2006.09.21 Stupidity Theory
This was published on Sept. 21, 2006 at 911blogger.com.
The two most frequent responses to the idea that the Bush administration orchestrated 9/11 are that 1) they wouldn't do anything so horrible to their own people, and 2) they are too stupid to do so even if they wanted to. 1) has been dealt with adequately elsewhere, most prominently by David Ray Griffin in all three of his books on 9/11, so suffice it to say here that precisely such horrible things have indeed been done before, often enough and with enough historical certainty that to claim it would not happen again is simply wishful thinking.
2) deserves more scrutiny, particularly now that we have a certifiably stupid president (though no exception, after Reagan) who fits perfectly into this scenario. With an obviously stupid man in the lead role, everyone else is more easily seen as equally stupid.
For example, on Sept. 10 an anonymous reader posted this response to Part 1 (see above) of this article on bellaciao.org:
OK, let’s see now, the Administration that couldn’t coordinate hurricane relief, royally screwed up a prescription drug plan, didn’t come close to providing a new social security scheme, never planned well for the "war on terror," couldn’t negotiate successfully with Turkey for a northern corridor into Iraq, bought Chalabi’s load of crap, already lost in Iraq, couldn’t provide tactical support or the appropriate weaponry for the Israeli attack on Lebanon, is lost when it comes to immigration policy, couldn’t figure out how to run Homeland Security, has experienced countless defections from within, is run by a leader who just recently learned how to pronounce nuclear, was forced to plant false intel and "journalism," which the FCC is now cracking down on, has narrowly avoided another NASA catastrophe, abrogated civil rights yet accrues virtually no worthwhile intelligence, isolates traditional allies, marginalizes the U.N., helped bring down every foreign leader, including Blair, who supported it, has been unable to hide its own political corruption, nominated a Supreme Court candidate its own party blasted, put the U.S. in deeper debt than it has ever been in, is unable to talk with other nations such as N. Korea because of a basic lack of diplomatic skills, has isolated many military generals who’ve repeatedly demanded Rumsfeld’s resignation, systematically ignores critical analysis coming out of the CIA and the military, introduces a color code for alerts that became a national joke, can’t figure out how to provide sufficient protection to U.S. troops who are first forced to make their own and then are penalized for doing so, are unable to successfully prosecute Gitmo detainees for lack of evidence, was, somehow, amazingly, MIRACULOUSLY, able to coordinate a complex series of attacks that required months of tight-lipped planning, with utter perfection, and not one individual out of what must be hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals involved in such a plot spills the beans and offers real evidence.
What are we left with? Fuzzy tapes of the Pentagon and the crash in PA that are far from conclusive. Is it possible, even likely that Flight 93 was shot down by the USAF? Perhaps. And, arguably, there were sufficient grounds for doing so. If the government’s lying about that it’s not because of some Big Brother conspiracy; quite the contrary. They’re covering it up because they’re too afraid of public condemnation and, of course, losing their jobs. If that happened, however, there’s no A = B, no: they shot the plane down so "they" brought the buildings down.
Granted the Pentagon situation is suspicious. But in retrospect, was that hit necessary as a Pearl Harbor type of event to prompt the "war on terror"? No. The New York hits were sufficient on their own to merit a warlike response. Why go to such extremes? It doesn’t make sense since this Administration has consistently demonstrated a minimalistic approach to government in every task it does. And as far as the Twin Towers, no one can conclusively prove they were brought down by anything other than the planes that hit them.
But let’s say, Big Brother did all these things conspiratorialists are claiming. They were aided by the hijackers themselves who did get on those planes with the intent to terrorize. There’s no doubt about that. The loss of life and the incipient fear that pervaded the country are genuine tragedies regardless of what or who caused them. But the absurd "war on terror," the prospects for an attack on Iran and the lack of respect for diplomacy and U.S. allies are producing far worse consequences than 9/11. The neocons were and are desperate to hold power. Could they have resorted to such tactics? Maybe. But if what they’re now doing to the world is not stopped soon, the consequences are going to make 9/11 look like a picnic. Why don’t we concentrate on that rather than being obsessed about uncovering a grand conspiracy that would, if real, represent the only project the Adminsitration has so far completed successfully.
