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Archive for September 13th, 2012

Wouldn’t it be something if 9/11 were part of this fall’s presidential campaign? I agree: the partisanship wouldn’t be pretty. If I had lost a family member that day, I can’t say I would want to see a controversy like that come up. Yet it would be healthy for all of us to see that we could talk about the subject in public.

Here’s the current state of the argument, based on David Ray Griffin’s books as well as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.  They would agree on these points: (1) the evidence we have demonstrates that government’s account of 9/11 is false; (2) current evidence is insufficient to give a full account of what actually did happen on 9/11; (3) therefore, we need a new investigation. Not one of these points is particularly controversial. Even the first one becomes matter of fact after you become acquainted with Griffin’s work.

Read one chapter in one of Griffin’s books. You will think, “He has a sure grasp of his logical and evidentiary tools, like a skilled attorney. I would not want to face this gentleman in a courtroom!” He handles evidence so well, so methodically and with such intelligence, that defenders of the official account appear careless, thoughtless, feckless or malicious – take your pick. By comparison with Griffin’s own thoroughness, his opponents have neither intelligence nor skill to accomplish the fraud he uncovers, but accomplish it they do. They radiate such self-assurance about their excuses and evasions that their lies seem reasonable until Griffin picks them apart. Honestly, it’s one of the best illustrations of Socratic inquiry I’ve seen. Griffin is a philosopher as well as a theologian, and his training shows.

Griffin doesn’t go against only weak opponents, either. Cass Sunstein is a capable legal philosopher out of the University of Chicago, and Griffin makes him look foolish. To his credit, Griffin doesn’t try to make Sunstein look that way, but what do you do when you encounter a weak, even reprehensible argument that deserves rebuttal? Socrates’ opponents charged him with making the stronger argument look weak, and the weaker argument look strong. His skill in argumentation so exasperated his opponents that they cooked up an additional charge about corrupting youth, convicted him, and put him to death: all because Socrates made them look foolish. I wonder how Sunstein felt when he read Griffin’s rebuttal? 

I don’t want to take this post in that direction, though. For now, let me point to Griffin’s book on Sunstein and leave off the discussion for now. The title is Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory.

My main object in this post is to consider the implications of point three: the need for a new investigation. Griffin, architects and engineers who agree with him, and many others have advocated research that accounts for all evidence related to 9/11. That would include what happened before that day, an account of the day itself, as well as what happened after the towers and WTC 7 fell. In short, they want an impartial examination of evidence that tries to uncover what actually happened on 9/11. How did nearly three thousand citizens die that day?

Griffin is clear as well about who should conduct the investigation: Congress or the press. The executive branch had its chance with the 9/11 Commission and failed. The Commission’s report felt like its infamous predecessor, the Warren Commission report: long, laughably inaccurate and incomplete, and insufficient. The 9/11 truth movement wants a report that does justice both to the evidence and to the truth. A board of inquiry appointed by Congress would have the independence, resources, skills, and motives to investigate 9/11 properly. In good faith, professional journalists would bring the same qualities to investigations they conduct. Either institution – or the two working along parallel tracks and in their own ways – could produce work superior to the report the 9/11 Commission produced.

That is the reasoning behind the appeal, I believe. I disagree with the reasoning, but I have to explain why another time. For now let me say, the only people who can produce good research about 9/11 are independent researchers who have already undertaken it. They need encouragement, support, and new recruits to continue this essential work. Just as important, we ought to keep demanding that government release information about 9/11 that it guards so closely. Government officials know instinctively that their authority will evaporate if they resist these demands indefinitely. Meantime, independent researchers have to keep at their work. They’re the only ones with integrity, skill, and motivation to succeed.

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