More on conspiracy

There are many mysterious things about September 11, but any would-be conspiracy theorist should be aware that certain things are highly unmysterious (and that regarding them as evidence for a conspiracy makes you look unhinged).

* US airline security was appalling before 9/11. Their are documented cases of people who managed to accidentally carry *guns* in their hand luggage, never mind small blades.

* The success rate of a air defence systems at spotting threats is not as high as people would like you to believe (this is why Star Wars is a stupid idea, among other things). If the air defence system’s controllers hadn’t been informed of a potential threat from hijacked airliners used as weapons, the threat might not even register at all.

* Flying a 767 or a 757 isn’t an easy job, but it’s not an enormously hard one – and the difficult bits are things like landing and flaps, not airside steering. Purely on the basis of my MS flight simulator experience, I managed to do some reasonably impressive-looking things in British Airways’ real 767 simulator a few years ago. The reason pilots train for a long time is because if you mess it up then everyone dies, so a 95% chance of success isn’t really acceptable. The terrorists appear not to be too worried about people dying.

* The WTC towers were specced to withstand a plane impact, but not to withstand a full planeload of kerosene setting them on fire. While passers-by didn’t think the towers would fall, experienced structural engineers did.

* The towers were also specced so that if they did ever fall due to external force, it would be in the form of a perfectly downward controlled-like demolition. This is the case for all new skyscrapers – everyone concerned really wants to avoid playing Manhattan dominoes.

* Liking strippers and drugs doesn’t stop you from being a crazy religious fundamentalist, as a cursory glance at various American TV evangelists might reveal.

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2 thoughts on “More on conspiracy

  1. The other slight flaw in the conspiracy theorists’ armoury is that until the second plane hit the WTC, no-one really knew what was going on – it was only after both towers were ablaze that it became obvious that it was down to terrorism.

    I worked in an office with CNN permanently on, so was privileged (if that’s the word) to be watching the story right from the start, and the initial rumour was that a light aircraft had accidentally flown into one of the towers.

    And even if people had twigged slightly earlier that it was a terrorist attack, who would have expected a second plane to hit the other tower before it actually did? And even if this had been predicted, what realistically could have been done in the time available?

  2. I’m not sure how much of a counter that is – a conspiracy theorist could rejoinder that they believed the CIA knew what was going on, even though the news channels and the New York authorities didn’t know.

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