Back in 1973-74 - the height of Watergate - there was a palpable sense of danger around DC. I was there for a short time in `73: believe me, that feeling was real. "Government by gunplay" was not out of the question. G. Gordon Liddy was plotting to "off" columnist Jack Anderson, and in turn later volunteered to "take one for the team," offering to allow himself to be snuffed on a capital street.
Later, Defense Secretary James Schlesinger issued an order to all field commanders: Don't carry out any orders from the White House without checking it with me first. Nixon was known to be increasingly erratic and desperate, and was apparently being watched closely by top aides and cabinet officers, including Schlesinger, White House Chief of Staff General Al Haig, and SecState Henry Kissinger.
Cornered animals are very dangerous.
Fast forward 33 years, and it's "deja vu all over again." He's not being impeached (God only knows why not!), but the Codpiece Kid has plunged as far as any President has ever fallen in approval polls. Knives are being sharpened up in Congress. The blackness of the Iraq nightmare is seeping finally into the White House itself. Those Prez'ninshul hairs grow whiter by the day. At his last press conference his eyes looked glazed, unfocused, his body language reminiscent of a character named "Lurch" from a long-ago TV series.
Navy task forces prowl the Persian Gulf, Iran on the horizon. Chertoff's gut says the bad guys are bound to misbehave again, sooner rather than later. All we hear on the TV news in danger, danger, danger.
Brian, Katie, and company are right: we are in danger. I don't think this country has ever been in more danger - and that includes the Cuban Missile Crisis. And from another 9/11, or worse.
That's why Fetzer's latest collection - and books/videos like it -- is badly needed right now, and why this book, or at least its message, deserves as wide a circulation as it can get.
It points to where the real source of all our danger lies. Or at least the greatest, most powerful source, and the one we are politically -- Constitutionally -- in the best position to do something about.
The unified thrust of all the articles in this volume is simple and direct: the official account of 9/11 just cannot be sustained. The three buildings at NY's World Trade Center were most likely brought down by pre-planned controlled demolitions; the Pentagon could not have been hit by a Boeing 757, hence was not hit by American Airlines Flight 77.
Who had the power to make these things happen? Such an operation clearly required the involvement of the highest levels of the US government. Reinforcing this inescapable explanation is the fact that "our highest elected officials took extraordinary steps to prevent any formal investigation of 9/11," and, when it was forced on them, did everything they could to subvert it. (Fetzer, "Thinking About Conspiracy Theories," p. 60.)
A powerful dose of "political truth" indeed, one that probably a majority of Americans are unwilling to swallow, no matter how disaffected from this government they may feel.
That's why this is such a dangerous time: like in that old song about love, we're looking for danger in all the wrong places.
But a few more comments about the book itself, before reverting to that topic:
Overall it's a solid collection of essays, maybe a little more uneven than Fetzer's earlier compilations on the JFK case (Assassination Science, Murder in Dealey Plaza, The Great Zapruder Film Hoax). Highlights:
-- Jack White's "9/11: A Photographic Portfolio. . ." is disappointingly brief (I was probably spoiled by having seen his Pentagon presentation). I like his clear, succinct captions and how they zero in on the main issues.
-- Judy Wood, "A Refutation of the Official Collapse Theory" is a short, well-illustrated, clearly understandable summary of why the "pancake" explanation of how WTC 1 and 2 fell just doesn't work. The fact that Wood lost her university job over her 9/11 work speaks volumes about the perilous state this country is in.
-- David Ray Griffin, "9/11: The Myth and the Reality" is first-rate, as is just about everything by the leading scholar on these issues.
- Peter Dale Scott, "JFK and 9/11" - just when you think you know where he's headed, Scott surprises you!
- On the other hand, Morgan Reynolds adds more heat than light; John McMurty contributes a long and insightful essay ("Explaining the Inexplicable: Anatomy of an Atrocity") that unfortunately suffers from his awkward writing style. It's a jolting experience, though, to read McMurty's listing of the stunning number of international treaties, protocols, conventions our government has unilaterally repudiated in recent years. We've basically thumbed our national nose at the rest of the world community on issues ranging from preventing genocide to landmines to the rights of children. The world's Lone Ranger, for sure!
But I think the best contribution is by the editor himself, Fetzer's "Thinking About Conspiracy Theories: 9/11 and JFK." In these thirty pages he offers a clear, forceful exposition of the way scientific methodology should work in cases like these.
Every critical reader or researcher should read and re-read what Fetzer has to say about the four stages of scientific reasoning, from puzzlement to speculation to adaptation to explanation - from that initial, confused moment of "How can this be?" to a satisfying connecting- of-all-the-dots (obeying the requirement of total evidence), reasoning by inference to the best explanation.
Fetzer reminds us that in science the expression "beyond a reasonable doubt" means that no alternative explanation is reasonable. Example: the official 9/11 story violates basic laws of physics and engineering. (p. 54) The government's account of the WTC "collapses" posits a physically impossible sequence of events whose probability is null (less than zero, because physically impossible; just as in the JFK case the single-bullet theory is physically impossible). On the other hand, based on scientifically sound measures of probability and likelihood, the alternative hypothesis of controlled demolition has been objectively established beyond a reasonable doubt. (56, 58.)
Infallible? Fixed in cement for all time? Hardly. Fetzer points out that conclusions in science are always tentative and fallible (contrary to a widespread misperception). Even so, "There is in fact no reasonable alternative to a fairly large-scale conspiracy in the death of our 35th President, which means that it has been established beyond a reasonable doubt." (51.)
Similarly, the government's own "conspiracy theory" regarding 9/11 is simply unsustainable - and this beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is strong, sound, forceful, important, stuff, rooted in strong, sound scientific/historical methodology.
Fetzer's explication of these principles is particularly welcome in view of the current all-out, near-hysterical assault on "conspiracy theorists" - JFK and 9/11 alike - by our cultural and political gatekeepers , determined as they are to keep us in fear and trembling in the face of all those dangers we need protection from. . .
. . . and in ignorance and denial about the clear and present danger right in our midst.