September 11, 2011

Flight 93

Jonathan Last makes an excellent point:
Despite the national memorial now emerging in Shanksville, I don’t think America has fully begun to appreciate where Flight 93 fits into the pantheon of great moments in American history. I’d argue that–for a host of reasons–it belongs somewhere in the same neighborhood as Little Round Top and Revere’s ride. It’s fitting that we mourn the World Trade Center and Pentagon dead on 9/11, but properly understood our commemorations every year should start there and build toward reverence and appreciation for the men and women of Flight 93. That field in Pennsylvania, not the hole in Manhattan, should be our enduring symbol of the day.

A bunch of yuppie strangers self-organized within minutes and not only saved the Capitol or the White House, but appear, a decade later, to have historically eliminated the strategic threat posed by airline hijacking for kamikaze purposes. For about two hours, the bad guys seemed to have invented an unstoppable new weapon, with who knows what dire long term consequences. But then it proved they were stoppable by unarmed frequent flyers. And, probably consequently, there haven’t been any kamikaze hijackings in America since Flight 93. And two would-be suicide bombers on airplanes have been disarmed by passengers in the years since.

As an old yuppie marketing researcher, I take pride in knowing that one of the heroes who rushed the cabin on Flight 93 was a marketing researcher whose boss on 9/11 had been my boss back in 1982.

101 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

"But then it proved they were stoppable by unarmed frequent flyers. And, probably consequently, there haven’t been any kamikaze hijackings in America since Flight 93."

I happen to believe the official story on Flight 93, but a huge number of people do not. Just a few weeks ago I had a real-life conversation with a guy who thinks that Flight 93 was shot down by the US military. All potential future hijackers come from low-trust cultures. If even large numbers of middle class white Americans don't believe the official story on this, why would any Yemenis, Saudis, etc. believe it? So if any of them were deterred by the failure of Flight 93 to reach its target, the deterrent in their minds would have most likely been the US military, not frequent fliers.

PA said...

Given the ignominous direction this country has turned since the 9-11 attacks, reading this post made me more proud to be an American that I had ever felt since that day 10 years ago.

dearieme said...

"Flight 93 fits into the pantheon of great moments in American history": nah, it was better than that - so many of the great moments in American history have been fiction; Flight 93 was real. Bless 'em all.

Anonymous said...

That may well have been the case on the flight, but it was urban yuppie liberals who gave us the politically correct order where we have to use codewords, suppress free speech, provide sanctuary cities for illegal aliens, push affirmative action that hurts rural poor whites, pushes the gay agenda down our throats, and etc. Most urban yuppies voted for Obama and will do so again in 2012. They are no friends of mine--at least most of them.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised you believe the story. How do they know what happened? The story sounds bogus to me like the Jessica Lynch story.

Anonymous said...

Also, a whole bunch of urban yuppies wanna take away the guns of poor whites who are protecting themselves and thir families from crime and illegal invasion.
Most yuppies are liberal globalists, and they follow in the footsteps of the global elites.

If we see globalism as losing our nation, the elites see it as gaining the world. We say 'we are losing America', but the globalist elites say, 'we are also gaining Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and East Asia as part of our globalist NWO empire.' And they sure rake in the dough while our wages remain stagnant.
Now, who are the FOOT SOLDIERS of the globalist elites? Urban yuppies, most of whom are liberal and Democratic.

Svigor said...

A triumph for rugged individualism over PC surrender?

The standard idea prior to 9/11 seemed to be that we should cooperate with violent men, particularly hostage-takers and hijackers. Give up our wallets and live another day. Didn't take the yuppies on flight 93 long to figure out that wasn't going to work.

I wonder how much psychological impetus 9/11 gave to gun rights?

Anon, terrorists show a pretty strong tendency toward honest assessments of reality when it comes to operational doctrine. There have been other instances of fliers taking matters into their own hands and subduing troublemakers on planes. I think the terrorists know box-cutters aren't going to do the trick any more.

Anonymous said...

Even an urban liberal yuppie will use violence to protect his family if black criminals or illegal alien thugs break into his home. But the same urban yuppie will have supported open borders and forced integration in the first place.
So, in a sense, what the yuppies faced on Flight 93 was the chicken coming home to roost.

Anonymous said...

I believe the US military shot the plane down. Scattered debris, cell phones don't work at that altitude, veterans on the ground heard a missle.

Whiskey said...