I replied (Sept. 12):
This is the "stupidity" argument that is always raised against any sort of "conspiracy" theory. By the way, we have a Dept. of Conspiracy embedded in the US government, parallel to similar institutions in all governments, called (used to be anyway) the "Dept. of Operations" (CIA). There more than two people plan bad (illegal) stuff on a regular basis. That is the legal definition of conspiracy. All governments are therefore in part at least institutionalized conspiracies.
The fact that this institution (whatever part of it was involved directly) was able to do something spectacular does not mean they can or care about doing other things "right." Did they ever want to actually "win" the Vietnam war, for example? Of course not. Other factors are involved. Creating a spending hole for the warmongers, for example.
The simplest answer to this whole argument, though, I mentioned in my piece, which is that if a caveman and 19 helpers could do it, "even" the Bush administration could do it. It is absurd to claim otherwise.
Whereupon this rejoinder (13 Sept.), perhaps from the same person, although I don't know:
Is that Department of Operations you refer to the same one that tried for about 20 years to kill Castro with exploding cigars and tainted brandy? Or, for that matter, is it the same one that decided to back Castro because they couldn’t figure out what his true allegiances were? Is it the same Dept. that in part was responsible for bringing a bible to Iran to appease the fundamentalists after their boy, the Shah, was deposed? Is it the same group that sent Oliver North to Nicaragua to fight a few hundred communistas who had absolutely no chance of succeeding on their own? Is this, perhaps, the group that decided establishing dictatorships throughout Central and South America would be in the best interests of America? That’s really worked out well, huh?
Is this the same group, maybe, that has so successfully fought the "war on drugs"? Is this the group whose mighty intelligence gathering helped finally bust that international threat - the one they had backed for years - Noriega? Is this the group that seeded the Afghan resistance movement, out of which grew bin Laden’s ragtag "terrorists"? Did this same said group rubber stamped the shipment of chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein to fight Iran - a far weaker force that could’ve been defeated with foot soldiers? Is this the same group that couldn’t ascertain that Hussein was about to attack Kuwait much before Hussein told the State Dept.? And was subsequently unable to assert or negate the existence of WMDs in Iraq 2002?
The litany, as you know, is far longer than space provides for here. How is it that the CIA is so far superior to every branch of this inept govt.? How is it you’ve come to believe they’re not afflicted with the same "stupidity" that rules the entire fed. gov.? As much as you may think you know, you’d best be served by hitting the history books again and readjusting your conspiratorial radar to match reality.
My response (18 Sept.):
Thanks for that thorough rehash of the stupidity theory. This is very similar to the current government-mass media promulgated theory that the military could not possibly have stood down on 9/11 because everybody involved, in the military and at the FAA, was just too damn stupid to do the things they are trained to do and do as a matter of routine at least 100 times a year (except on 9/11/01).
You are probably right that most things Big Brother does are conspicuously stupid, but then, it has to be that way, doesn’t it, or there would be no absolving stupidity theory.
Note, however, that regardless of how stupid the execution of the crimes and the cover-up are, if he wants to get away with it, he does (9/11 is a good example).
Which leads us to the obvious conclusion that this is not a question of rocket science. It is a question of who’s got the bigger stick.
Another case in point is the recently released NORAD tapes. Both the Vanity Fair article (http://www.vanityfair.com/pdf/pressroom/advance_Air_Force_9-11.pdf ) and David Griffin's fine analysis of same (http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=2006091418303369 and http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20060914191232454) are so detailed and complex as to make for agonizing reading, but let us skip to his conclusion:
"The new story is hence best seen as the military’s replacement of its old story, which did not fully get it off the hook, with its new story, which does.
"Seen in this light, the now established fact that the military has lied about 9/11 has a perhaps unforeseen implication--that there is no good reason to take the military’s new story on faith. For if the military was lying to us between 2001 and 2004, we have no basis for trusting what it says now. To appreciate this point, it is important to get the logic of the situation right. The truth of the new story would imply the falsity of the old story. But the falsity of the old story would not imply the truth of the new story: they could both be false. And if the previous story, which only partly absolved the military from suspicion, was a lie, should we not suspect that the new story, which fully absolves it, is also a lie? [my emphasis]
"This implication will not be seen, to be sure, as long as one accepts the narrative promulgated by the 9/11 Commission and repeated by the Times--that the military had to be “forced” to tell this story, to its great embarrassment, by the 9/11 Commission. But once we see that this is the military’s new story, which it used the 9/11 Commission to tell (albeit perhaps with some coaching from this Zelikow-led body), then we have reason not to accept this new tale without examining its inherent plausibility, its conflict with prior reports, and the possibility of fraudulently produced tapes.
