911 a Hoax? Scholar for 911 Truth versus American Thinker
Editor's Note: Following publication last Friday of J.R. Dunn's article 'Conspiracy Theories and Media Ignorance', American Thinker received a response from one of the principal advocates of a theory debunked in that article, James H. Fetzer, Distinguished McKnight University Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota Duluth. One of the distinguished professor's fields of expertise is listed by that university as 'The assassination of JFK'.
We present Professor Fetzer's letter in its entirety, along with a response from Mr. Dunn. Professor Fetzer was offered an opportunity for a rejoinder, but as of the time of publication Monday morning, we have not received one from him.
"Media Ignorance: The Case of J.R. Dunn"
According to J.R. Dunn, the problem with the media doesn't end with bias. You can also throw in pure ignorance. Ironically, his own column ("Conspiracy Theories and Media Ignorance", American Thinker, 15 September 2006) provides a pefect illustration.
Dunn takes a quote from an article in the Minneapolis Star--Tribune in which I observe, in response to a question from Katherine Kerston [sic] as to what hit the Pentagon if it was not a Boeing 757,
'Hit by a missile from an A--3 Skywarrior, most likely.'
I presume he would not know that what I actually said was,
'Hit by a missile from an A--3 Skywarrior, before it hit the building, most likely.'
More importantly, he ignores the context and evidence I have published that is easy to access on our web site, st911.org.
Evidence the Pentagon was not hit by a Boeing 747 [sic], as the government claims, for example, is extensive and definitive. Here are three points from the first piece anyone coming to Scholar's web site might be expected to read, which is titled, "Why doubt 9/11?", namely:
* The hit point at the Pentagon was too small to accommodate a 100--ton airliner with a 125--foot wingspan and a tail that stands 44 feet above the ground; the kind and quantity of debris was wrong for a Boeing 757: no wings, no fuselage, no seats, no bodies, no luggage, no tail! Which means that the building was not hit by a Boeing 757!
* The Pentagon's own videotape does not show a Boeing 757 hitting the building, as even Bill O'Reilly admitted when it was shown on "The Factor"; but at 155 feet, the plane was more than twice as long as the 71--foot Pentagon is high and should have been present and visible; it was not, which means that the building was not hit by a Boeing 757!
* The aerodynamics of flight would have made the official trajectory----flying at high speed barely above ground level----physically impossible; and if it had come in at an angle instead, it would have created a massive crater; but there is no crater and the government has no way out, which means that the building was not hit by a Boeing 757!
Over and beyond these points, which I had explained to the reporter and which probably appear at least a half--dozen times on st911.org, I would have been glad to have laid out the reasons why an A--3 Sky Warrior probably was used, but she didn't ask the question.
Dunn didn't ask, either. In a study on st911.org, "Thinking about 'Conspiracy
Theories': 9/11 and JFK", I advance the case for an A--3 having been used. Not having bothered to read it, he doesn't know what he's talking about. Here are three relevant paragraphs:
The remnants of the single engine found inside offer clues as to what actually hit the Pentagon. Boeing 757s are powered by two Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines, with front--rotor elements about 42" in diameter and high--pressure rear stages that are less than 21" in diameter. The part found was less than 24" in diameter and, it turns out, actually matches, not the turbofan engine, but the front--hub assembly of the front compressor for the JT8D turbojet engine used in the A--3 Sky Warrior jet fighter.50 Since cruise missiles have a 20" diameter, moreover, they appear to be too small to accommodate this component. It follows that the Pentagon was not hit by a Boeing 757 or by a cruise missile but, given this evidence, was probably struck by an A--3 Sky Warrior instead. The available relevant evidence is not even consistent with the government's official account, which deserves to be rejected. Its likelihood given the evidence is actually null, while the alternative A--3 hypothesis makes the relevant evidence highly probable and has high likelihood as a clearly preferable explanation.
This conjecture, which the evidence suggests, receives additional support from other sources. Two civilian defense contract employees, for example, have reported that A--3 Sky Warriors were covertly retrofitted with remote control systems and missile--firing systems at the Ft. Collins--Loveland Municipal Airport, a small civilian airport in Colorado, during the months prior to 9/11.
According to information they supplied, "separate military contractors--working independently at different times--retrofitted Douglas A--3 Sky Warriors with updated missiles, Raytheon's Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote control systems, new engines and fire control systems, transponders, and radio--radar--navigation systems--a total makeover--seemingly for an operation more important than their use as a simple missile testing platform for defense contractor Hughes--Raytheon."51 These reports substantiate the alternative.