That is quite true. And also true is how little those men were honored, respected, valued. They fought, hard, and prevented something even worse. Yet, they're ignored. Their memorial is "the Crescent of Embrace" which looks like (because it is) an Islamic triumphal monument.

There was where America fought back, first. And the idea of fighting back has been suppressed. In favor of "tragedy" as though it was a natural disaster, and endless "let's understand the world" etc.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention reinforced cockpit doors.

Eric said...

For about two hours, the bad guys seemed to have invented an unstoppable new weapon, with who knows what dire long term consequences.

Nonsense. People behaved like sheep during a hijacking because it was their best chance at survival. If you'd acted out during a hijacking, when it was all over you'd likely have faced federal charges for not obeying the flight crew.

But the calculus changes instantly when the passengers know their lives are forfeit unless they regain control of the aircraft. The passengers found out on flight 93 because the hijackers were stupid and allowed them to use their cell phones.

If the jihadis had simply collected all the phones the passengers would have assumed the hijackers weren't interested in dying and they wouldn't have done anything. Flight 93 would have plowed into the White House or Capitol building and that would be that.

But flying today would be no different in that case than it is today - the fastest way to be torn to pieces by 300 strangers is to stand up and say "this is a hijacking". Because we have come to understand aggression is our best chance for survival.

William1066 said...

Excellent.

Anonymous said...

I had a real-life conversation with a guy who thinks that Flight 93 was shot down by the US military
i don't go for 'mossad did it' or
"inside job" theories but building 7 stragetic collapse and shooting down 93 are entirely reasonable.. even if it did happen it does not change the fact the guys tried to take the al-queda guys down...

Harry Baldwin said...

The problem is that the message of Flight 93 is not the message the government want us to recall. The spirit of Flight 93 is the spirit of American independence, and we're being conditioned to subservience.

Had Bush had his head screwed on right, he would have understood the 9/11 attack as primarily a border-control issue rather than a democracy-in-the-Middle-East issue. Wouldn't it have been great if he had seized the moment and declared that we needed a moratorium on immigration until we fixed our broken borders that let terrorists roam this country at will? Unfortunately, that was the farthest thing from his mind.

Anonymous said...

The memorial is a crescent of remembrance

Mike said...

Anyone who believes that a group of guys yelling "lets roll" took down flight 93 is short a few brain cells.

Even on the day this stood out as a weird event. We were shown a hole in a field and an almost complete absence of debris. This crash will have to go down as the only crash in history not to leave an extensive amount of debris. It is also the only crash in history to create a neat, circular hole in the ground (with nothing inside the hole!).

We were told that half the plane was apparently on their cell phones - using a cellular connection - calling their loved ones with goodbyes. Ever try to get connection in a jet? I have - over one hundred times since 9/11. Successful connections? Zero.

I have no idea what happened on this flight. I don't particularly care. I know, however, that the plane was not part of some Chuck Norris action by suit and tie wearing corporate drones.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

My brother, a very liberal humanities professor (but I repeat myself) also believes we have been fed a false story about Flight 93. I don't know how one reasons with that.

Daniel Gardner, in his Science of Fear, is quite forceful in noting that we overrated the terrorists capabilities. With all that money and a fair number of fanatics to draw upon, they essentially succeeded only by discovering a loophole in the system - that Americans had been instructed not to resist hijackings. After that, all it was was a coupla boxcutters, a few flight lessons, and finding flight information on the internet. All this stuff about bin Laden's engineering degree blinded us to the obvious: two-bit thugs got lucky, as evidenced by the spontaneous organization that immediately thwarted them.

Anonymous said...

Great post Steve. Easy to speculate in retrospect that the heroes on Flight 93 simply took the only logical course open to them given what they had learned on their cell phones about the kamikaze nature of the hijackers. Imagine organizing this within minutes based on what must have been fragmentary information, and having the guts to carry out a plan of action. Taking down the Capitol Building or the White House would have had far more symbolic and actual consequences than destroying the World Trade Center, horrific as that was.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

If the jihadis had simply collected all the phones the passengers would have assumed the hijackers weren't interested in dying and they wouldn't have done anything. Flight 93 would have plowed into the White House or Capitol building and that would be that.

I think that's an unlikely event on a already hijacked plane, for either sending or receiving calls. The hijackers would have to search people thoroughly, which would take time, leave them open to attack and raise suspicion. Add in the fact that the hijackers had killed the pilots and couldn't really fly. I think they still have those phones built into the back of the seat as well.

