9-11 Conspiracy Theories Essay

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Conspiracy Theories of 911: An Evaluation

"Many 9/11 conspiracy theories surfaced shortly after the September 11th attacks, some bringing compelling arguments, and some not holding up at all," leading to a plethora of unanswered questions in the wake of the attack that remain unanswered even today (News One Staff 1). Unfortunately, the horrific events of September 11, 2001 have not been allowed to be put to rest. A number of conspiracy theories, some probable and others completely ridiculous, still haunt the American public's memory of the event and keep people questioning the events that occurred on that tragic day.

September 11, 2001 started off like any other day. Yet, early in the morning rush, two planes came flying out of the sky only to crash into several buildings along the East Coast (U.S. Printing Office 1). The two that caused the most damage hit the two Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the iconic buildings that are now eerily missing out of the Manhattan skyline. Thousands were killed upon impact and in the fire and crash of the buildings, including a large number of rescue workers who entered the buildings after the initial crash. As the intense heat of the jet fuel melted the steel, the buildings collapsed in utter chaos. The other crash hit the Pentagon, but luckily it was not nearly as badly damaged. In fact, the area of the Pentagon that was hit was undergoing remodeling and so was vacant at the time. Flight 93 was able to surmount the courage to fight back against their hijackers and managed to stop the plan before it could crash into its final destination -- the White House.

Many conspiracy theories point to the concept that the attack was not a complete surprise to all Americans. For example, there is the theory that inside traders had prior knowledge of the attack, and thus reacted before hand in regards to how it would affect the stock market and trading prices. According to the research, "an extraordinary amount of put options were placed on United Airlines and American Airlines stocks, the same airlines that were hijacked during the attacks," signifying that some top traders were clued in about the attacks before they actually happened (News One Staff 1). Rather than warn authorities right away, these traders simply protected their investments, according to the conspiracy theory. This may hold some weight because of the importance of the bin laden family in regards to the role they played in business here in the United States and in Saudi Arabia. The family was a wealthy business family, with many of the members conducting business in the United States during the very timing of the attacks. If any of them knew about it, they too might have made a move to protect some of their investments here in the United States before they were escorted out of the country by Bush authority officials.

Another interesting, and potentially true conspiracy theory is the idea that the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD for short, knew about the hijacking in time to assemble a team of fighter jets that were capable of shooting the planes out of the sky before they could hit their final destination at the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Despite their presence, many say they were asked to "stand down" and not shoot the planes out of the sky (News One Staff 1). However, if these planes would have been shot down, it could have cut the death toll by thousands. Only the poor individuals on the planes that were hijacked would have become victims to Osama bin Laden's vicious and cruel attack on innocent lives. Still, the idea that they were asked to stand down is disturbing, but at the same time authorities may not have known the true extent of the plot. From this perspective, they may not have known that the planes were planning to crash into heavily populated buildings around the East Coast, or else they might have shot them out of the sky before any more innocent lives could be lost.

One of the more believed theories is that the explosions seen in the Twin Towers was not actually caused by the planes themselves, but by bombs. Federal investigations stipulated that the explosions seen clearly from the ground were the result of jet fuel heating up to such an extent it exploded. The federal report says that the first holes in the buildings were punched by the planes' fuselages, and not the wings (U.S. Printing Office 22). However, conspiracy theorists do not buy this explanation. Many believe that bombs were the cause of the main impacts and that they were the reason the buildings collapsed so long after the initial planes had hit in the early morning hours (Grossman 2). In fact, many conspiracy theorists claim that these explosions were not caused by jet fuel and that the timing was clearly off. From this perspective, theorists insist that the explosions were actually caused by bombs, probably placed in the World Trade Center buildings, and not the direct result of the planes crashing into the tall, towering buildings. Other believe that the hijackers were wearing bombs strapped to their bodies as the planes hit the buildings, which then set off the explosions (McGreal 1). Essentially, "many architects and scientists even maintain that a plane's fuel cannot produce enough heat to melt the steel frame of the two buildings that collapsed" (News One Staff 1). The way the towers fell, falling into themselves in a pancake fashion, also brings up questions as to whether or not it was the result of a controlled demolition explosion (Mole 1). In lieu of any other explanation for why the buildings collapsed, some theorists believe that a bomb explosion was the real reason the Twin Towers collapsed. However, examining the evidence shows that bombs or other controlled explosives were most likely not the cause of the explosions (McGreal 1). Still, this opens up a whole new can of worms, because who could have planted the bomb in such a highly secured building?

This is also tied into conspiracy theories regarding the truth of the attack on the Pentagon. This was one of the attacks that was not as successful as the hijackers had planned, and they only hit an area of the Pentagon that was vacant during a remodeling plan. This, however, has invoked a number of conspiracy theories. The main question here was how did the Pentagon get so lucky? To have the plan crash into the vacant area of the Pentagon seems too much of a coincidence to many conspiracy theorists. Essentially, these individuals tend to believe that the attack might have been staged. By having the plane hit the area that was vacant, the United States could still claim the attack, but without the losses of life of some of its top military and political leaders that would have otherwise been working in the Pentagon (New One Staff 1). Additionally, some theorists even go as far to claim that it was not even a plane that hit the Pentagon. Some sources report that "the impact holes in the Pentagon were much smaller than a commercial American Airlines plane," leading to the assumption that it was a bomb or some other kind of craft or projectile that actually generated the mainstay of the damage in the Pentagon (News One Staff 1).

Others believe that the government is clearly hiding a lot of what it knows about the attacks. This is another theory that may have some truth to it. Many theorists claim that the all of the black boxes of the planes were actually found by authorities, but that they are being kept a secret from the public (Grossman 1). Federal reports show that three out of the four black boxes were reclaimed, but that their information has not been fully released to the public. Some of the tapes were shared with families of the victims lost in the attack (U.S. Printing Office 179). To say that the government is lying is a little outlandish, but it is clearly understandable that the government would want to keep the last moments of the dead out of public hands in order to provide respect for families, but also not to divulge any potential leads that were uncovered through an examination of the content of the black boxes (U.S. Printing Office 180).

Some of the more ridiculous theories consist of ones which claim that the attacks were either staged or exaggerated. One report claims that there are those who believe that Flight 93 was actually staged, and that it was not actually brought down by the citizens who fought back against their attackers in Shanksville Pennsylvania.

Some "skeptics believe that Flight 93 landed safely, while a substitute plane was shot out of the sky. Other theorists believe that the passengers were murdered, or relocated, and will never be found" (News One Staff 1). Even… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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