Saturday, November 24, 2007

9/11 conspiracy poll

Well, this is rather interesting:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government had warnings about 9/11 but decided to ignore them, a national survey found.
The poll was run by Scripps-Howard with help from Ohio University. A similar poll conducted last year found 'only' 36 percent believing that government officials allowed the attacks or ignored warnings. Wonder where these polls were in the 90s asking whether the 1993 WTC attack or the Oklahoma City bombing were inside jobs?

Anyway, are 2/3rds of Americans really troofers or were the poll questions just worded funky? Hard to say, since we don't yet have the actual questions or the age distribution of the poll respondents. The Post described it thusly:
Sixty-two percent of those polled thought it was "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that federal officials turned a blind eye to specific warnings of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Emphasis added. If indeed the poll question said "specific warnings" then 2 out of every 3 people are in the least uninformed and at worst dumbasses. There were no specific warnings about the attack.

There was a heightened level of chatter through summer 2001 (something that anyone working around aviation can attest to) but nothing specific enough to allow for direct mitigation. This is largely a 20/20 hindsight thing--browse the NTSB accident database and you'll see story after story where crashes occurred despite adequate foresight. Human beings are prone to such things.

Hard to say whether people answered thinking 'ignored warnings' simply meant incompetence, not complicity, but the key here seems to be the large increase over last year, all things being equal. Here's my free WAG on what it might mean.

Ron Paul has wild support among younger voters, who recently raised an astounding amount of cash for him online. He's been doing a hamster dance around the edges of trutherville for several years now. The net itself is replete with sites containing not only theories, but claims of unambiguous truth about 9/11 being an inside job. We've also seen a handful of celebrities 'come out', like Rosie, who proclaimed her trutherism, complete with their web site addresses given on mainstream TV.

The Bush component is a no-brainer--during the past year we've seen several high profile administration buddies fleeing the White House amidst the Libby scandal coming home to roost. This only fuels the "Bush lied" meme, especially since the man himself will not do justice by publicly dispelling it (and isn't likely to anytime soon). Of course that's part of the conspiracy. Then again, if he came out and strongly denied everything it would also be part of the conspiracy.

In defense of conspiracy theorists we've all seen declassified documents emerge after countless decades only to that suggest that hey, the government indeed does cover up things at times. Many are also sure they've seen UFOs, and Ruby's assassination of Oswald was pretty convenient. I've explored the TWA 800 case here on many occasions. And consider that Americans were not told at the time that Samuel Byck's motive for his attempted hijacking of a Delta DC-9 from BWI airport in 1974 was to crash the plane into the White House and kill Nixon. In Woodward's first book, Bush was quoted as saying he would be honest with the public, but not "brutally" honest about the specific nature of certain threats.

But while it's one thing to believe the feds are covering stuff up for our own good it's quite another to have 62 percent actually believe the government is working against us. If that number is correct it doesn't bode well for the future of the country should we get attacked again (or shall we say, when).

More specifically, it can be said that America is suffering from her own success in counterterrorism these past six years. The lack of attacks since 9/11 has produced in some the notion it was only an isolated incident. Such fantasy plays directly into the hands of those who would blow us up. If the bad guys were to reasonably believe another attack wouldn't bring us together but rather continue to fracture us as a nation, with 60 percent immediately blaming our own government for any new attacks, well, to use a basketball term, it's a free throw.

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