While it is not the purpose of this blog to refute or debunk the innumerable 9/11 conspiracy theories, I just can’t ignore them anymore, because they are rapidly becoming mainstream. Once again, if you don’t believe me, try google. I’m inclined generally to agree with Nick Packwood (the one and only Ghost of a flea) that this is a waste of time, because there’s no arguing with the invincibly ignorant. Indeed, there’s no better way to say it than Glenn Reynolds’ quote from Schiller:

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.

So, if the gods themselves find this exercise impossible, I may well be wasting my time.
But I am still pissed, and I have my blog, so where else can I go but here?
I previously mentioned a series of 9/11 conspiracy conferences, Phase 1 in San Francisco, and Phase 2 in Toronto on May 25. Considering the hearings in Washington, the timing is no accident, and considering the extreme anti-Bush hatred, it is also no accident that these theories are gaining momentum. Ultimately, they may unwittingly help Bush (for reasons I’ve already explained), but that really isn’t my problem, because I am not writing about this to help Bush or Kerry. I am just fried that well-meaning people are being suckered into this stuff so readily, and that not enough is being offered in refutation. Sitting back while lies pile up strikes me as a dangerous thing to do — perhaps even more dangerous than the waste of time it is to attempt to refute them.
The two leading minds behind these theories are Barrie Zwicker and Michael Ruppert.
Zwicker, a Marxist author/activist and the leading moderator of Phase 1 in San Francisco, stated his case succinctly at that conference:

My offering is that 9/11 was what the anarchist Bakunin called “the propaganda of the act.” That it was “Reichstag Fire 2001.” That it was the greatest deception of its kind ever foisted. And that’s saying something, in light of the long and totally-neglected history of this kind of war-triggering deception perpetrated by powerful special interests to sway public opinion in favour of deadly agendas that almost always result in serious grief for just about everyone.
My offering is that 9/11 was arranged to jump start the so-called war on terrorism, which in turn is the cover and heat exchanger for hot wars, these being the toxic tip of the machinery for world domination. At the levers is a clique of neocons that has hijacked this country’s foreign policy at the behest largely and to the benefit mainly of Big Arms and Big Oil, with the rest of the worst at the top, giving the thumbs-up and boarding the gravy train.
Judging by your response to the questions I posed, the focus tonight within the general subject 9/11, may tend to be:
Not whether the take on 9/11 is along the lines I’ve expressed, but on the who’s and the how’s and the what-to-do’s.
I hope we’ll find time to address visions of a better future, one much freer of vast dark tax-funded bureaucracies of deceit, deception, assassination and destabilization of civil societies abroad — and at home, in your country, and in mine.
A prerequisite for opening up a wider path to that better future is that a larger percentage of the hypnotized public than at present have its patriotic trance broken and be willing to question the provenance of 9/11 and its iconic power.
The hypocritical verbiage and bald false assertions of George Bush and his dark cabal of reactionary revolutionaries and oiligarchs who “mix greed, inept economic management, business corruption, crony capitalism, triumphalist Pentagon sable-rattling and Axis of Evil foreign policy theology,” have been deconstructed by most people around the world. (By the way, I don’t want to be accused of plagiarization. Most of what I just said is a direct quote from Kevin Phillips, a leading Republican theoretician.)
Money power, firepower and propaganda power are all spilling out of the closet. What’s still mainly hidden in the closet, is the power of deception and the extent of deception. And the single deception which, if exposed in a politically-relevant way, would have the most impact, is the most brazen deception of all, 9/11. That’s why this meeting and others like it are crucial.

Well, Zwicker’s right about one thing: the numbers are all on his side. Judging from the Arab, European, and Canadian “streets,” and judging from Google results I’ve seen, the other side of this argument seems to be very silent.
(Perhaps because it’s all such a waste of time.)
Zwicker has been identified as the source of former Blair cabinet member (and current Member of Parliament) Michael Meacher’s accusations that Bush was behind 9/11, and that the war on terrorism is bogus.
Fortunately, some really good bloggers have been on top of this stuff. Bill Herbert has debunked Barrie Zwicker repeatedly.
The above links I found via Damian Penny, who has likewise devoted a great deal of time to debunking the 9/11 conspiracy claims, AND Barrie Zwicker: here, here, and here. (The latter link is noteworthy for documenting a rather interesting far left/far right convergence.)
Parenthetically, Mr. Penny links to this valuable post from Jeff Jarvis that the conspiracy crowd is now turning Nick Berg into a political pawn (unfortunately with the help of his father, which shows that family disagreements sometimes survive even tragic deaths).
There’s an excellent web site — REFUTING THE 9/11 CONSPIRACY THEORIES — which goes into great detail with lots of links.
I don’t mean to belabor my point, but I think more people should say something, because sites like this spring forth, are copied endlessly, and multiply. They’re already dominating the Google hits.
What’s next? 9/11 conspiracy copycat blogs? So that commentators can claim that consensus is changing in “the blogosphere”?
And what is public opinion, after all, but a game of numbers?
Forgive my cynicism.
UPDATE: An observation by Andrew Sullivan offers confirmation of my (long-held) suspicion that allowing such conspiracy theories to grow unchecked may very well be conscious strategy:

As is often the case with president Bush, his style is to allow his severest critics to overplay their hand….

I think the “BUSH KNEW” canard will resonate with mainstream voters in November. But not the way the conspiracy proponents might hope.