15 September, 2012

Criminal or incompetent?

George W. Bush
Cover of George W. Bush
Eleven years after 9/11, it seems the real core of the argument about the truth of 9/11, one that all so often descends into technical minutia and mutual name-calling, really boils down to competing images of the roles and capabilities of government.  Paul Craig Roberts, an intelligent critic of the conventional 9/11 story, does a good job of highlighting the differences.  As he describes it the options are that elements of the government, or elements of several governments, are either VERY competent at managing and hiding a false-flag operation, or those elements are VERY incompetent to the point of multiple simultaneous failures.
In order to understand the improbability of the government’s explanation of 9/11, it is not necessary to know anything about what force or forces brought down the three World Trade Center buildings, what hit the Pentagon or caused the explosion, the flying skills or lack thereof of the alleged hijackers, whether the airliner crashed in Pennsylvania or was shot down, whether cell phone calls made at the altitudes could be received, or any other debated aspect of the controversy. 
You only have to know two things. 
One is that according to the official story, a handful of Arabs, mainly Saudi Arabians, operating independently of any government and competent intelligence service, men without James Bond and V for Vendetta capabilities, outwitted not only the CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency, but all 16 US intelligence agencies, along with all security agencies of America’s NATO allies and Israel’s Mossad. Not only did the entire intelligence forces of the Western world fail, but on the morning of the attack the entire apparatus of the National Security State simultaneously failed. Airport security failed four times in one hour. NORAD failed. Air Traffic Control failed. The US Air Force failed. The National Security Council failed. Dick Cheney failed. Absolutely nothing worked. The world’s only superpower was helpless at the humiliating mercy of a few undistinguished Arabs.
I'll ignore the implicit racism in describing the hijackers as "a few undistinguished Arabs."  His main point is he finds it easier to believe in superior villains than in spectacular fools.  I disagree.  This is not to say that I disagree with the idea that conspiracies operate in the world.  Of course they do.  What I find hard to accept is they are that good at it.  My personal experience with government at all levels is that, along with other organizations, it often magnifies the failures of the people in it.  People in power don't believe what they don't want to believe.  Bureaucracies fail to perceive things that fall outside of their areas of expertise.  Those who do put the clues together will find themselves marginalized and ignored, or even punished.  And what happens next?
It is hard to imagine a more far-fetched story–except for the second thing you need to know: The humiliating failure of US National Security did not result in immediate demands from the President of the United States, from Congress, from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and from the media for an investigation of how such improbable total failure could have occurred. No one was held accountable for the greatest failure of national security in world history. Instead, the White House dragged its feet for a year resisting any investigation until the persistent demands from 9/11 families for accountability forced President George W. Bush to appoint a political commission, devoid of any experts, to hold a pretend investigation.
This is supposed to be a surprise?  When organization and governments screw up--totally, completely, and from the top down--they circle the wagons, look for excuses, punish scapegoats, derail investigations, do whatever they can to cover the asses of those most responsible for the failure.  This is not a surprise.  An exception to this pattern would be a surprise.

What shocks me about so much of the "9/11 truth" critique is not the idea that there could be duplicity in government, or among other elites.  What amazes me is they have so much faith that so many, so powerful, could be so good at it, and so consistently.  They believe in the state, even as they criticize particular people in it.  They believe that if the state fails, there must be a sinister agenda, because at heart the state is too good and too competent to stumble as it did.  Personally, I don't buy it.  I don't buy the official story--there's no reason to assume that any official story is the truth--but if the only choice is between human fools and perfect villains, I find it easier to believe in fools.

The 11th Anniversary of 9/11 ~ Paul Craig Roberts - PaulCraigRoberts.org

14 September, 2012

Drinking your way to freedom

I love it.  A man, evidently very drunk, floated from North Korea to South Korea, and now he's likely to stay there.
A profoundly drunk North Korean man floated all the way to South Korea on a piece of wood this week—and he's been offered South Korean citizenship. 
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that the man, who appears to be in his 20s, was found hiding in a house on the island of Ganghwa, an hour from Seoul, on Sunday.
Yonhap reports that when the man was taken into police custody, he was only wearing his underwear and appeared to be intoxicated. (I've got to say, I've never found myself repatriated after a night of drinking—this guy deserves a medal).  
   "The man said he crossed to the South, holding on to a floating object to waters off the coast of Gyodong Island," said Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Lee Bung-woo to the Yonhap News Agency. "The floating object is seen as a wooden board that drifted due to the flood in the North."
Reminds me a bit of the cook who drank enough Brandy to survive the sinking of the Titanic.  (Is that story true?)

Two questions come to mind:
  1. Where did he get that much alcohol?  It was North Korea, after all.
  2. Can I have some of what he's drinking?
Drunk North Korean man floats to South Korea