If a small fighter jet rather than a Boeing 757 had hit the Pentagon, that would tend to explain the small impact point, the lack of massive external debris, and a hole in the inner ring of the building, which the fragile nose of a Boeing 757 could not have created. It would also suggest why parts of a plane were carried off by servicemen, since they might have made the identification of the aircraft by type apparent and falsified the official account.52 A small fighter also accommodates the report from Danielle O'Brien, an air traffic controller, who said of the aircraft that hit, "Its speed, maneuverability, the way that it turned, we all thought in the radar room--all of us experienced air traffic controllers--that it was a military plane".53 Nothing moves or maneuvers more like a military plane, such as a jet fighter, than a military plane or a jet fighter, which could also explain how it was able to penetrate some of the most strongly defended air space in the world--by emitting a friendly transponder signal.
That Dunn depended soley upon a reporter's quote for his column in this journal betrays a massive disrespect for journalistic ethics. He wrote this story on the basis of his impressions without bothering to consult me or to review what I had written on this subject. That is reprehensible.
He appears to be as massively ignorant about JFK as he is about 9/11. Jean Hill, who was standing in close proximity to the limousine, did indeed report that she had seen a "little white dog" between Jack and Jackie. Her credibility was attacked on that score until a photograph revealed that Jackie had been given a small stuffed animal of that description.
Of course, it didn't "jump out and run away when the shooting started", but then Dunn could care less. His objective is not to maintain journalistic standards but to score cheap points to make himself look good. Alas, what he has proven is journalists are frequently too lazy to get things right. And people wonder why the legacy media are sliding into irrelevance?
James H. Fetzer, Ph.D.
Founder and Co--Chair
Scholars for 9/11 Truth
J.R. Dunn responds
You conspiracy hounds are all alike -- tossing up a blizzard of unrelated, scattershot 'facts' designed to overwhelm all opposition while possessing no internal coherence whatsoever. And you have the nerve to talk to me about 'context'?
Well, my friend, I'll play your game. I will go over all of your factoids, every last claim you make in that e--mail, and erase them from the board, one after the other. And when I'm finished, and your argument lies in ruins, I will give you a context. I will reveal to you exactly why your conspiracy could not conceivably have occurred the way you say it did, and do it in a manner that you will never be able to refute without calling your entire thesis into question.
First, your 'evidence' that the Pentagon was not hit by a 757:
The wings, tailplane, and rudder are irrelevant, being merely sheet metal that sheered off on impact, as is clearly revealed by photos of the site, which are readily available to anyone who cares to look. This point has been made dozens of times, in the 9--11 Commission Report and elsewhere, and you have no excuse for not knowing it.
As for luggage, bodies, seats... be serious. Do you have any idea what happens when an object strikes six feet of reinforced concrete at 500 mph+? They were crushed, shredded, and then incinerated, within a matter of seconds. How much do you think was left?
This also answers 'fragile nose of a Boeing 757" contention made several paras on. The aircraft had been compressed to an incandescent mass less than six feet long by the time it burst through the Pentagon's inner ring. How 'fragile' do you think that mass was?
(I should also point out that the A--3 also possesses a fuselage, wings, and a tail. So this entire contention is in fact self--contradictory on its face, no?)
* The 757, at 155 ft. long, doesn't appear on the videotape? Well now -- the A--3 is 78 ft. long, a little over half that size and a damned big airplane. Still taller than the Pentagon, in your formulation.
So we have another contradiction here, don't we? The A--3 should have showed up too -- and not as a scarcely--visible 'outline' owing more to the imagination than anything else, either. If no airplane is visible, then there's some other factor at work. I suggest you consult a video tech -- I suspect a film speed problem.
(And it's time to kill the 'small jet fighter' error -- which you repeat at least five times ---- while we're at it. The A--3 was a twin--engine jet bomber, 78 ft. long, with a 72 ft. span, and an operating weight of 70,000 lbs., the full equivalent of a jetliner, notable as the largest airplane ever deployed from a carrier. This is covered in my piece; how did you miss it? Didn't get that far? Eyesight failing? But don't take my word for it. This information is available on any Internet aircraft site, including here, here and here. If you continue making the 'small fighter' claim, you're simply setting yourself up for another slapdown just like this one.)
I'm convinced that you people have actually confused this airplane with the A--4 Skyhawk, which had a similar name and designation, the same manufacturer, and was rather small for a modern military aircraft. But it's too late now -- you've constructed your case around the A--3, and you'll have to live with it.
And in any case, it's all rendered irrelevant by your own words. Quote
'...separate military contractors... retrofitted Douglas A--3 Sky Warriors (sic) with updated missiles, Raytheon's Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote control systems, new engines...'
Those are your words, from the next para. So they weren't JT--8D turbos after all... or were they? Which paragraph is right, champ? Or aren't you aware of what you're writing from line to line?
