On PointVincent Carroll, editor of the editorial pages, writes his On Point column most weekdays. He is also an author and freelance writer. Reach Vincent Carroll at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
Carroll: A baleful influence
Howard Zinn may be the most influential left-wing intellectual in America. If not, he certainly gives Noam Chomsky a run for his money given the remarkable reach of Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, a staple on numerous reading lists for high school and college courses (including one in which my daughter is now enrolled).
Maybe some of those professors and teachers will want to reassess their infatuation with the Marxist Zinn now that he has penned a blurb for a new book by a leader of the “9/11 truth movement” — those fickle folks who refuse to believe that al-Qaida brought down the Twin Towers.
“I believe that David Ray Griffin’s provocative questions about 9/11 deserve to be investigated and addressed,” Zinn writes on the back of Griffin’s Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory. (Members of the “truth movement” helpfully keep me stocked with their latest salvos in case my resistance to paranoid fables happens to dissolve.)
In case you couldn’t guess, the “official conspiracy theory” mocked in Griffin’s book is the idea that hijacked planes brought down the towers, smashed into the Pentagon and crashed in a Pennsylvania field. The “truth movement” thinks it knows better than to accept this straightforward version of history. “The evidence that 9/11 was an inside job is overwhelming,” Griffin declares.
Your government pulled off the equivalent of a Pearl Harbor attack on its own people, you see, and has been engaged in a cover-up ever since, abetted by a compliant and corrupt press.
Will this theory someday worm its way into the best-selling People’s History, too? The 2003 hardback edition still accepts the hijackers as 9/11’s culprits. But since Zinn seems to blame the United States for most of the world’s maladies anyway, he might as well point the finger at it for 9/11, too.
And a gullible populace
Then again, maybe a People’s History that declared 9/11 an “inside job” would actually sell better than the previous editions, given the increasing tendency of Americans to consider their elected leaders murderous criminals.
As hard as it is to believe — hard for me, anyway — a recent Rasmussen Reports survey found that “Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent of Democrats believe he did know, 39 percent say he did not know, and 26 percent are not sure. ...”
“Overall, 22 percent of all voters believe the president knew about the attacks in advance. ... Young Americans are more likely than their elders to believe the president or the CIA knew about the attacks in advance.”
Of course young people are more likely to believe such claptrap: They’ve spent more time in the poisonous company of authors such as Zinn.
Krugman, not Bunyan
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman has fearlessly confronted the latest horror of modern life, and lived to tell the tale.
“Yesterday I did something risky,” Krugman wrote this week. “I ate a salad.
“These are anxious days at the lunch table. For all you know, there may be E. coli on your spinach, salmonella in your peanut butter and melamine in your pet’s food and, because it was in the feed, in your chicken sandwich.”
It is not yet known whether Krugman plans to devote future columns to congratulating himself for his death-defying willingness to drive a car and ride an escalator, but in an age so bereft of heroes, one can only pray that this 21st century dragon slayer continues with stories to inspire us all.
Vincent Carroll is editor of the editorial pages. Reach him at carrollv@RockyMountain
Actually, young people are less likely to believe claptrap. They are not married to the lies of the older generation.
Have you read and considered any of the information you so easily dismiss?
Take a look at Griffin's new book "Debunking 9/11 Debunking", and then try STJ911.com or Journalof911Studies.com
It really won't kill you to let go of your fears for a short while.Posted by Kevin Ryan on May 22, 2007 06:43 AM
Also, check out the Senior Military, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, Government Officials, Professors, 9-11 Survivors and Family Members who have expressed significant criticism of the 9-11 Commission Report and/or allege government complicity in 9-11 found here:
The big problem with conspiracy theories is that they imbue a level of competence on the Bush administration (or government in general) which defies credulity. Not only is the Bush administration incapable of keeping such a massive operation a secret they are also not capable of actually pulling it off in the first place.
That being said, I could be convinced that they allowed an attack to occur for their own political reasons, not realizing of course, how devastating the attack would be.
