9/11 - Things that make you go hmmmm
September 11, 2003 10:19 PM   Subscribe

20 unanswered questions about 9/11 - "Why after 730 days do we know so little about what really happened that day? No one knows where the alleged mastermind of the attack is, and none of his accomplices has been convicted of any crime. We're not even sure if the 19 people identified by the U.S. government as the suicide hijackers are really the right guys."
posted by suprfli (26 comments total)
 
Pretty good questions...

Somehow I don't think Bush and Co, are going to be answering many of them...
posted by Windopaene at 10:43 PM on September 11, 2003


20. Where is Osama bin Laden?

Osama may have escaped, but at least we got Chong.
posted by homunculus at 10:44 PM on September 11, 2003


Bernard-Henri Levy has written that Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl had been murdered by elements of the ISI because he'd learned that al Qaeda "is largely controlled by the Pakistani secret service" and that Islamic extremists control the nation's nuclear weapons.

Levy has written an op-ed for the WaPo, btw.
posted by homunculus at 10:48 PM on September 11, 2003


14. Where is Dick Cheney's undisclosed location?

Jeesh, if they disclosed it it wouldn't be an undisclosed location would it?

Okay article, but they screw up this fascinating hyperlink: essayaninterestingday.html.
posted by bobo123 at 10:54 PM on September 11, 2003


The puts placed on stocks right before the attacks stick out as pretty fucking suspect. 25 times the normal volume, the article says. Too bad the SEC is about the most impotent, corrupt organization in the entire government. Just ask W.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:05 PM on September 11, 2003


The ISI connection is an interesting one. Especially considering that the head of that intelligence agency was in the US on the morning of 9/11 meeting with congress people. I would be interested to know when he arrived and how long he was here and who else he visited with and how and when he left the country.
posted by bas67 at 6:37 AM on September 12, 2003


M'kay, so they were warned about the possibility of airline hijacks. This is not new. We've known about the possibility for years. We used to joke about the possibility of a terrorist taking a plane just so he could fly it to Disneyland. Not funny anymore...

The gov't has probably also heard countless other warnings, like how maybe terrorists are working on ways to poison our water supply or launch airborne viruses. And steps are taken to minimize that potential as much as possible, but they don't go around saying stop breathing and drinking. As we learned two years ago this week, the flight industry is an integral part of daily life here in the 21st century, and shutting it down AFTER a terrorist attack did sustaining damage to our economy, so they weren't going to shut it down BEFORE a terrorist attack on the possibility of airline hijacks. That's an absurd and stupid thought both before and after Nine Eleven. Perhaps we should have taken the warning signs more seriously, but we took them as seriously as we dared. We simply couldn't have perceived the extent of Nine Eleven until after we experienced it. Before Nine Eleven it was simply not fathomable. So these stupid questions about what we might have known before Nine Eleven? Well. They're stupid. Sure. NOW we know the possibility was more than we imagined BEFORE, but we couldn't have known that then.

Honest! I wanna see Shrub wear a 'kick me' sign on his back as much as the next red blooded American democrat, but not this way. Not about this.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:06 AM on September 12, 2003


Seriously?
posted by bshort at 7:57 AM on September 12, 2003


Zachs, that's a little disingenuous. It's not that any one piece of the puzzle - like the notion that terrorists could use planes as missiles - was available (and subsequently, falsely, denied outright) but that we had many, many pieces, some of which were already partially assembled (i.e. put this knowledge of planes-as-missles together with the still-unexplained Ashcroft travel change, and you have the beginnings of a pattern).

It's not so much that we should have shut down the airline industry just in case a terrorist ever decided to hijack a plane; it's that this particular plot could have been watched more closely and pinpointed more effectively... if our administration had truly cared to do so.
posted by soyjoy at 8:16 AM on September 12, 2003


No one knows where the alleged mastermind of the attack is, and none of his accomplices has been convicted of any crime.

No shit...ever notice that the planet earth is pretty frickin' huge? We're trying to capture/kill him, but finding a single person on this planet who most desperately does not want to be found is the proverbial needle/haystack.

And "none of his accomplices have been convicted of any crime?" Jeebus, nineteen of them died while crashing airplanes...we don't need to "convict" them. THEY'RE DEAD. And we've captured or killed many members of al-qaeda and associates.
posted by davidmsc at 12:25 PM on September 12, 2003


No shit...ever notice that the planet earth is pretty frickin' huge?

It really is. I guess we knew it was big, but it's really pretty frickin' huge.

Or....as we hunters like to point out....the woods are always empty (er...I mean... pretty frickin' empty!) when ya can't even find your own ass with both hands.

"It is understandable that so little time is actually devoted to the president's true actions on the morning of 9/11. Because to show the entire 23 minutes from 9:03 to 9:25 a.m., when President Bush, in reality, remained seated and listening to "second grade story-hour" while people like my husband were burning alive inside the World Trade Center towers, would run counter to Karl Rove's art direction and grand vision.

