9/11 Conspiracy Theories

One day I suddenly found myself in a conversation about 9/11 conspiracy theories.  Kostya explained how 9/11 couldn’t have been an act of terrorism for a number of reasons, primarily including the justification of American forces in Iraq and the theory that al-Qaeda forces simply lacked the technology and skill necessary to commit such an act – the American government had to have committed the atrocity.  Instead of logically arguing those points, I went with my heart.  My counter-argument? There is no way in our American government that such an evil plot could have taken place.  Admittedly, the Bush administration had its flaws, including phony motives for its actions in the Middle East, but it is simply impossible that such an evil plot (and I repeated that specific phrase many times, either for emphasis, or more likely, due to my embarrassingly small vocabulary), but someone would have stood up and said something and prevented such an idea from ever being approved.  Our American government is flawed, but nonetheless righteous.  That was my argument.  I simply could not (cannot) believe that our leaders would have committed a crime of that degree of severity.  Then it hit me.  This reaction is painfully similar to reactions of Soviet Union citizens when they first learned of Stalin’s war crimes.  Disbelief.  Trust in their own leaders to make moral decisions.  When I read about their reactions, I thought, what poor naïve people!  They have been so brainwashed!  Oh, the power Stalin had over his citizens, and how he was able to warp his image so!  But here I am, an average American in the 21st century, thinking and arguing exactly the same thing!  Refusing to believe my government did something bad, out of the naïve impression that “we Americans, we just don’t do things like that to our people!”  To be honest, I still don’t believe in the conspiracy theories, but now I’m thinking about them in a whole new light, or at least I can better understand and relate to the mindset of Soviet citizens when they learned more about Stalin.

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