I was going to make this a major post but my schedule just does not allow time to do a thoroughly researched piece replete with citations and links to support my case, so I will just cut to the chase.
As I wrote in my Recollections of September 11, 2001 post below, I took it for granted that Osama bin Laden was behind it. The idea that the day's events were an inside job committed by elements of the Bush Administration or some secret cabal of war profiteers never occurred to me.
I did not give serious consideration to the inside job theory until about a year ago. Over at the Liberal Avenger, a frequent commenter there kept flogging it and provided links to the Loose Change videos and other 9/11 "Truther" sites. Since I consider myself an open-minded person, I decided to check them out.
After watching Loose Change and a couple of other videos, I began to think, "Maybe the Twin Towers really were brought down by controlled demolition." But I was not going to just buy into the conspiracy theory hook, line, and sinker, so I reviewed counterarguments and raised questions of my own. Upon further consideration, I came to reject the inside job theory.
The basic premise behind the idea that 9/11 was an inside job is that the Bush Administration or whoever the "Truthers" believe allegedly carried out the attack, did so because it would cause the American public to support the administration's plans to control the Middle East under the guise of fighting terrorism.
But if this was really the case, then the plotters went about doing so in much too complicated a manner. Readers of this blog know that when I critically analyze certain stories in the Bible that believers claim are literally true, such as Noah's Ark, I like to use Rube Goldberg analogies. For example, in the Noah story, God has the power to cause every wicked person on the face of the Earth to spontaneously combust, thus leaving Noah and his small family of righteous people to start the human race anew. Instead, the Bible tells us that God went to absurd lengths to have Noah and his family pack themselves into a wooden vessel along with pairs of every living thing so that the Earth could be flooded. That the God of the Bible resorts to such a Rube Goldberg method to achieve an end that could have been carried out in a much simpler fashion is convincing evidence for me that the story is nothing more than a fable.
Likewise, if some cabal of government officials and evil corporations wanted to cause a mass casualty incident in the United States so that the American people and Congress would give the Bush Administration a blank check to wage an unlimited war against terror, it would be quite easy to do so. Just having two hijacked aircraft crashing into the Twin Towers with the towers still standing would have been enough for me, and I suspect most of the American public, to support an intervention in Afghanistan to topple the Taliban and try to catch or kill Osama bin Laden. Alternatively, multiple truck bombs could have been detonated in a number of crowded places to ensure a high body count.
What the Inside Job crowd would have us believe though is that two airliners crashed into the Twin Towers but the towers were brought down by controlled demolition. Then a missile was fired at the Pentagon while the government claimed it was another hijacked airliner. And a fourth plane was shot down but the public was told that the passengers actually turned on the hijackers just so that we could have a feel good story about heroes who fought back and redeemed American honor on that day.
There were other things about the Inside Job theory that did not sit with me. Many of the Inside Job crowd mention that WTC 7 was brought down by controlled demolition. But why would the perpetrators of the conspiracy do that? Did it have any meaningful impact on swaying American opinion about waging a war on terror? What do they think, that Americans were sitting around in their local bars saying to one another, "It's a damn shame that the Twin Towers were destroyed, but the terrorists also brought down WTC 7. This means war dammit!"
Then there is also the inconvenient fact that the late Barbara Olsen, wife of Solicitor General of the United States Theodore Olsen and professional Clinton basher, was a passenger on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon. If 9/11 was an inside job, then either Ted Olsen is an idiot who continues to serve an administration that caused the murder of his wife, or Barbara Olsen is really alive and is in hiding, and her husband is pretending that she is dead. Neither possibility strikes me as plausible.
That being said, I can understand why some people would want to believe that 9/11 was an inside job. The Project for a New American Century members who occupied positions in the Bush Administration clearly were itching for a reason to go into Iraq, and 9/11 certainly contributed to a climate where Congress and most of the American people would come to support the invasion of Iraq. But I suspect that even in the absence of 9/11, they could have ginned up some pretext for going to war against Saddam Hussein.
I am not going to pretend that this post can touch on all aspects of the Inside Job theory. There are some "Truthers" who believe that Israel's Mossad actually carried out the attacks because Israel's government would benefit from America's military intervention in the Middle East. Others believe that Al-Qaida really carried out the attack, but that the Bush Administration allowed it to happen while not realizing the true magnitude of the terrorists plans.
I also am not going to pretend that anything I have written here will change the minds of those who support the Inside Job theory. The Truther I debated with at Liberal Avenger was not unlike Biblical Literalists who insist that the Bible is literally true no matter what counter-evidence one throws at them. I am merely laying out my reasons for not believing the Inside Job theory.
For those of you not familiar with the debate over the theory that 9/11 was an inside job, I invite you to explore the matter and come to your own conclusions. One web site for prominent advocates of the Inside Job theory is Loose Change, while a resource for counter-arguments against Loose Change can be found at, try not to laugh, Screw Loose Change.
Addendum: Here is an article I just read on the BBC web site about a study by a Cambridge University engineer who argues that "the residual capacity of the north and south towers was limited, and that once the collapse was set in motion, it would take only nine seconds for the building to go down."