1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    But in 2014:
    The book referred to is probably Bamford's "A Pretext for War" (2004), which is highly critical of the US intelligence leading up to 9/11, and the actions of the US after 9/11, but does not say that the US government orchestrated 9/11.

    This seems to relate to the idea that to debunk a false theory you need a detail debunking which provides a sufficiently detailed true narrative that can replace the false one. Here Bamford's book provides details as to how this could have had happened - and it's still a complex story, just more about the very real failings of US intelligence and (arguably) US foreign policy - and not some highly improbably plot with remote controlled planes and impossible rigged controlled demolitions.
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  2. Strawman

    Strawman Active Member


    It also seems that the new narrative struck a chord with him because it was also critical of the government. Which shows that debunking and counter-narrating works better if you have (or find) a common ground to start from.
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  3. John85

    John85 Member

    Not having read the book, I can offer summaries from broadly reliable sources - Amazon and Wikipedia. These suggest that Bamford's narrative goes like this:

    (1) The top layers of the US administration and intelligence agencies were caught off guard by 9/11.
    (2) But once 9/11 happened, they formed an effective, large-scale conspiracy to take advantage of the significant opportunities the attack presented to fulfill pre-existing geopolitical aims.

    From the Amazon description:

    That is number (1) established.



    That is number (2) established.

    There are problems with using a narrative like this (which I imagine is a reasonable approximation to Bamford's) to try to 'debunk' 9/11 truth arguments. Firstly, Bamford-esque narratives draw attention to the question of pre-9/11 intelligence, on which the truth movement is quite strong. See David Ray Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor, also first published in 2004, particularly the chapters in Part 2:
    Ch 5 Did US Officials Have Advanced Information about 9/11?
    Ch 6 Did US Officials Obstruct Investigations Prior to 9/11?
    Ch 7 Did US Officials Have Reasons for Allowing 9/11?

    Secondly, and obviously, the Bamford narrative provides support for a key contention of the truth movement, which is that there was a large, concerted, high-level effort after 9/11 to exploit the opportunity 9/11 presented. Bamford-esque conspiracy theories encourage the view that the US administration and intelligence services fraudulently mischaraterized the terror threat as coming from Iraq, when there was little evidence of an Iraq connection to 9/11. This dovetails with the truther contention that the US exaggerated and held on to the 'threat' of bin Laden as long as possible, tying OBL to WMDs and Saddam Hussein to maintain support for the invasion of Iraq. Take The New Pearl Harbor again, Ch 8: Did US Officials Block Captures and Investigations after 9/11? This chapter argues that yes, they did, even allowing OBL safe passage to Pakistan, so that he would remain a useful enemy. Bamford-esque conspiracy theory meets truther conspiracy theory.

    Given that the Bamford-esque and truther arguments to a certain extent run parallel in terms of the events after 9/11, we inevitably ask ourselves whose version is more plausible pre-9/11. Is it more plausible, at face value, that US officials were a disparate, uncoordinated, lumbering, and ineffectual bunch in the 1990s and on the day of 9/11, but unified, coordinated and concertedly immoral after 9/11? Or does skepticism over wrongdoing after 9/11 bleed into doubt over the official account of before 9/11?

    Similarly, several of the main objections to truther conspiracy theories can also be applied to Bamford-esque narratives. For example, it would take the silence of tens of thousands of people. The president would not agree to it. There would be wistleblowers. The government would not be capable of successfully organizing such large-scale military endeavors, etc.

    The fact is that honest efforts to investigate, analyse and report on the political and military context of 9/11 will ultimately converge on the reality behind those events. This is why there is overlap between truther and Bamford-esque narratives: they both have a piece of the puzzle.