and you have yours. How closely were you watching back then?

Bruce Hayden said...

I work this backwards:

1. Bush is evil. Rove and Cheney are really evil.

2. The 9/11 towers collapsing was an excuse to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

3. The evil NeoCons wanted to go to war all along, and this was their excuse.

4. If al Qaeda actually caused 9/11, then we really would be at war.

5. Therefore, it must have been a plot by the government orchestrated by those evil NeoCons, headed by Rove and Cheney (actually, I have seen no indication that Rove is a NeoCon in the first place).

6. And everything else in the plot falls out from there. The more the plot is debunked, the more elaborate and diabolical it becomes.

7. Also, to tie things back around, a lot of the original NeoCons were/are Jewish, and most, if not all, are/were very strongly pro-Isreal. Thus, the 9/11 plot was at its center obviously being orchestrated by the dreaded Mossad.

Mike said...

Bruce - You already know the material. You are granted a waiver on taking Barrett's course.

dave said...

these 9/11 myths - and they are 'myths' in the Joseph Campbell sense as well as the colloquial, 'falsehood' definition - let people make sense of events that don't make sense to them. societies and religions both ancient and modern have all sorts of stories to explain life, death, horrible events, human history.

as for Iraq, the only "conspiracy" there is that most of the current administration had been advocating invasion since the Clinton administration. not terribly secretively, either.

hdhouse said...

of course some conveniently forget that Bush PULLED THE INSPECTORS OUT OF IRAQ.

I just don't get it. There have been plenty of "kiss and tell" books written by so many from the Bush administration (now on their enemies list) that address the undeniable fact that although we shot in Afghanistan there was immediate talk of Iraq. As much as some want to deny it, those are facts. You may not like the messenger but you can't rip up the message.

It is entirely dishonest, as dishonest as the conspiracy wackos.

DaveG said...

most of the current administration had been advocating invasion since the Clinton administration.

I've always said Bush was going to do something about Iraq, and said so, even before 9/11. All 9/11 did was muddy the waters.

DaveG said...

of course some conveniently forget that Bush PULLED THE INSPECTORS OUT OF IRAQ.

Are you referring to this?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,81343,00.html

BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.N. weapons inspectors climbed aboard a plane and pulled out of Iraq on Tuesday after President Bush issued a final ultimatum for Saddam Hussein to step down or face war.

If so, that's not very surprising, is it? What good would they do once the bombs started falling?

If not, well then apparently they were there right up until the last minute. I'm afraid I'm missing your point.

I suppose, then, that you're referring to this:

U.N. weapons inspectors arrived in Baghdad for the first time in four years on Nov. 27, 2002, and resumed inspections two days later. During four months of inspections, arms experts traveled the length of the country hunting for banned weapons of mass destruction.

But who was President in 1998?

Oh wait, this is Fox News reporting, and that doesn't count.

Freder Frederson said...

There is also evidence that they transferred existing weapons stock to Syria.

Where is this evidence? It's not just us raving lefties saying this didn't happen, it is the Bush Administration.

There is absolutely zero evidence of this except in the minds of fevered right-wing conspiracy theorists in the blogoshpere. Saddam hated Syria (Syria was our allie in the first Gulf War), why on earth would he give them his WMDs?

I will again point out the irony of ridiculing conspiracy theorists while clinging to this thoroughly discredited theory.

that there were no connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. In retrospect, it turns out that there were a number of them. The two weren't close, but they did share similar aims, and appeared to have often been exploring options of closer cooperation.

What similar aims? Other than a hatred of the U.S., they had absolutely nothing in common. That is why the the contacts led nowhere.

And face it, until the day Saddam rolled into Kuwait, Saddam was someone whose methods this country may have disagreed with but we tolerated because he was a strategic impediment to Iran.

Also, note that the point that these munitions are pre-GWI is also a red herring, as our worry was not primarily that Iraq was making new WMD, but that those huge pre-war stockpiles were still around.

Not according to the V.P.

Iraq also maintained the capability to quickly ramp up productions of WMDs.

This is a meaningless statement. Any country that maintains an agricultural, pharmaceutical or chemical industry has the capability to "quickly ramp up production" of WMDs (as the U.S. has chosen to define them). Heck, you could probably cook up some pretty effective WMDs with the chemicals you have under your sink and in your garage.

Not so! It was none other than Hans Blix who said that the Iraqis had been so uncooperative that "It would be surprising if they DID'NT have WMD.

This is the typical dishonesty that is used to rewrite history. At the time the inspectors were pulled out before the invasion, Saddam was fully complying (granted it was because of the military pressure we were putting on him). The U.N. was complaining that the report didn't provide proof that the WMDs had actually been destroyed (because as it turns out the Iraqis had not actually documented the destruction).