"Remember the aircraft carrier photo-op? Bush is a man of action; in fact, he is an action hero. Except, of course, when it really counts, like in those early morning hours when this country was under attack and our Commander in Chief was drinking milk and eating cookies with second graders."


Really hard to understand, what with Bush's vast and, um, honorable military experience and all.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:56 PM on September 12, 2003


Billions of dollars spent, hundreds more Americans dead, Aghanistan and Iraq - quite literally - in ruins, and the best you can come up with is "planet is pretty frickin' huge"?! This administration and the all-mighty American military have completely and utterly failed to apprehend the two individuals we have been told, repeatedly, are responsible for not only these attacks but other, future attacks. That's beyond pathetic and not even remotely excusable.
posted by JollyWanker at 1:05 PM on September 12, 2003


"No one knows where the alleged mastermind of the attack is, and none of his accomplices has been convicted of any crime."

Now this makes perfect sense. Kill thousands in a suicide attack and folks will claim your innocent till you stand trial... but if your found innocent of something then they will get all upset we even bothered to you know, have a trial.

Amazing how people will just use the system to suit their politics.

Kill thousands = good.
Give a girl beer = bad.

Gotcha.
posted by soulhuntre at 1:13 PM on September 12, 2003


20/20 hindsight, it's the one super power we all have in abundance.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:49 PM on September 12, 2003


We're trying to capture/kill him, but finding a single person on this planet who most desperately does not want to be found is the proverbial needle/haystack.

Really? 'Cause I coulda sworn that we
"don't know where bin Laden is. [We] have no idea and really don't care." That we were "not that concerned about him."

See, I have faith that the American military and intelligence are competent enough that if we wanted to find bin Laden, and we directed the appropriate resources to do so, we could, regardless of how big the world is.

However, we just "really don't care" about some things.
posted by nath at 1:51 PM on September 12, 2003


Kill thousands = good.
Give a girl beer = bad.


Wow. That's a startlingly asinine comparison. And I don't startle easily.
posted by soyjoy at 2:11 PM on September 12, 2003


ZachsMind, let me refer you to question #6: Why did the NORAD air defense network fail to intercept the four hijacked jets? I agree that it would have been foolish to preemptively shut down flights. However, why were the flights allowed to continue after they had gone off-course?
posted by spacewaitress at 2:12 PM on September 12, 2003


Why were the planes allowed to continue? You are looking at this with two years of 20/20 hindsight power. TRY to go back to that moment. Let's say you're IN NORAD. Or let's say you're on Air Force One, an advisor to the president. It's a little after 8:28am and you learn there's "a situation" but the reports are sketchy and inconclusive. From what you're hearing, you believe at least one commercial plane might be off course, this could be a glitch. Better safe then sorry. By 8:39am, just over ten minutes after the reports started coming in, F-16s are airborne and heading to investigate. No indications they were told to shoot first and ask questions later. This is a commercial plane we're talking about. Less than six minutes later, the first plane hits the tower. The second one's gonna hit less than fifteen minutes after that. Again. We didn't know that at the time.

Depending on whose watch you're checking, decision makers had somewhere between fifteen and twenty minutes to accumulate information about a situation as it was developing, and then had to make decisions based on what they knew IN THOSE MOMENTS. Hell. Fifteen minutes after I wake up in the morning? I haven't finished making coffee. I haven't even taken my shower yet. Y'know how many seconds it took the second tower to fall? Eight seconds. Most men can't ride a mechanical bull for eight seconds. That's how fast things happened that morning.

"NORAD" or "The Prez" up in his own plane, or whoever else you're looking to blame, didn't know where the hijacked planes were going. They didn't know thousands of people would die. They only knew that if the F-16s were within shooting range and did take the shot (which we can't even verify were within shooting range seconds before the second plane hit the tower - they certainly weren't there in time for the first one), the world would be up in arms against the U.S. military for shooting down hundreds of its own civilians.

YES. In HINDSIGHT. It looks like murdering a few hundred in the planes to save thousands in the towers would have made more sense. At most maybe we shoulda taken out the second plane. However, by then all cameras were trained on those buildings. The U.S. military shooting a commercial plane down live on Good Morning America, The Today Show and CBS This morning simulcast? They would never have lived that down. Shooting down a commercial plane over New York City? Hundreds of passengers? The debris falling who knows where? It might have been just as dangerous. Again, we don't know, and certainly didn't know then. Even after seeing the first plane hit, that wasn't a call that could have been made in less than fifteen minutes time.

Some theorize (with absolutely no evidence to verify) that maybe an F-16 did shoot down the fourth plane, and that this "Let's Roll" stuff was all crap. Made up cover story to hide that an F-16 did shoot down a commercial airliner, rather than have yet another plane hit the Pentagon, or the White House. Y'know what? Sometimes the truth just hurts more. I'd rather believe the heroic "Let's roll" thing, lie or not. Digging for answers won't bring them back. In the rising sun of that Tuesday morning nothing made sense. Why, in God's name, do we think it should make sense two years later?