"And when this tale is examined with those questions in mind, I have suggested, there are many reasons to consider it a lie."
As Griffin says, the received truth universally accepted by the mass media is, and most likely will remain, that the tapes are authentic, and (as the Vanity Fair article also suggests) the military lied in their previous stories. Griffin's argument (a convincing one) is that they are also lying now.
However, we can simplify. The bottom line here, again, exonerating the government is the Stupidity Theory. How did it happen? How did 19 Arabs with boxcutters, directed by an Afghan caveman, penetrate the multi-billion-dollar U.S. national air defense system and strike deadly blows at the heart of the defense establishment in Washington and the financial center in New York?
The answer: Stupidity. Confusion. Incompetence. Whether it was NEADS or the FAA hardly matters. Just as various agencies "failed" to foresee and prevent the attacks ("connect the dots"), now we are supposed to believe that the national air defense system failed because of "confusion."
To add insult to injury, no one responsible for the failure of the government to do its most important job, which is to protect its citizens, was fired, or even criticized--much less impeached, which is what should have happened to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Contrast this with the Soviet reaction when a German teenager, Mathias Rust (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athena_Rust), landed on a bridge close to Red Square in 1987. Gorbachev fired the defense minister, anti-air defense commander, and more than 2,000 other officers.
So regardless of who was lying when or whether they were lying or just stupid ("failed to connect the dots"), the Bush-Cheney government failed in the most spectacular way it possibly could (short of, say, nuclear holocaust, which may be next) on 9/11. We don't even need the argument that they did it on purpose. "Stupidity" does not work. It might have worked in many of the cases my interlocutor(s) above suggest, but 9/11 is completely inexcusable.
With this perspective, let us return to our point of departure, which is Big Brother's (I mean Time's) division of reality into two worlds: world no. 1 of official conspiracy theory (Bin Laden and his cohorts did it) and world no. 2 of outrageous (to use GWB's word) conspiracy theory (Bush et al. did it). Time, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox etc. all live in world no. 1, of course, and we are compelled to apply the stupidity theory to them too, since none of them, not a single one, has dared to raise the obvious argument that I have just made, which is that a government stupid enough to be successfully attacked as it was on 9/11 should be thrown out on its ass (as a first step).
It is interesting, and instructive, to use this crucial example of stupidity, the (supposed) failure of the national air defense system, to test the plausibility of the more schizophrenic views of reality that abound within world no. 2, whereby virtually everyone is suspected of being the source of evil--from Noam Chomsky, in cahoots with John Deutch and a teachers pension fund and French industrialists (David Hawkins http://video.google.pl/videoplay?docid=-6384022783235737393&hl=pl), to mysterious "elements" either within the US government itself or connected with Illuminati, Freemasons, Bilderbergers, Zionists, international bankers, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the CIA, Mossad, Opus Dei--in short, as Kyle Hence succinctly puts it (see Part 1), some mysterious constellation of conspirators within the "gargantuan, byzantine government and global military-industrial-intelligence complex."
We need only ask ourselves how these hugely complex and mysterious forces managed to create the "confusion" at NEADS and the FAA to see how absurd and far-fetched they are. Such theories of purposely induced confusion are even more implausible than the idea that there was confusion in the first place, which is implausible enough, thus adding implausibility to implausibility.
Let us not fail to see the main point, which is that all of these schizophrenic Mysterious Evil Forces theories end up in exactly the same place as the Stupidity theories: the government is innocent. They are either Good Guys that make mistakes (Stupidity), or Good Guys controlled by mysterious Bad Guys (Mysterious Evil Forces). In either case, the remedy would be simple if this were a world of reason: throw the bums out. Who wants incompetents or puppets running the government?
But these two points of view both belong to world no. 1, which is not the world of reason. In world no. 2, which is, the Good Guys are the Bad Guys. Simple as that. It is still a world of kings and slaves, as it has always been. What makes it complicated now is that so many of us (though the number is decreasing) don't know it, and don't want to know it, preferring illusion (world no. 1) to reality (world no. 2).