"We could not agree more. And we are indeed chiming in."
A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.
Many patriotic people can reasonably debunk the official 9/11 story
Editor, The Times:
Alex Alben's "Debunking flights of fancy that hover over 9/11" [Times guest commentary, July 26] is clearly predicated on blind acceptance of the government's own, sans-proof 9/11 conspiracy theory, which is falling apart.
Contrary to Alben's assertion that "the new conspiracy theorists prey on areas of highly specialized knowledge," the basic facts flying in the face of the government's story are actually very easy to understand.
For example, structural steel cannot be melted by an open kerosene fire (or your engine block would melt before you pulled out of the garage).
To use Alben's words, "Most theories, after all, will collapse on their own spindly legs when enough reasonable people examine them and begin to ask basic questions." Many deeply patriotic and reasonable citizens are asking those basic questions and finding empirically based answers that point to more government cover-ups and lies.
Alben's closing words are, "When we see falsehoods masquerading as facts, it is our duty as free citizens to chime in: 'Wait a minute — how do you know that to be true?' That would be the best way to honor the victims of the worst terror attack ever to occur on American soil."
We could not agree more. And we are indeed chiming in.
— Evan Sugden, We Are Change/9-11 Truth-Seattle, Seattle
Magnifier and holes
Alex Alben evades the key questions raised by the growing and politically diverse 9/11 truth movement.
On 9/11, at 5:20 p.m., World Trade Center Building 7 fell symmetrically, at near free-fall speed and, according to prominent architects and engineers, displayed all the characteristics of a controlled demolition, evidently planned prior to 9/11.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) confirmed jet-fuel fires did not burn hot enough to melt steel. Yet, molten metal was found at the base of WTC Buildings 1, 2 and 7 weeks after 9/11, further suggesting explosives.
The BBC on Sept. 23, 2001, reported that four of the alleged 19 hijackers are alive, yet these same names were included in the 9/11 commission report. David Ray Griffin's "9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions" provides a thorough examination.
The events of 9/11 have been exploited to wage war in the Middle East and to dismantle key provisions of the Constitution, most startlingly, habeas corpus.
Alben callously equates efforts to answer these questions as being "in sync with the ideology of terrorist groups," an offense to the families of victims and first-responders asking these questions.
— Bob Dennis, Seattle
No phantom fighters
I do believe that our government was responsible for 9/11, for a number of reasons. A large portion of Alex Alben's opinion concerns the controversy about whether burning jet fuel could have caused collapse of the twin towers. I have seen analyses by professors of structural engineering that say it could, and others that say it could not. I am an engineer — electronic, though, not structural — and my conclusion at this time is that the question is still open.
Other factors influence my feeling on the matter more than that. For instance, why were interceptor jets not sent to intercept for such a long time, and why were so many of them away on that particular day doing exercises simulating what actually happened? Why were many warnings from intelligence agencies discounted prior to the actual incident?
Something as horrific as 9/11 was needed to get the American public in a frame of mind to accept protracted wars, such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why the wars? To control world oil, hence to protect the American automobile culture.
— Peter Van Zant, Seattle
A study in frustration
The core of the 9/11 truth movement is made up of people who ask of the "official story," "Wait a minute — how do you know that to be true?" While there is admittedly lots of conjecture about what happened on 9/11, the reason for the conjecture is that we do not know what happened, because the official conspiracy story that has been spun regarding what happened makes no sense.
The so-called "independent" 9/11 commission was headed up by an executive director, Philip Zelikow, who was a Bush administration insider. Its report is riddled with omissions and distortions, which have been documented in books. Family members of victims of 9/11 tell us that only 30 percent of their questions have been answered by the commission and its report.
The NIST report, on the collapse of the twin towers, has been criticized by the engineering community for, among other things, reaching conclusions unsupported by the data it collected; not calculating the maximum loads the towers could take; and not even simulating the collapse of the towers. None of the official studies proved the official story; they merely assumed it to be true. All the 9/11 truth community wants are studies that answer the questions of legitimate concern.
Almost 600 senior military, intelligence-service, law-enforcement and government officials; engineers, architects, pilots and aviation professionals; professors, 9/11 survivors and family members; and entertainment and media professionals now question the official account of what happened on 9/11. They are saying of the official story: "Wait a minute — how do you know that to be true?"
— Rodger Herbst, Woodinville
Ether removes inhibition
Thanks to both The Seattle Times and Alex Alben for his concise assessment of Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists. I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment of petulant partisanship of those attempting to advance bizarre, wild theories about the terrorist attacks.
It's also a useful reminder about lack of accountability and/or accuracy of information posted on the Internet.
— Phil X. Vandervort, news producer, Newsradio 710 KIRO, Bonneville-Seattle
Light on brains
Let me get this straight: I can't carry a bottle of water onto an airplane, but a passenger can now take a lighter onboard? Something that creates fire in an enclosed space at 38,000 feet and easily could be used by someone to harm and endanger? ["Flight rules on lighters, breast milk relaxed," News, July 21.]
I inhabit the Earth with idiots. How nice to know that it is the Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for our security onboard, that has made this brilliant decision! Great job!
— Janet Engel, Seattle
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company