Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A really crazy 9-11 conspiracy theory

Paul Campos sez:

The respectable version - the version that was more or less accepted by all Very Serious People at the time of the invasion of Iraq - goes like this: The 9/11 attacks were merely an early strike in a war against the United States. This war is being carried out by something called Radical Islam, of which the al-Qaida terrorist network is only one small branch.

Radical Islam is a global conspiracy, made up of a significant minority of the world's more than 1 billion Muslims. It includes the governments of nations like Iran and Syria, and one of its key supporters was Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime.

The goal of Radical Islam is world domination through the creation of a global caliphate, which requires, among other things, the complete destruction of the United States and the conversion of our surviving population to the most extreme form of Islamic fundamentalism, as practiced in nations such as Saudi Arabia.

Iraq had to be invaded because Saddam Hussein was trying to build atomic weapons - weapons that he might well give to terrorist groups that were his allies in Radical Islam's quest to destroy America.

This, I repeat, was (and to a significant extent still is), the respectable interpretation of the meaning of 9/11. When anyone questioned the evidence for this view, Very Serious Politicians like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would say things like "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Meanwhile, Very Serious Opinion Makers like Charles Krauthammer of The Washington Post argued (and continue to argue) that America must also go to war against Iran because we could wake up one day to the news that nuclear weapons have been detonated in several American cities, by order of suicidal mullahs who turned over their soon-to-be- acquired nuclear arsenal to the vast shadowy global jihadist network.

That the respectable interpretation of 9/11 remains respectable in so many important places should not obscure the fact that it is a paranoid fantasy of the first order - one as utterly unhinged from reality as the most extravagant imaginings of the 9/11 Truthers.

It's easy to lose sight of this because while the 9/11 Truthers remain quarantined on obscure Web sites, the paranoid conspiracy theorists currently in charge of American foreign policy continue to appear regularly on network television and on the opinion pages of our leading newspapers.

There, they make crazy arguments, such as that denying the president the right to throw people in prison for the rest of their lives without ever having to explain why exposes our nation to the risk of annihilation by terrorists. Meanwhile, almost nobody ever points out that these arguments are actually insane.

And that's the real truth about 9/11.

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