Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shutting Down the Tin-Foil Hat Brigade: American Airlines Flight 77 DID Crash Into the Pentagon

What do you call THIS???

Some friends of mine a while ago suggested that I watch a video called Loose Change. I did, and every moment I wasted on it churned my stomach. I can see how it would seem plausible to the average American; it is presented in what appears to be a logical approach. The problem is you can do that with any argument. Any idea, no matter how farfetched, when given just the right twist, can be convincing. The next few blogs are going to be devoted to giving simple solutions to the "questions" raised by the 9/11 conspiracy theorists who have convinced themselves and thousands of others that there's no way it was a terrorist act.

If you know more about it and dig a little deeper, though, you find that nearly every shred of "evidence" presented by Dylan Avery and his tin-foil hat brigade has been twisted and contorted beyond recognition. For example, they start out by describing a flight maneuver that pilot Hani Hanjour couldn't possibly have executed: a sharp u-turn that, according to a retired Air Force pilot, would have stalled the engines. What they didn't mention was that the pilot they spoke to hadn't flown any of the more modern aircraft with the types of engines that were on the planes flown that day. That maneuver, done correctly, was perfectly possible. Nobody knows what speed the plane was really travelling at when the turn was made because by then, Hanjour had shut off the plane's transponder.

They then move on to point out a plane crash in Houston, in which a private jet clipped a light pole, tearing off the wing and causing a fatal crash. According to their logic, American Airlines flight 77 couldn't have crashed into the Pentagon; its wing clipped five light poles and maintained enough forward energy to crash into the Pentagon? That can't work, can it? Yes, it can. The Houston crash involved a much smaller, private jet--far smaller and less bulky than a Boeing 757. Uh-oh. There's a hole in the theory.

Then they move on to the complete and utter destruction of the plane in the crash. According to Avery, the nine-foot-wide engines should have been found "relatively intact" inside the building, and pieces of the plane should have been seen all over the place, because the titanium skin couldn't possibly have been incinerated in a fire that, according to theory, never could have reached more than 1400 degrees (titanium melts at 1668 degrees). Maybe so...but a terrorist hijacked a commercial jetliner, flew along the ground, and reached the plane's top speed of 540 m.p.h. before crashing nose-first into a building made of reinforced concrete. The fire didn't have to destroy it; the energy of the crash itself tore the plane to bits. And, despite Avery's assertion that a perfect hole wouldn't have been made by a plane with such a massive wingspan, another simple fact shoots his theory (again) to hell: the wings came off. Duh. The engines would NOT have been found intact. The engine that was found was the auxilliary from the tail section, and its position was the only thing that left it barely recognizable.

What about the perfect hole in the C ring of the Pentagon? Well, we've already established that the plane was torn to pieces by the impact of the crash. But do you really think that the destruction ends when the cause of the destruction stops moving? Especially when said cause is loaded with jet fuel? Now think about this for a moment...the plane may have stopped because the rebar and concrete ate it whole, but do you think the fuel was going to stop? Simple physics should tell you that the total destruction of the plane would have allowed the fuel to create a massive torch effect, exploding in the same forward motion that the plane had been headed in.

Oops...someone forgot to finish their homework.

Avery goes on to show video footage of a witness who says he saw a small commuter plane; how far away was this witness? Who was he, and why weren't there more? Another witness claims it was a military helicopter--he says he saw a military helicopter disappear behind the wall where the helipad was, and not long after saw a fireball rise into the air. Where's the evidence? He didn't see the helicopter crash. He saw all of this from a distance, and again, was the only person who claims to believe it was a military chopper.

Avery himself happens to believe that it was a cruise missile. He shows pictures of war criminal Slobodan Milosevic's house after being hit by a cruise missile, but while the damage looks similar, the building is much smaller, and the damage is more localized. Once again, Avery is trying to establish truth on two incidents that are only vaguely similar. He also tries to claim that people inside the Pentagon felt a shock wave, and that people in buildings a mile away felt the same shock, and that couldn't have been an airplane, then quotes people who said they heard an explosion.

Well, it's real simple, kiddo...a Boeing 757, big enough to carry nearly 200 people, laden with a type of gasoline that has a high-temp flash point (not to mention the other flammable liquids in the engines), crashes at top speed into a massive building. I'm pretty sure that's gonna create a shock wave and sound a bit like an explosion.

It gets even better! Avery goes on to report that the FBI showed up at a gas station across the street and quickly confiscated videos. I suppose he considers this his smoking gun, especially when he says, "if the government wanted us to know what really happened, all they'd have to do is give us the tapes."
He goes on to point out that the section of the Pentagon that had been hit had recently been renovated to withstand "such an attack." Actually, it had been fitted with blast-proof windows to withstand an Oklahoma City-style bomb, not a plane being flown into it. Then he points out that Donald Rumsfeld "was safe in his office," putting emphasis on the fact that it's "on the other side of the building." The simplicity of this is astounding: the side that was hit was the closest to Hani Hanjour's flight path.

Just because you don't have videos in hand of the plane hitting the Pentagon doesn't mean it didn't happen. The absence of such evidence does not mean that it didn't happen exactly the way it was described by hundreds upon hundreds of witnesses who saw it more up-close and personal than they ever wanted.

I have a great question...if it wasn't American Airlines flight 77, then what happened to that plane and the people on it? Oh, wait, I know--they were abducted by aliens.

I need a break. My tin-foil helmet is starting to chafe.

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