Counterpunchers stripped to their basic beliefs

Counterpunch is currently discussing a lot about conspiracy theories. Consider the following article "The American mind: When Historical Analysis is Reduced to Whim" by Hani Shukrallah. He develops three classical and purely semantic arguments to refute what he considers the most credible conspiracy theory he encountered to date. I suppose he discusses the arguments developped by the "Scholars for 9/11 truth". I propose the following refutations of these classic counter-arguments. Can you give me some feedback or impressions please ?

The first may be discounted as sheer pigheadedness. As soon as I learned of the attack on the World Trade Center twin towers, my first guess, accompanied by intense dread (I could already see the war of civilizations being launched), was that it was Bin Laden and Co. who'd done it. [...] Later developments, needless to say, seemed to amply confirm my initial guess. Your first argument is based on reminds of a post-traumatic stress.

In the wake of 9/11, you did accept as the truth the first "plausible" explanation of what might have caused this horrible event. Due to the strength of this initial stress, removing this based on faith explanation from your head is very hard, even with rational arguments such that: the official account cannot be true because such and such points are either self contradictory or contradictory with physics or beyond common sense. And indeed, you agree that this first argument is discountable as irrational, even tough you put it as a first item, which in itself reveals that this "faith based" argument is very important to you. You may conceal there is a fight between your guts and your head here.

The second reason for my skepticism is rather more compelling. I find it very difficult to believe that a secret on such a heinous and grandiose scale could be kept secret [...] And while I have few illusions about the greatness of American democracy, there is little doubt in my mind that the U.S.--despite the best efforts of the American Right--is in fact a democracy, however imperfect.

This second argument is classical one. Conspiracy impossible because it implies incredible scenarios and presents an unimaginable and shameful view of our leaders. The two cannot be more contradictory with History. Indeed, there are many examples of projects involving hundreds of persons that were kept secret until the achieved their goals like the Manhattan project that created the Atomic bomb or the Stealth F117 project. The fact that these projects are "morally acceptable" where 9/11 would not be is not relevant to analyse their feasibility: the key point is compartmentalization. Not every player has to know the bigger picture to contribute to the project. Also some heinous project were conceived and even accepted by military leaders like the "Northwoods operation" which goal was to blow a American airplane and to blame Cuba so as to declare war and invade Cuba: classical flase-flag operation.

Then you say: if they implemented such a horrible crime, then America is not a democracy anymore and since I believe it is still one, they could not have been involved in this crime. Let me argue this way: if in the wake of 9/11, I told you the PNAC did it and thus, reading their statements will reveal their later moves: seize middle eastern oil by declaring war to and invading Irak, Afghanistan and Iran, at that time, would you not have told me that this is just nuts and crazy and american democracy would never do this ? Well, now look what America has done ... America is still a democracy, at least formally, but that does not mean it is not on the path to fascism ... Perhaps fascism will be implemented only when needed, that is when dissent will really opposes power enough to really threaten their major objectives: secure middle eastern oilfields through military domination of the region before Peak Oil is just too "real" to just be denied anymore.

My third, and indeed, most compelling reason is that grand conspiracy theories present us with something in the nature of divine and/or other forms of supernatural intervention [...] and that the choices we make are exercises in futility.

This is a purely semantic argument that is mainly based on your perception of what might motivate those who believe in a conspiracy. I may return the argument to you : you also believe in the conspiracy of some Muslims, guided from caves in Afghanistan. Any rational thinking must conclude the that success of their operation should have involved some kind of supernatural intervention to paralyse FAA/NORAD and the Pentagone defense system. If you really think about what such a conspiracy would look like (how many people, what may have been their actions, and where were they settled, who are they), you may realise it may not be such an unimaginable and complex operation. But for this, you first have to "disbelieve" what fear (and those who master it) has hardwired into your brain on the wake of 9/11 : that a small number of muslims with very poor equipment and logistics realised what you think is impossible for powerful agents inside the american military and industrial complex to realise.

Cockburn in Berkeley (it hurts)
Monday October 2, CounterPunch in Berkeley, California

Neoliberal Destructions

Talk by P.Sainath and Alexander Cockburn
on Monday, Oct 2, 6pm
370 Dwinelle Hall
University of California, Berkeley

This is a good rebuttal.

This is a good rebuttal. Your reasoning is solid but I would recommend having someone edit it for spelling and grammar errors.

Sorry I am french

So if you do mind helping me, it would be nice ...

And I do not know how to send the reply to the author
or to counterpunch ...