Johnstown Flood vs. 9/11

I know that asking Dave Winer to check his facts is a bit like asking a dog not to bark, but . . .

I just finished the history of the Johnstown flood, by David McCullough. I was only peripherally aware of the event, but it was the biggest news in the US since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. More people died in the flood than on 9-11, and it was caused by human arrogance, the very richest Americans, including Andrew Carnegie.

According to the Johnstown Flood Museum, 2,209 people lost their lives in that tragedy.

On September 11, 2001, at least 2,985 people were killed as a result of a series of coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States.

The last time I checked, 2,985 > 2,209.

Ed Koch on Moron Protesters at 9/11 Memorial

Henry Hanks sent along a link to a CNN interview with Ed Koch today which starts off with this tidbit,

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let’s get some perspective now on New York City, how it’s been affected over the course of these past two years. And for that, I am joined by the former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch. He’s joining us live.

Mr. Mayor, once again, thank you very much for joining us. How has your beautiful city, a city so many of us love, no one more than you yourself, how has it changed?

ED KOCH, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: Well, the aftermath — the immediate aftermath we were overwhelmed with sorrow. Now, while we are still sorrowful, we are also proud of how we responded and how we are rebuilding.

And I will tell you that when I entered the area, there was a picket group that just revolted me, not very many. But they had a sign which said, “The Bush regime engineered 9/11.” It is such an outrage.

If anybody finds pictures of this, please e-mail me a link at brian@carnell.com

Source:

Interview With Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch. CNN, September 11, 2003.

Salon.Com Impressed by 9/11 Push Poll

This Salon.Com article attempts to draw all sorts of lessons over what is, to my mind, an obvious push poll. In January, Princeton Survey Research Associates asked 1,200 Americans this question,

To the best of your knowledge, how many of the September 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens?

Only 17 percent of respondents answered correctly that none of the hijackers were Iraqi. From this, the Salon writer concludes that the Bush administration’s plot to association with Saddam Hussein with Al Qaeda has been so effective, that less than two years after the most devestating terrorist attack in American history, Americans are confused about the basic facts of the attack.

This is ridiculous. The problem with this question is that many people who are asked it will simply assume that they are being told that Iraqi citizens were among the hijackers, and that they are simply being asked to supply the correct numbers of Iraqis.

I would be very surprised if the following two questions didn’t result in similar levels of misidentification,

To the best of your knowledge, how many of the September 11 hijackers were Libyan citizens?

To the best of your knowledge, how many of the September 11 hijackers were Palestinians?

To the best of your knowledge, how many of the September 11 hijackers were Afghanistan Citizens?

In fact, I’d guess that very large numbers would answer that at least one of the hijackers were Palestinian or Afghanistan citizens.

Salon.Com seems shocked that large numbers of Americans have not committed to memory the nationality of the 19 hijackers. But is it so surprising that 17 months later most people likely just remember that all of the hijackers were Middle Eastern men?

And from this poll we get a rehash of Marxist false consciousness,

It was Marx who described religion as the opiate of the people. Twentieth-first century Americans have television as a general anesthetic. Our collective attention deficit disorder — a disease of morbid intellectual laziness — has permitted the careful packaging of pseudo-information by Madison Avenue to assume an illusion of reality.

To the behavioral psychologist, the truth about the hijacker’s nationalities might seem a victim of a chronic state of inattention. Conditioning has rendered Americans hyper-responsive to emotional and sensory dynamics triggered by the news media, and relatively uninterested in intellectual content. Nobody understands this better than Rupert Murdoch, who has created an empire out of punchy anti-intellectualism. And few understand better how to use it to their advantage than the Bush White House. George W. Bush is, after all, the anti-intellectual’s president.

I’ve never understood why liberals and leftists resort to this argument since it is the classic elitist argument against democracy. If people are really as gullible as Salon thinks, then democracy is a hopeless project. We’d be better off asking the Salon.Com vanguard to rescue us from ourselves and the proletarian mobs.

9/11 Myths That Won’t Go Away

In a Washington Post story about the Bush administration designating Americans as combatants, the Post reporter writes,

Thanks to enforcement of “the wall” by FBI lawyers, they [administration officials] note, pre-Sept. 11 permission to search Moussaoui’s computer was not sought, a crucial missed opportunity to prevent the attacks.

Huh? According to statements by FBI director Robert Mueller, Moussaoi’s laptop contained a lot of information about crop dusting planes and ways to dispersion of pesticides, but there was nothing on his laptop that pertained directly to 9/11.

George Clooney Apparently Believes 9/11 Was an Accident, Not Terrorism

Henry Hanks, digs up this particularly bizarre quote from a Guardian interview,

The longer into the night we talk, the more serious he becomes. It’s 1am and a conversation about Three Kings and its comedic take on the ridiculousness of America’s involvement in the Gulf War segues into a discussion about America post 11 September. His view on his country is refreshing. ‘We live on an island. A giant big fucking island. We don’t understand that people actually get mad at us. We still think of ourselves in terms of WW2. It’s not uncommon for us to say to France, “Hey, you’d still be speaking German if it wasn’t for us.” The problem is the world has changed and our involvement in these tiny little places is different than it was in 1941. It was a lot clearer then. We were attacked.’

Apparently the 9/11 attacks were simply accidents. You know, crazy extremist Islamic terrorists out on a joy ride crash Dad’s hijacked passenger jet into the World Trade Center Towers.

Should We Have Sent the Ninjas After Al Qaeda?

Henry Hanks provides a link to one of the more bizarre 9/11-related stories. It seems a couple of Clinton-era National Security Council folks have written a book, Sacred Terror, which tries to portray the president as wanting to do nothing more than go after Al Qaeda, only to be foiled time and again by entrenched interests in the Pentagon.

But in their book, the former-NSC staffers make the mistake of outlining what they claim was a serious plan by Clinton to go after Al Qaeda,

He approached Gen. Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and said, according to the book, “It would scare the (expletive) out of al-Qaida if suddenly a bunch of black ninjas rappelled out of helicopters in to the middle of their camp. It would get us an enormous deterrence and show those guys we’re not afraid.”

The Pentagon feared a debacle similar to April 1980 when President Carter dispatched helicopters to Iran in hopes of rescuing 52 American hostages. The result was the incineration of two helicopters and the deaths of eight servicemen.

The authors suspect that Pentagon reservations about the Clinton plan ran deeper. The Pentagon, they point out, had an uneasy relationship with Clinton virtually from Day 1, when the White House began pushing to end discrimination against homosexuals by the military.

. . .

Clinton’s “black ninja” plan never got off the ground.

Okay, let me get this straight. Clinton suggested sending in the ninjas, and the reason the Pentagon dismissed the idea was not because it was (and is) completely nutty, but rather because they were still pissed about don’t ask, don’t tell?

Can you imagine the headlines if Bush made this sort of boneheaded proposal and it was leaked to the media?

And this is in a book intended to reassure us of Clinton’s competence in fighting terrorism?

Source:

Book Looks at Clinton Presidency: Clinton Had Little Success in Getting Pentagon, FBI to Pursue bin Laden Terror Network, Book Says. The Associated Press, November 13, 2002.