To use the fact that Saddam had not cooperated in the past to imply he was not cooperating immediatly before the invasion is dishonest and simply a lie.

tjl said...

Freder insists, "To use the fact that Saddam had not cooperated in the past to imply he was not cooperating immediatly before the invasion is dishonest and simply a lie."

In Freder-land, a "lie" is any statement that he disagrees with.

Tibore said...

Going back to the original topic:

Why do people keep considering the members of 9/11 Scholars for Truth experts at this field? I mean, first of all, what is this field? Conspiracy fantasy indulgence? On top of that, regarding the purely "scientific" evidence that they present, where's their expertise? They keep pushing theories as to why the physics of the towers collapsing are impossible, yet they only have one person on their team claiming any structural engineering expertise at all, and no one can verify his credentials!

By the "no one's" researching, I'm specifically thinking of contributors to the JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) who've been trying to verify the credentials for a Joseph M. Phelps, the one listing credentials as a "Structural Dynamicist" in the American Society of Civil Engineers. They haven't been able to do so. But in trying, they discovered that there was an internal (to 9/11 Scholars for Truth) controversy about that person (source: link), and his credentials might be exaggerated (source: link).

At any rate, only one person claiming structural engineering credentials (unverified to date, possibly bogus), and two others claiming any engineering at all (an aeronatical engineer - Jean-Pierre Petit - who has published zero papers about or even given any indication at all that he's studied the WTC collapse, and a Clemson University Mechanical Engineer - Judy Wood - who studies dental stresses). But, according to Screw Loose Change the bulk of their "expertise" is comprised of the following:

"the most common academic discipline was philosophy, with 9 members, including a co-founder...

7 members did not even list an academic discipline...

English/literature and psychology came in next with 5 members each...

theology and "humanities" came in with 4 and 3 members respectively"


Contrast that to the NIST team studying the collapse:

3 structural engineers

6 fire or fire & structure researchers (the 9/11ST group has none)

1 Metallurgist (9/11ST group again has none)

... and one poor fellow who's only credential is that he's led research teams (http://wtc.nist.gov/pi/wtc_profiles.asp?lastname=cauffman). Teams with the Structures Division of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of NITS, and teams with the Civil Engineering Research Foundation before that.

No disrespect in intended to the academic, non-engineering fields represented on the 9/11ST group's roster, but the expertise of the groups members in structural engineering or fire research is nil. Yet, they push forth "scientific" evidence regarding the towers' collapse that no engineering or scientific publication at all has ever published or even reviewed? (Yes, there are academic publications that deal strictly with structural failures; Engineering News-Record and The Structural Engineer are two that come to mind, but the point is they haven't even published in Scientific American or Discovery, let alone field-specific, peer reviewed publications.)

The "Truth" in their title is painfully ironic. And professor: Agreed. "Top" and "Leading" are empty adjectives in this context. The 9/11ST group is "Top" and "Leading" in nothing but the conspiracy fantasy. Nothing else.

Freder Frederson said...

In Freder-land, a "lie" is any statement that he disagrees with.

Okay, please explain in what way Saddam was not cooperating with the inspectors immediately prior to the invasion of Iraq. Just saying I am mistaken doesn't cut it.

I will admit that the report of the destruction of WMDs submitted was inadequate because it provided no proof that the WMDs had actually been destroyed. But as we later found out, the documents simply did not exist. But Saddam had announced that he would allow unannounced inspections of his palaces when Bush pulled the inspectors. The simple fact is that the inspections were embarassing the Bush administration because they were uncovering nothing while the administration continued to insist that not only did Saddam have weapons but that he had active programs. They also insisted they knew where the weapons and facilities were, yet every time the inspectors showed up at the supposed facilities and storage sites, they found nothing. By this time the U.N. and the U.S. had free rein to overfly Iraq with reconisance so the Iraqis could not have moved the stuff without us knowing about it.

What else could Saddam have done to cooperate that he wasn't doing? What was the incident that proved that Saddam was acting in such bad faith that invasion was justified? I don't recall what it was, perhaps you can refresh my memory.

Remember, both Tony Blair and President Bush promised they were going to go back to the U.N. to get another resolution to authorize the invasion. They never did.

monkeyboy said...

"Saddam hated Syria (Syria was our allie in the first Gulf War), why on earth would he give them his WMDs?"

For the same reason he gave his MIGs to Iran in the First Gulf War?

I also want to chime in on the idea that we were not greeted with flowers. We were, and in fact still are in many places. When you go to free the opressed, those doing the opressing tend to resent you. You would think that no one in the south liked the union army if your only view of the Civil War was "Gone with the Wind."

Freeman Hunt said...

There are reasons that people suppose WMD was moved to Syria. (Portion quoted at link--page contains link to full text.)

Revenant said...

Personally, I think the academics just discovered the George Bush conspiracy theory generator and mistakenly thought it was real.