As Powacek is fond of saying, "ever forward."
posted by ZachsMind at 3:12 PM on September 12, 2003


"Wow. That's a startlingly asinine comparison. And I don't startle easily."

It's an asinine situation. When the prevailing attitude is that someone who was aquitted by a jury MUST be guilty, and anyone who is looking into it MUST be a rapist (your implication, if you remember) but then here in this thread there is complaining that we haven't put the people who killed themselves to immoliate hundreds on trial yet so we can't be sure they are guilty.

Mostly it's about politics or emotion driving what people want to use as a standard of proof... and it is asinine.
posted by soulhuntre at 3:16 PM on September 12, 2003


Kill thousands = good.
Give a girl beer = bad.


give a thousand bad girls beer, good kill.
posted by quonsar at 3:39 PM on September 12, 2003


>I'd rather believe the heroic "Let's roll" thing, lie or not.

That's the sadest thing I've read in this thread. The world would not be up in arms if the US shot down its own commercial flights if it believed they were going to kill thousands in two skyscrapers. This is a scenario every military in the world is familiar with. Sure, the conspiracy theories would fly, but then again that's human nature. The conspiracy theory that Rumsfeld or whoever let the airliners fly after he heard about them to launch the PNAC world tour is believed by many.

Secondly, your time table ignores the Andrew's air base question? Why weren't they scrambled. Incompetence? Timetable? Who knows, but they were much, much closer.

Also, if the US shot down the third plane it should tell its citizens it did so. I doubt the outrage would be earthshaking, it is obviously an act of self defense and easily justified because of the extreme circumstances involved. If Bush can walk into Iraq and blow it to smithereens on "Saddam has a nuke!!!" he can surely admit to shooting down the third plane.

Lastly, I dislike Bush as much as the next non-Fox News addict, but he was probably told to sit tight while they were securing his perimeter and launching fighter jets to get to that school ASAP. Putting him in the air immediatly would have been a security compromise. I do think they should have whisked him away and covered him in kevlar and hid him the most secure part of the school, but they chose to be cavaliar about the whole thing instead. As far as the President as a man of action goes, thats a myth, the military is in charge when these thing happens, Bush or Cheney just said "Do what it takes, now!" Really now, what does an ex-coke head fundie know about securing anything other than a trust fund check?

As for the Anthrax letters, hmm, Army of God anyone?
Just because some of these weren't real anthrax doesnt mean the sender knew that. Not to mention with Ashcroft in charge I seriously doubt we'll see the terrorist Army of God brought to justice. They're his ideological buddies afterall and we all know terrorist are brown. The new master race is beyond sin and are doing god's work in the middle east, just ask Bush whose probably spanking it to his armageddom fantasies as I write this.
posted by skallas at 3:45 PM on September 12, 2003


To be fair, they did manage to grab Eric Rudolph, a member of the Army of God mainly for his stunt at the Olympics, the abortion clinic bombings are really just a bonus, but where's the big crackdown on these religious psycho killers who could teach Al'Queda a thing or two? Isn't there a war on terror going on?

This is what a Christian Terrorist supporter sounds like.

And of course armyofgod.com is up and running with a phone number and an PO Box address. I guess the feds need more clues to capture these masters of stealth!
posted by skallas at 4:16 PM on September 12, 2003


"That's the sadest thing I've read in this thread. The world would not be up in arms if the US shot down its own commercial flights if it believed they were going to kill thousands in two skyscrapers."

The world would be arguing whether or not it was necessary to shoot the planes down. In fact, YOU would probably be one of the people bitching.

"it is obviously an act of self defense and easily justified because of the extreme circumstances involved."

Look, individuals are smart I grant you, but people on the whole are stupid lemmings and fall into mob mentality at the drop of a hat. Again, in this alternative scenario, where by some whim of God the F-16s managed to shoot down all four planes, the Pentagon and the WTC never woulda been touched. We'd never have known for certain that those were the targets. We would have seen the U.S. military shoot down the very civilians its sworn to protect, live on every major network. And people would not be giving the gov't any benefit of the doubt, any more than you're giving them the benefit of the doubt now for not acting fast enough. This is a Kobayashi Maru. People would be bitching and moaning regardless of what happened.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:57 PM on September 12, 2003


Why were the planes allowed to continue? You are looking at this with two years of 20/20 hindsight power.

Then how come this is one of the first thoughts that popped into my head the morning of September 11, 2001?
posted by spacewaitress at 8:17 PM on September 12, 2003


And also, ZachsMind, why didn't they stop the plane that plowed into the Pentagon one hour after the start of the attacks?
posted by spacewaitress at 8:21 PM on September 12, 2003




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