Remember 9/11? Well, you see, it never happened Oregonian September 15, 2006 OpEd by Leonard Pitts, Jr. Write to him at: firstname.lastname@example.org Write to the Oregonian at: email@example.com Note from Ginny: Friends, Leonard Pitts' oped below so juvenile and insipid on so many levels, it is hard to know where to begin. But begin we must. We need to demand the Oregonian end this appalling propaganda campaign to distort and ridicule the debate. We must abhor and assail the use of such purposely incendiary and irresponsible headlines. And we must respond to Mr. Pitts' lobotomizing illogic with a floodtide of truth. Please provide your comments below or write directly to the Oregonian and L. Pitts and share your letter in a comment to this post. We all must reply, politely, intelligently and with the truth on our side. Notice how this is a "projective" piece by Pitts. Everything he accuses the movement of doing, he himself is guilty of ("rote rejection" "throwing the baby out with the bath water" "honest debate nearly impossible"). He then makes bald-faced and ridiculous leaps of logic equating the asking of real questions about 9/11 with adopting lunatic theories not supported by any honest researcher in the movement. This is called using "straw man" argument to create an emotional response. We need to expose and deride this tactic whenever it appears. The most heinous violation of logic in Pitts' piece, imho, is the subtle attempt to equate fact-based skepiticism of the official story with denial that the calamities of 9/11 ever took place. The purpose of this strategy is to anger people against the Truth movement, isolate us, and equate us with holocaust deniers or some such nonsense. This is the key absurdity of his piece and the best avenue to expose it for the farcical, infantile disinformation slop that it is. And be sure to mention the Zogby poll, too.
"I beg your pardon.
Apparently I made an error of fact in a recent column. It turns out, contrary to what I wrote that there never was a Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States. It wasn't hijacked airliners that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Nor did any airplane plow into the Pentagon. Nor did United Flight 93 come to earth in a field in Shanksville, PA.
Rather this tragedy was staged by the U.S. government in order to dupe the nation into an oil war in the Middle East. Or at least, so I am told by a surprising plurality of readers. Add to that Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela and renowned loosed cannon, who said in a speech Tuesday the U.S. Government possibly had a hand in attacking itself on Sept. 11.
Of course the U.S. government possibly doesn't even exist, that it and we and Chavez himself are only figments of the imagination of a little autistic boy staring into a snow globe.
Possible, but not bloody likely.
I don't propose to spend time debating whether Sept. unfolded as the official record says it did. If eywitness acounts ("I happened to look up and I saw this airplane not mor than 50 feet up coming right at us," Alan Wallace, a witness at the Pentagon, told the Washington Post), cockpit voice recordings ("Please, please don't hurt me", a voce on United Flight 93 pleads, ) cell-phone calls (passenger Thomas Burnett
told his wife, "I know we're all going to die...I love you, honey" and common sense (if the planes wer not cashed, hat happened to them and their passengers?) are not enough to make the case, I can't imagine what would.
No, I only bring this up because of what it says about our growing tendency to embrace separate but unequal facts en rout to separate but unequal truths. You might call it cynicysm, but cynicism is quaint and 20th century compaired to this new tendency to reflexively reject any facts provided by government or the dreaded mainstream media.
Conspiracy thoerizing is not new -- ask Elvis next time you see him -- but what is new is that the Internet has broken the government/media monopoly on the dissemination and definition of news.
While that's good in many ways, one troubling by product is this new notion that you cannot truly unerstand the great and terrible events of our time without access to some "factier" facts promugated by some Web site most of us never heard of, with an ideological slant that conveniently mirror's one's own.
Granted, government lies sometimes and conspires somtimes, and media fail sometimes to be energetic watchdogs. So, certainly people have a right -- a duty --- to be skeptical of both.
This, however, isn't skepticism. It's rote rejection, baby tossed out with the bath water. Once upon a time, we all drew from the same body of fact. We may have constructed different truths, but they were all based on commonly accepted facts. We all knew, for instance that the shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986. From that, we could debate what the tragedy meant, and we might or might not reach consensus. But as long as no on argued that it was really destroyed by aliens, we at least
had the same frame of reference.
No longer, as the question of whether there was really a terrorist attack Sept. 11 make abundantly clear. So honest debate becomes nearly impossible, and consensus even more so. I mean you may think a wall looks best in yellow, I may think it looks best in red. But if we can't agree on what yellow and red are, or what a wall is, we have no basis for even arguing about it.
If you doubt that, ask yourself: When was the last time you had a political debate that was fruitful as opposed to merely loud?
Don't feel bad. I can't remember one myself."