In August of 2001 Bush was looking like a one-term caretaker. His agenda was not moving. A rally around the President event would have been politically appealing. I could be convinced that they allowed a small event to occur not realizing (there is that incompetence again) how large an event it would become.
And by the way I am middle-aged.Posted by Dave II on May 22, 2007 07:23 AM
I never heard of Howard Zinn, so I don't know how Vince came to think he's the "most influential left-wing intellectual in America". Vince is such a partisan Republican, I wonder if he really believes that or figure the righties will believe it.
The problem with the Rasmussen survey is the questions were too fuzzy.
For example, did Bush have the information at his dispose and just didn't consider seriously enough? That's quite a different matter than thinking he had a direct hand in it.
Vince also neglects to mention that 14% of Republicans said they thought Bush knewPosted by on May 22, 2007 09:22 AM
Oh, Dave II ... you make me want to cry ..
First you say
"The big problem with conspiracy theories is that they imbue a level of competence on the Bush administration (or government in general) which defies credulity. Not only is the Bush administration incapable of keeping such a massive operation a secret they are also not capable of actually pulling it off in the first place.
Then you say immediately after that they ARE capable of keeping a secret of the fact that they allowed 9/11 to happen!
"That being said, I could be convinced that they allowed an attack to occur for their own political reasons, not realizing of course, how devastating the attack would be."
Though if you listen carefully to what most people in the 9/11 truth movement are saying, it isn't "the government" but rather elements in the government that worked to make 9/11 happen.
The rest of "the government" is simply following orders, or in denial, or not capable of seeing that elements within their government could do such a thing .. a bit like you.Posted by gord on May 22, 2007 09:28 AM
My statements are not incompatible. Most people assume the PDB (Presidential Daily Briefing) of August 6, 2001 was ignored out of incompetence. Things like that could be ignored out of malice and no one would know the difference.
Inaction does not require as large a conspiracy as does action. Inaction requires maybe a half dozen people at most. Action requires the coordinated efforts of dozens if not hundreds.
Now, while I do feel that the highest ranked members of the Bush administration are self-centered and willing to do almost anything to keep in power (as are most politicians from all persuasions, countries and times), I do not believe even Bush would have ignored the warning signs had he known how devastating the attack would be.Posted by Dave II on May 22, 2007 10:54 AM
For your information, Vince is NOT a Republican and is certainly not a "partisan Republican". But he is, most definitely, a unique reporter in this city who is unafraid to take on those that the Denver Post will not - i.e., the "progressives" of this State. Kudos to Vince.Posted by CC on May 22, 2007 01:57 PM
I agree with Vince Carroll that the 9/11 conspiracy is hooey on its face, and I'm disappointed to hear that Howard Zinn is associated with this. However, it seems a stretch to call Zinn's blurb on the back of the conspiracy book "poisonous"--unless Carroll is actually referring to his distaste for Zinn's political views (calling him a Marxist, if he is in fact so). Real "poison" is talk radio 24/7 coast to coast, where real people (and not just public figures like George Bush) are slandered daily.
Posted by anderson on May 22, 2007 02:20 PM
Yes, most educated people in the US believed that it was only a matter of time before the Islamists tried to attack a large population center in the US. Islamists said they were going to for years, had the money and the opportunity to do so. Why anyone would have believed that it wasn't ever going to happen is beyond me.
Neither the press, the Democratic party nor the libertarian right would not have put up with the compromises of civil rights necessary to prevent 9/11 or whatever substitute the Islamists would have used. Even after the first successful attempt, they won't put up with compromises.
Finally, there is a huge difference between knowing that the attack was coming, and actual complicity in the details. The link suggested does not make this distinction nor do any of the other conspiracy nuts I have read.
For instance, we all know that more than 20% of high school freshmen in Denver will never graduate. While I question the official explanations of this problem, I certainly do not believe that the Denver Classroom Teachers Association is intentionally complicit. They just can't figure out a way to stop it with their current resources.
