on so called "conspiracy theories"
Obviously there are some theories out there which are born of hear-say, conjecture, misinformation, and ignorance.
Others have not really been addressed in any serious way - and probably could not be.
The people who object to them, (Popular Mechanics, John McCain, 9/11myths.com) tend to point out the reasons why such and such could have physically happened the way the official version says it did, or why such and such theory is impossible.
They then also say something along the lines of it being both unscientific and and detrimental to America to suggest such things.
But how it happened is not the point, and never was.
Never mind that they were supposedly unable to find any of 4 blackboxes at the WTC center site (which are specifically designed to withstand a crash - that is the entire point of their existence - and give of a signal to aid in their recovery) but they were able to find a passport made of paper within hours - which happened to belong to one of the "terrorists"; it could happen.
Never mind that the damage to the pentagon was substantially smaller than the size of the plane which was supposed to have hit it, and that there was no sign of pieces of wing, engine or other plane parts visible anywhere on the site (or that video of the event was confiscated, or that it just happened to hit the one wing of the building which had just been reinforced and was largely empty due to the renovation), perhaps the engines vaporized but the fuselage punched through, could happen.
Never mind that WTC 7 (which housed the FBI, CIA, and SEC - including the files on prosecuting Enron and dozens of other corrupt corporations) collapsed entirely due to fire and being hit with falling debris - unlike WTC 3, 4, 5, 6 and every other building in the area - which is unprecedented in all the rest of history. That too could be a coincidence.
If every thing physically happened exactly the way the official version says, that does not in anyway make it less likely Americans - and specifically the government - was directly involved.
If they were, we would likely never know.
They certainly had a lot to gain from it, much more than the Islamists did.
It would not have taken much.
Say 1/10 the members of the PNAC ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PNAC , http://www.newamericancentury.org/ ), 5 high level, trusted CIA agents, and 2 or three trusted Saudi Arabians, Bin Ladens perhaps. The PNAC is the primary think tank of the neocon movement, and includes people who have held high government positions for the past half century and other rich and powerful people, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, Richard Armitage, Dan Quayle, and Steve Forbes.
They plan what the targets should be, maximum effect, minimum actual damage, and believable. Something symbolic, but not catastrophic. A military target to justify a military response, and plenty of civilian deaths to get the American people agitated. They provide limited cash, but that's it, for fear of ever being caught. Mostly what they would have provided was the idea, what to do, how to do it. They would have wanted clues planted well in advance - for example, having the volunteers train at a US flight school, when they could just as easily trained in their own country. They might have made sure to set up certain training exercises, certain security camera angles, stuff which could seem perfectly innocent, but which would help make it easier to carry out, and easier to know who to blame. Bin Laden's original idea was to hit some 10-20 targets at once, on both coasts, but they would have shot that idea down, because they wanted to limit the actual damage. Then, through the Arab contacts, they found some people looking to martyr themselves. The actual hijackers have no idea that they are actually enacting a plan partially developed by and for the US leadership, they feel they are doing Gods work by killing thousands of corrupt infidels. And the end result is the Islamists are able to up their recruiting a million percent, and the PNAC gets almost absolute power and one step closer to their stated goal of world domination.
Their principals (emphasis mine):
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.
They spelled out in better detail how to achieve this in a report they released in 2000: (http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf )
"while the unresolved conflict in Iraq provides the immediate justification [for US military presence], the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein"
"Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region".
"...advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool"
"...the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor."
This last one is most telling, since there is strong evidence that the US government, including possibly President Roosevelt, knew that the Japanese were planning the attack, and deliberately failed to warn the base because a surprise attack would better appal the American people and build their support for the war.
( http://www.thenewamerican.com/departments/feature/1999/070499.htm http://www.fff.org/freedom/1291c.asp http://www.independent.org/events/transcript.asp?eventID=28 )
Had someone suggested in 1972 that the president of the United States personally knew about and authorized secret agents to literally break into his political opponents hotel room in order to find information to be used against him in the coming campaign, most ordinary people would have called them a "conspiracy theorist". But they would have been right. Had some one suggested that the US government sent CIA officials to assassinate the democratically elected rulers of socialist South American countries, or that the administration was making arms trade deals with Iran to fund insurgents in a democratic society, they would be labeled a "conspiracy theorist". But these things happened. There is this stigma attached to the word "conspiracy" as though it belief in one automatically makes them insane or at least without credibility. But the fact remains that conspiracies exist. A conspiracy is just a group of people getting together to discuss the details of a crime. The rich and powerful commit crime just as often as anyone else. And often times they work together. Watergate, the Iran-Contra affair, and CIA support of military coups against the democratically elected governments in Chile, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, including the murder of their leaders, as well as the many unsuccessful attempts to do the same in Cuba, were all conspiracies. The only reason some ideas are conspiracy "theories" is because insufficient evidence exists to prove them. Which you would expect, if the conspirators had covered their tracks well.
We know these things happened, and yet, being so long ago (20 years?) we conclude they are no longer relevant, and choose to continue to believe that something like that could never happen.
What is important is not proving whether or not the official version of 9/11 - physically - is accurate. To say that one should never question the purity of the American government is to insure that if they ever tried to do something like that, they would succeed. Indeed, if they were in anyway involved, the best way to prevent any real investigation, to prevent being questioned, is to accuse anyone who doubts them of being unpatriotic. This is exactly what Pop Mec and McCain have said (and I used to really like him). This is what millions of American citizens think to themselves. This is what we are up against. That is the major element which 1984 failed to fully address - the strength of internalization of patriotism, the support for a leader - any leader. The government does not need to have a two way screen in your living room TV so long as your neighbors will report unAmerican activity. Reporting unattended bags may be just the first step. Of course, doesn't hurt to watch us as well. The British government is planning to use their extensive network of public cameras to track the trips of every vehicle in the country. I doubt the computer power to do that exists, but it certainly will soon.
This should be an interesting next few decades, if nothing else.