Everyone on Flight 93 understood that the rules had changed, and adjusted their actions accordingly. Quite amazing how it happened. I'm sure you could map Colonel John Boyd's OODA loops to the events of 9/11.

Did we ever get an official reason why Flight 93's voice tapes were never released?

I am Lugash.

Anonymous said...

"People behaved like sheep during a hijacking because it was their best chance at survival."

Not so for Richard Reid and Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab.

ironrailsironweights said...

What was ironic about Flight 93 is that the resistance did not directly save any lives. Both the Capitol and the White House, the likely targets, had been evacuated.

Peter

Mitch said...

As an old yuppie marketing researcher, I take pride in knowing that one of the heroes who rushed the cabin on Flight 93 was a marketing researcher whose boss was my boss back in 1982.

I agree with every word you wrote, and I remember when Jon Last first wrote about the importance of Flight 93, back 10 years ago. I agreed with it then, too.

I feel pride in them as an American, but I feel an extra surge of pride because these were my people. They weren't just corporate white collar folks, but they were, for the most part, Bay Area corporate white collar folks. It's an "in your face" moment to the rest of the red state world and their disdain for all things California.

And I have always felt as certain as I could that any group of similar people would have done the same thing. Yay America and yay us. (okay, I'm a teacher now, but I was in corporate IT and consulting for 15 years, and it's still what I self-identify as.)

On a related note--I have always been pleased that the movie United 93 is exponentially superior than the star powered Oliver Stone vehicle, World Trade Center. Part of it is just filmmaking, but part of it, I think, is that the story of flight 93 captures the essence of 9/11.

Anonymous said...

"Because we have come to understand aggression is our best chance for survival."


I hope you are right.

That is what I am teaching my sons.

Anonymous said...

I happen to believe the official story on Flight 93, but a huge number of people do not.

In August or September, 2002, I read an article in a UK paper (either the Independent or Guardian, I think) which quoted the coroner of Somerset County as expressing doubts about the official story (I believe at that time, since it was an unclosed murder case, he was in charge of the crime scene at the time of the article).

He sited cargo/mail found several miles away over a ridge as being inconsistent with a point impact. I think there were other reasons he gave, too. He said something along the lines of 'I don't really know what happened here'. I've never been able to get past that article to believe the official story.

Let me say I'm not one to go around saying Dick Cheney was in his bunker flying the planes remotely. But I've got much bigger problems with the official Pentagon story: Hani Hanjour, abnormally bad pilot (www.nytimes.com/2002/05/04/national/04ARIZ.html), is able to execute a crazy manouver that would seem to be difficult for a skilled pilot.

I could be persuaded on Hanjour, but it's always surprised me that no one ever questions this aspect of the story. At the very least, it's an example of an incurious and ineffective media which simply puts out the quickest, easiest content to avoid having to do any real digging.

Fred said...

Bill Clinton made a similar point in his speech at Shanksville yesterday.

Maybe a lesson from United 93 is that more of America's problems should be left to self-organizing yuppie men. Of the two most successful strikes against Al Qaeda in the last ten years, one (this year) was by a highly trained SEAL team, and the other by self-organizing yuppies. In between, a trillion dollars was wasted.

Two fighter planes were scrambled to take down United 93, but they weren't armed -- they were supposed to ram it. But the passengers took it down before they fighters ever found it. There was a story on Yahoo about them over the weekend; one of the pilots was a woman, one of the first female fighter pilots.

Anonymous said...

The next major airline hijacking, if such a thing happens, will involve guns smuggled aboard the airplane. The passengers will be able to do nothing to stop it. The powers that be understand this, so the most important changes that were made after 9/11 were the reinforcing of the cockpit doors, undercover sky marshals, and the arming of (at least some) pilots. With any luck they may also have taken some less publicized steps that might prove effective against hihackers with guns.

Anonymous said...

United 93 was a phenomenal movie.

How anyone can doubt the events is beyond me.

Let's Roll was a freaking great battle cry.

What happened to the pilots? Were they stabbed to death? I still don't know.

Dan in DC

Anonymous said...

