When college professors retire they — like most other people — take up hobbies such as fly fishing, model trains, postage stamps. David Ray Griffin, a professor emeritus of the Claremont School of Theology in California, has a very different hobby: Conspiracy Theorism. He has been working at it full time, as his book Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 shows. He thinks it is his urgent mission to prove that the collapse of the World Trade Center towers and the plane crash into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 were the work, not of radical Islamist jihadis, but of George Bush and his confederates, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
Oddly, this book, which is intended for the Loony Left market, was published by a unit of the Presbyterian Church, Westminster John Knox Press. One does not have to read far into it to see that the author drew his conclusion first, then set about to “prove” it. To get there, he stitches together bits of officials’ speeches, comments by observers, various what-ifs and unrelated facts. This arrangement will be comforting to the MoveOn.org crowd and others who go to bed each night dreaming of impeaching the president.
Griffin says that the 19 young Arabs who hijacked the airliners on 9/11were a “false flag” to hide the true identity of the perpetrators. Having satisfied himself that it was really Bush et al. who engineered the events, he makes no further mention of the hijackers. Were they simply a figment of the public’s imagination? Were the crashing airplanes a mass delusion created by, say, Disney? He does not say.
Prof. Griffin then goes on at length to “prove” that the twin towers came down as a result of explosives planted at various places in them. Who planted the supposed explosives? Griffin does not tell us, but implies it was Bush and Cheney wearing funny wigs and masks.
The author is at pains to tell us that steel cannot melt at the temperatures likely to be caused by the airplane crashes. Experts did not say the steel beams melted, but bent, contributing to the weakness of the structures. Manuel Garcia, a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, in a calm, readable discussion of the collapse of the towers in the newsletter CounterPunch, lays out the causes. Among his conclusions, “…the upper block (of each building) was ‘blown up,’ but naturally by elastic waves rippling a destructive compression through it, rather than artificially by intentional controlled demolition.”
CounterPunch is an unusual place to see a scientific discussion such as this. Its editor/publisher is the journalist Alexander Cockburn, who describes himself as “an Old Leftist.” He thinks that conspiracy theories about 9/11 are, to put it kindly, nuts. He says he has received many angry calls and letters from readers. He notes that most of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists are fellow leftists, but that does not deter him from saying bluntly that they are very wrong.
Having “proved” that Bush et al. caused the twin towers to collapse, Prof.Griffin gives us the reason: It is to create an American Empire, “…that is, an all-inclusive global empire, resulting in a global Pax Americana.” And the purpose of this “empire”? Why it’s all about oil; controlling the oil and gas of the Middle East and Central Asia.
He uses the “Aha!” factor to prove his point. He asserts that Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and American diplomat Zalmay Khahlilzad had been “on the payroll” of Unocal, a U.S. energy company. Unocal wanted to build a natural gas pipeline across Afghanistan. When the Taliban resisted, the U.S. attacked. According to the professor, the attack had nothing to do with 9/11 and everything to do with imperialist ambitions. And — Aha! — Karzai’s and Khahlilzad’s backgrounds prove it.
The author devotes much of the book to a long and very dense discussion of The Divine and The Demonic. All you need to know is that the United States is in the grip of The Demonic and is responsible for all that has gone wrong in the world in recent decades. God is but a bystander, unwilling to step in and right things. He is waiting for the righteous of the world, such as Prof. Griffin, to take the necessary steps. The professor obliges with five things that must be done: (1) Pull all U.S. troops from overseas assignments. (2) Reverse corporate control of the media — as if CEOs told editors what to write. (3) Publicly finance elections. (4) Install a world government. (5) Persuade churches to disassociate themselves from the American “imperialism project.”
With his laser-like mind navigating the complexities of the modern world to bring us the truth, Prof. Griffin has overlooked one little problem: radical jihadists whose goal is to expunge the planet of all “infidels” and apostate Muslims (those living in states with civil government). He seems never to have heard of the bombing of the U.S. embassies in East Africa, the Khobar Towers, the U.S.S. Cole, the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing or Osama bin Laden’s 1998 declaration of war against the United States.
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