Teachers are not all powerful creatures endowed with superhuman knowledge and skills capable of charting the perfect failure rate necessary to maximize their salaries and power. I fail to understand why some people think that the President is.
I could show links between teachers and every powerful politician in the US. I could show that the the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the American Association of University Professors jointly control a budget larger than the Pentagon's (indeed, they have managed to make the military support them with research projects and GI benefits) but that doesn't mean that they conspire to control the country. Nor does it show that they are succeeding in this conspiracy.
If Karl Rove and Bush were half the men that the conspiracy nuts think they are, they would balance the budget, quadruple education and medical spending, end the war, cure cancer, and end racial oppression and poverty.
Anyone who could do that, probably could get a grateful country to give them each a $10 billion dollar bonus tax free. They would not be hiding from the New York Times.Posted by Yaakov Watkins on May 22, 2007 02:23 PM
I don't know what you smoke that has you convinced that VC isn't a partisan repugnant.
If he's so concerned about correcting the historical record, where is his refutation of all the great minds at the right wing think tanks who have been wrong about EVERY aspect of the Iraq war fiasco.
It's easy to take potshots at your political enemies. Give me just ONE instance where VC has gone after a conservative.Posted by Repugnants are liars. on May 22, 2007 02:51 PM
Zinn is not a "Marxist" but an anarchist.
The OCT (official conspiracy theory) is patently absurd.
(a) "Drills" on the morning of the 911 of hijacked aircraft crashing into prominent targets.
(c) Conservation of momentum. Towers fell at near free fall.
Anyone who buys the official story is denying the laws of gravity.
Nuff said.Posted by on May 23, 2007 12:20 AM
Wow, you got one of the "experts" in the 9-11 Denial Movement to respond to you! Kevin Ryan is their steel "expert" by virtue of his career as a water tester. Water, steel, what's the diff? How's that lawsuit coming Kev?Posted by Brainster on May 23, 2007 09:08 AM
No Air Force interception, Towers falling at freefall speed, A 16 foot hole that swallowed
an airplane, in the most secure building and the most secure airspace in the world ,Literally thousands of witnesses claiming bombs in Manhattan that morning (including newsreporters)Administration does all it can to block an investigation, yet
we are the "nutty" ones?....lol. How do ya think Osama got the Airforce to leave the skies over Washington DC undefended for a full hour and seventeen minutes after the first plane deviates from its flightplan?
Vincent Carroll is a moron who is obviously unable to think criticly or logicly. Anyone with
half a braincell knows the official story cant hold water. Really, it doesnt take all that much research.
Brainster, please explain how the WTC towers disintegrated so quickly. The official explanation of a gravity driven collapse is absurd - it asks us to believe that the lower 80% of the building offered almost no resistance to the top 20%.
Mr. Carroll, you should look at this seriously before writing about it. Many people died that day and you dishonor them by writing about it in such a uninformed manner.Posted by DTN on May 24, 2007 02:43 AM
Zinn has signed on to conspiracies before this.
He has signed anti-FBI propaganda with Ward Chirchill and sent it to the UN.
http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2006/10/paul-wolf-watch-first-installment.htmlPosted by Snapple on May 24, 2007 08:01 PM
I am one of the young people who you say believe the "claptrap" regarding government lies about 9/11. I was taught physics in 11th grade. I was taught calculus in 12th grade. I KNOW the buildings could not have collapsed as fast as they did with out explosives due to the math I learned in high school. I obtained a B. Sc. in Psychology in 2001. I know how behavioral conditioning works. I have read the study by Bruce Weiss conducted in 1968 which SHOWS classical conditioning CAN be used to condition peoples opinions just as dogs can be conditioned to SIT on command. I am currently working on my masters and guess what? I've got plenty of material to work with thanks to people like you who are either suffering cognitive dissonance regarding the FACTS about 9/11 OR are engaged in the behavioral conditioning of the population through message repetition. Either way the masses are waking up. There's this thing in conditioning called "habituation". We're at that point now. Lies only work so long.Posted by Christian on July 4, 2007 10:41 PM