9/11 Trutherism and Its Persistent Problems, Twenty-One Years Later

This past 9/11, a very good friend of mine, via a texted meme to a small group of friends, suggested that America is just adamant to “Never Forget” the destruction of World Trade Center (WTC) Towers 1 and 2 on 9/11, but that we’re all meant to “Forget” the collapse of WTC Building 7.  Another of my best friends on this text thread warned us to “never forget the demolition of [World Trade Center] building #7 on live TV.”

A popular truther meme

Clearly, the assertion is that the American government was the true mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.  And, as someone who lived through the “Truther” moment’s birth as a politically tuned-in young adult, this moment marked a stark contrast to the claims that I used to hear in regard to 9/11 conspiracy theories.  Back in the day, the lack of details of World Trade Center 1 and 2’s collapse was the central focus of the Truther’s argument.  Jet fuel can’t burn hot enough to compromise the structural integrity of the steel beams of those buildings, they argued incessantly  -- until they were proven wrong, over, and over, and over again. 

Such facts becoming more well-known, apparently, promoted the WTC-7 narrative from side dish to entrée in that argument.

But why would the government do any of this?  Here’s an effort to explain the Truthers’ argument in the plainest of terms, and in such a way that I don’t think many Truthers would argue against it:

In 2001, America was champing at the bit for any reason to go to war in the Middle-East, in order to fill the coffers of both the American government and Big Oil tycoons (sometimes the New World Order or the five ruling families of globalist elites are peppered into this part), and so they decided to orchestrate a false-flag attack on American soil.  This false flag attack (aka, 9/11) was masterminded by nefarious forces whose names most people don’t even know, because they’re so shadowy and have so much money -- but the public figurehead for their dastardly design was the cold, calculatedly genius George W. Bush. 

That’s right, the “nukular” cowboy, good ol’ “misunderestimated” George W. Bush was both the missing village idiot that some town in Texas had lost, and for some of those exact same people, he also remains the most successful, diabolically ingenious villain to have ever existed in either reality or in Bond films. 

And, oh, what a plan he had!  First, he allowed (or financed and instructed, depending on the extent of the devotion to the theory) 19 Islamic terrorists to board airplanes with the intention to not only use them as missiles and kill thousands of American citizens, but to destroy landmarks which represented American military might (Pentagon), economic decadence (World Trade Center), and our system of law (the Capitol, widely believed to be the intended target of United 93). 

But that wasn’t enough, according to the old argument I used to hear. What if the buildings didn’t go down when these planes hit them?  And the buildings had to go down, after all, because that was a key part of the plan for some reason.  Well, that was easy, I was told. The government planted explosive devices at key points for structural integrity in WTC 1 and 2. 

Squibs, they’re called.  I never knew that until I first began hearing this conspiracy theory, but I’m now pretty confident that the people telling me that I was stupid for believing that the government didn’t plant squibs in Towers 1 and 2 had just learned what they were, too, despite presenting themselves as engineering and demolition experts at the time, undoubtedly based upon the strength of some blog they’d just read. 

But again, there’s something new about today’s Truther arguments -- WTC 1 and 2 have left the limelight.  Maybe that’s because those puffs of smoke that used to be so famously cited as evidence of explosions and planned demolition are now known to be quite obviously debris ejected from windows from the massive pressure displacing air beneath the massive amount of weight which is crashing down from above.  Here’s the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), explaining this pretty plainly:

The falling mass of the building compressed the air ahead of it -- much like the action of a piston, forcing smoke and debris out the windows as the stories below failed sequentially. 

Yeah, that’s all pretty simple. So, the “squibs in WTC 1 and 2” theory isn’t one I’ve heard in a long time, despite being a central argument of the Truthers for well over a decade.  Perhaps that’s because this one aforementioned sentence by the NIST is more compelling than the silly idea that the government had covert operatives inside the buildings for weeks, planting demolition charges in case their impossibly complicated Middle-Eastern-oil-takeover-using-undercover-Arabs-with-plane-missiles-bringing-down-skyscrapers plan failed.

So, WTC 7 has become the primary Ground Zero evidence for the Truther.  Why? 

Well, that’s because it was never hit by a plane.  And yet it still collapsed due to fires, and no one’s talking about how “crazy that is” anymore, I’m told. 

There are answers to the questions about what happened to WTC 7.  Extremely compelling and logical ones, such as those provided by the NIST here

But this evidence is no good, of course, because it’s part of the official record, and it’s therefore tainted.  The only admissible evidence is that which isn’t widely discussed, and about which only adherents of the conspiracy theory have a commanding knowledge.  Their arguments generally continue:

You haven’t heard about the minutiae about WTC 7 that I just questioned you about? Well, that’s because no one’s talking about it.  And the same government that destroyed WTC 7 also controls what people read.  Oh, you don’t believe that the government lied to you about WTC 7, and therefore everything else about 9/11?  I’ll bet you believe all the lies the government and media peddled to you about COVID, too, huh?

Thus begins a zero-sum descent into the rabbit-hole.  If you believe this thing that government supports is true, then you believe all things that the government says are true.  The questions you’re asked aren’t in the interest of them gaining knowledge that you might have.  It’s more akin to a believer asking you to follow.

In regard to the increased steam around 9/11 conspiracy theories in recent years, I’ll admit that I was taken aback by it on this year’s anniversary. These are conservatives, with whom I generally agree about many things, and who are rabidly promoting ridiculous conspiracy theories that they’ve come to believe as gospel.  As to how you might deal with encountering these theories, I’ll leave you with a better appeal to reason than I might devise on my own, offered by Penn Jillette, back in 2005:

Wasn’t 9/11 enough of a conspiracy to make the theorists happy?  Religious fanatics, directed by God, conspired to use planes as suicide bombs. They conspired to demolish an American landmark, to kill thousands of people, and to crush the economy, liberty, and spirit of the greatest nation on Earth.  So, they did it on a low budget, with pure cunning and psychotic determination.  Don’t the conspiracy nuts realize that something simple [brandishes a needle], and small, and crazy, and mean… can destroy something big and beautiful? [pops a large red balloon being inflated by his partner, Teller] 

Perhaps more important than our never forgetting what happened on that day is our not inventing conspiracies to supplant the murderous conspiracy that America endured at the hands of Osama bin Laden and Islamic terrorists on 9/11 with fairy tales about America’s lust for blood and oil. 

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