And whether or not a chemical artillery shell fits the definition of a WMD

They fit the definition the US government was using -- namely, chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons

the discovery of 700 odd degraded, pre-first Gulf War shells proves nothing

... except that Saddam Hussein had WMDs he was forbidden from having.

You can argue that Iraq didn't have enough WMDs of sufficient quality to make an invasion worthwhile. But don't try arguing that they didn't have WMDs, because it makes you look like an idiot.

Freder Frederson said...

There are reasons that people suppose WMD was moved to Syria. (Portion quoted at link--page contains link to full text.)

Which is about as convincing as the evidence that the WTC was brought down by explosives. If the evidence is so convincing, why doesn't the Bush administration believe it? Do they have something to hide? Perhaps there is some kind of conspiracy in the Bush administration to cover up the evidence that Saddam actually did have stockpiles of WMD just prior
to the invasion. What perfidy.

You can argue that Iraq didn't have enough WMDs of sufficient quality to make an invasion worthwhile. But don't try arguing that they didn't have WMDs, because it makes you look like an idiot.

Don't argue that the discovery of the odd chemical munition here and there that got overlooked when the Iraqis were destroying their stockpiles proves anything other than sloppy bookkeeping and inventory control. It makes you look like an idiot.

Freeman Hunt said...

Which is about as convincing as the evidence that the WTC was brought down by explosives.

Typing that does not make it so.

I would not argue that evidence is conclusive by any means. I would only argue that it is a possibility.

I have no means of guessing at diplomatic motives concerning Syria.

I think we will find out more as more documents and audio recordings are translated.

Freder Frederson said...

Typing that does not make it so.

Okay, so typing this does.

The Bush administration is aware of these documents yet gives them no credence.

The Duelfer report, after interviewing Iraqi officials and scientists, concluded that the Iraqi WMDs were destroyed by the mid-90s.

One week before we invaded we had the entire country covered with reconnaissance flights and satellites. We would know if there had been transfers of WMDs to Syria and would have trumpeted to the world at the time.

One unsourced document (that doesn't even say what was in the trucks) looks silly in light of those contrary well-documented facts.

Freder Frederson said...

And actually you provided a reason, not reasons.

John Henry said...

Re "Assistant Professor" Barrett"

I've been teaching as an adjunct since 1974 so I do know what a "professor" is.

However, the word can be used in two different ways:

1) Professor, as an academic job title bestowed by the school.

2)Professor as a job function applying generically to anyone who stands up in front of a university class and teaches.

While I know that Barrett is not officially a "Professor" or any sort, I and the public also know that he acts the part of a professor in front of a group of students.

I understand that the real professors dislike the idea that Barett is viewed by most of the public as a professor. My advice is to get over it.

The real problem is not that he is thought of by the public as a professor but that he is identified with UW at all. For that, you have your administration to thank.

So rave on, professor Barrett. Outside of a very few academics, very few people see any difference between you and professor Althouse.

Ann, I do not mean to equate your views with his. He seems to be a raving looney and you are not. But most of us do not see a distinction between your two professorships. His looniness is dragging your, and every other professor's credibility into doubt.

You should be really pissed at the administration.

John Henry

Freeman Hunt said...

Why would you not trust this administration on anything, but on this particular issue use their declaration of insufficient evidence as ironclad proof that something is impossible? Insufficient evidence is not the same as impossible, and fingering Syria has broad diplomatic consequences not to be taken lightly.

There has been an addition to Duelfer report:

Prewar Movement of WMD Material Out of Iraq, stating "ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place" but also acknowledging that "ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war."

If you would like more reasons that people believe a transfer to Syria was possible, just Google wmd syria.

It remains an unresolved issue. Perhaps future translation work will put the issue to rest.

Mike said...

John Henry said: "You should be really pissed at the administration."

I am. I've taken this personally. I've worked very hard at my field and in my position here, as have my colleagues, and to have my credibility sullied by association with this guy due to, in my view, a complete misunderstanding of the concept of academic freedom... grrrr. (take a deep breath)

And that would be Assistant pseudo Professor Barrett, if you please.

Hayek said...

To suggest there was no relationship between Al Queda and the bathists before the Iraqui invasion is to ignore all the available evidence.Zawahiri(sp?),who became their man in Iraq until his untimely demise had gone to Iraq together with two dozen of his henchmen nine months before we invaded. We learned this from the Jordanian secret service who were tracking him for the purpose of getting the Jordanian citizen back for killings which occurred in Jordan. When advised by Jordan of their presence in Bagdad and the desire that he be

Hayek said...

...for prosecution,the Sadam regime made no response. Do you seriously believe a police state such as Iraq,which had harboured Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal,was not aware of Zawahiri's presence or that they were not protecting Al Quiada's "man in Iraq"?