* 'The aerodynamics of flight' -- a nice formulation, using two words to say the same thing. It's like writing, 'the fighting of boxing'. But let's move on -- the trajectory ('flight path' is the proper technical term) of Flight 77 was a variation of the flight path of a plane landing at an airport, nothing 'impossible' or even especially difficult about it. The sole difference was speed, which is meaningless in the terms you're appealing to -- it doesn't matter to an aircraft whether it's 50 or 50,000 feet above the ground. If it's 'impossible' for Flight 77 to have made that approach, then no airplane has ever successfully landed. And the plane did make a massive crater -- -- in the side of a building.
*Ft. Collins--Loveland Municipal Airport is a corporate and general--aviation (light--plane) airfield with a single full--service, jet--capable runway. It covers an area of little more than a square mile. It lacks both the space and facilities for the kind of project you claim occurred there. Furthermore, it has Ft. Collins, a city with a population of 128,000, slightly over a mile to the north, Loveland, population 50,000, directly to the southwest, and is dead smack between U.S. Interstate 25 to the east and a large recreational lake (Lake Boyd) abutting the grounds to the west. The field may as well be on Times Square for all the privacy it affords. You couldn't refit, test, and test--fly two aircraft the size of an A--3 (both in shiny new black paint jobs!) without almost everybody between Cheyenne and Denver being aware of it. Have you ever heard of plane--spotters?
The American southwest is full of secret military installations, abandoned WW II training bases, and isolated private fields. Why a group of conspirators wouldn't choose one of them is impossible to surmise -- unless you're a member of 9/11 Scholars for Truth.
This is a yarn. Urban legend at its purest. You'd best drop it.
'I slid over to the controller on my left, Tom Howell, and I asked him, 'Do you see an unidentified plane there southwest of Dulles?' And his response was, 'Yes. Oh, my gosh, yes! Look how fast he is.''
You'll want to make note of that so won't accidently misquote it again in the future.
The blip was traveling at 500+ mph, (just under the 757's cruising speed of Mach .80 or 530 mph) and was over a prohibited area. So she assumed -- simply assumed -- that it must be a fighter 'scrambled to patrol our Capitol and to protect our president.' The 'maneuverability' claim is a later interpolation by somebody else -- in other words, a lie.
As for the 'most heavily defended airspace in the world', this is a nonsense statement. There has been no comprehensive air defense of the U.S. since the Aerospace Defense Command was shut down by Jimmy Carter in 1978. Bush Sr. further curtailed air defenses by shutting down Air National Guard alert squadrons in 1991. There were no SAM batteries or fighter squadrons on alert anywhere in the U.S. on 9/11, including the District of Columbia, which is why it took 2 hours+ for a minimal aerial response to the attacks. If you don't know any of this, you shouldn't be commenting on it.
Did I miss anything? I don't think so -- oh, there's the little matter of what kind of lunatic purpose is served by firing a missile at a target and then crashing a plane into it ---- but you can't rationally explain that. Nobody could.
So the board has been cleared, your thesis has been shattered, you have received a long--overdue and much--needed lesson in how to present an argument. Ahh -- but I did promise to give you a context, didn't I? Something that your storm of factoids lacks. Something that in and of itself would explain why your thesis does not have, and never could have, any validity whatsoever. So here it is:
Human beings do not act for no reason. They subject each possibility to a cost--benefit analysis, conducted virtually on the level of instinct, before making any decision.
Now, if someone were to take an action, or a series of actions, that resulted in the deaths of 3,000 Americans, the destruction of a noted landmark, the trashing of the economy for two years, and no less than two good--sized wars...
Well, the risk involved in this is effectively infinite. The public reaction to such crimes would be no less than Biblical. Not only would the perpetrators themselves be disgraced, dishonored, and executed, but everyone even peripherally involved, everyone so much as related to them, would be ostracized, hounded from the country, and driven into exile... at best. The names of the perpetrators would become terms of loathing for all time to come. Benedict Arnold would simply not be in it. So to balance the risk, the rewards of such actions would have to be infinite as well.
But are they?
Do you seriously believe that experienced politicians, men of position, reputation, and wealth, men with the respect of the citizenry and their peers, men with roots in this country going back generations, would commit mass murder for that?
I think you do. I really think so. And you know what? That's a sad thing.
I doubt that you'll wish to take this any farther. But if so, what I require from you is a logical, succinct, and coherent analysis of every statement I have made here, and in my article as well, following the example I have given you. I have no interest in any more factoids, none of this 'I saw it someplace on the Net' stuff. Fully sourced, fully researched material -- that is the minimum acceptable response. Are you capable of that? I'm not at all sure. But whatever the case, I will be keeping an eye on you. Rest assured of that.
J.R. Dunn is a frequent contributor to American Thinker, and former editor of the International Military Encyclopedia.