I don't understand the level of credulity among the American people. It seems like every ten years or so, some event of national significance always gets credited to a vast, evil conspiracy. The Moon landing was a hoax, the government killed Kennedy, the CIA created HIV to kill black people. These days, it's all about 9/11 and how it wasn't really perpetuated by Al Queso, but rather by the government, or the CIA, or the Jews. Some say the Towers weren't brought down by planes at all, but by by missiles protected with hologram generators.
Yesterday, Washington Journal had Charles Allen, a (the?) Homeland Security Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence on. (The program is here, and you'll have to scroll down to the correct link; sorry, no permalinks. He starts about 2:00 into the full program, the first call is about 4 minutes in.) I just happened to come across this by chance. He seems fairly reasonable on the investigation of terror groups and talked a bit on how and why people become extremists. One caller asked about the search policies of container vessels, which is a legitimate issue and something we should be having a discussion about.
Allen talked briefly, then the show took about a dozen calls. It must have been Crazy Person Day, because the very first caller, a grandmotherly-sounding woman from Virginia, wanted to know why no one follows up the "Zionist connection" to 9/11, how they were "dancing on top of their cars" as the buildings fell, and how they had cased the buildings to plant explosives.
It was also two-for-one Crazy Person Day. A later caller from Las Vegas claimed the 9/11 attacks were a "false flag operation" in order to goad the US into war. This is the bit of what he said that steamed my broccoli:
Why don't you address what a lot of the people of the country think, that this is an inside job and your investigation, the 9/11 investigation, did investigate up to the point that the building was hit, but how did the building come down because physically, a lot of physicists says it's impossible, your pancake theory doesn't work, it was a free fall, that's a demolition job.
First of all, I'd like to meet these physicists that say a building collapsing is "impossible." Secondly, how do these people thing demolition works? You collapse some of the supporting beams and let the building fall down under the force of gravity. The planes hit WTC1 and WTC2 at about the 95th floor and the 80th floor, respectively. That means that once supporting beams gave way, the equivalent of either a 15- or 30-story building was dropped onto the rest of the tower. It would have been miraculous if the buildings didn't collapse after that.
Last week, a California highway collapsed after a tanker truck caught fire under it. The construction of the highway was probably mostly concrete and steel, much like the Towers. A picture is here, pretty impressive stuff. The tanker truck was carrying a lousy 8000 gallons. Each plane that hit the WTC was carrying the equivalent about one and a quarter tanker trucks full of fuel. Is it really such a stretch that that could have catastrophically damaged the building?
About one in six Americans believe the Towers were brought down by explosives, rather than by the planes. More than one in three believes the US was either complicit in the attacks or knew about them and did nothing. All without any evidence or explanation. Those are numbers I find very frightening.