I agree with Harry Baldwin 100%. All of the hijackers were "visa-overstayers"- essentially illegal aliens and criminal trespassers. They were let in on the "visa fast-track" program then in place with Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries. All of these countries are culturally alien and deeply hostile to America. With a sane, discriminatory (that is to say PREFERENTIAL) immigration policy, none of the people from these countries would ever set foot on our land. Nor was anything done to find them and round them up, let alone deport them, when they, (along with god knows how many others) "overstayed" their visas, (also known as simply deciding not to go home.) Again, pre-1965, I just don't think this would/could have happened. Bush would have served his country FAR BETTER, had he simply ended all immigration, worked on fixing the border and begun deporting illegals, then his ludicrous, godforsaken war in Iraq. He actually got more Americans killed then died on 9/11.

Anonymous said...

The next major airline hijacking, if such a thing happens, will involve guns smuggled aboard the airplane. The passengers will be able to do nothing to stop it.


Probably easier to stow away on a cargo plane and then hijack it. Or a Fedex / UPS plane.

Anonymous said...

"Bush would have served his country FAR BETTER, had he simply ended all immigration, worked on fixing the border and begun deporting illegals, then his ludicrous, godforsaken war in Iraq. He actually got more Americans killed then died on 9/11."

I'm with you and HB.

This is exactly the reason my "moral instinct" kicked in. We have sent soldier after soldier to die in some nebulous war on terror yet never took the first step to secure our homeland. This does not compute logically or morally.

Aaron in Israel said...

Absolutely agree that we should be celebrating their heroism more. But to be fair, they have been celebrated, since 9/11, as America's first fighters in the "war on terror."

Another commenter already made another of my points, that it probably didn't have much to do with future kamikaze hijacking. Cockpits would have started being secured (some airlines already secure cockpits for decades) even if passengers on Flight 93 hadn't done anything.

Another angle is women fighter pilots, without whom we might not have heard this whole story. (Would the Washington Post have interviewed a male pilot? In the Lifestyle section?)

Anyway, here's the lesson we learn from the Washington Post article: don't give women in the military too much responsibility! I quote:

Penney had never scrambled a jet before. Normally the pre-flight is a half-hour or so of methodical checks. She automatically started going down the list.

“Lucky, what are you doing? Get your butt up there and let’s go!” Sasseville shouted.


What if both pilots had been women? In another scenario, they could have been carefully completing their pre-flight checklist just as Flight 93 hit the Capitol.

Anonymous said...

I feel pride in them as an American, but I feel an extra surge of pride because these were my people. They weren't just corporate white collar folks, but they were, for the most part, Bay Area corporate white collar folks. It's an "in your face" moment to the rest of the red state world and their disdain for all things California.

Calm down, Mitch. I think most Americans were rooting for the Californians over the terrorists.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"I believe the US military shot the plane down. Scattered debris, cell phones don't work at that altitude, veterans on the ground heard a missle."

Y'all check your facts much? 35 of the 37 calls placed from United 93 passengers were from the 757's airphones, which are designed to make such calls. Todd Beamer's famous battle cry, "Let's roll," was overheard by a GTE operator he had been speaking to, not his wife.

And there were enough eyewitness accounts from Shanksville to staisfy any sane person that the plane crashed.

Harry Baldwin said...

Bush would have served his country FAR BETTER, had he simply ended all immigration, worked on fixing the border and begun deporting illegals, then his ludicrous, godforsaken war in Iraq.

I would go so far as to say that had Bush done so he would be remembered as a great president, rather than one of the worst in our history. He had a unique opportunity to define the 9/11 attack as what it was--an immigration/border control crisis--and then set the agenda that would have put America on a sane course. Who would have dared oppose him had he framed the issue in that way? It would have been wildly popular with the American people, the NYT and NPR be damned.

He should have done the six-month mop-up in Afghanistan, but no multi-trillion dollar wars and no upping the visas for Saudi students.

But Bush is Bush, wrong-headed in every way, so we are doomed. I don't believe in hell, but I would like to think that the enormity of the harm he inflicted on this country might sink into his brain before it totally atrophies.

Anonymous said...

"But the calculus changes instantly when the passengers know their lives are forfeit unless they regain control of the aircraft. The passengers found out on flight 93 because the hijackers were stupid and allowed them to use their cell phones."

Exactly, they knew they were dead anyway, so they might as well try to do something.

It's like making that pilot who landed the plane in the Hudson out to be a hero. He did a good job but he was on the plane so he had to do something or he would die. He didn't volunteer to get on the plane after he new there was a problem. Now that would be a hero.
I think there was an old Airport movie with that scenario.

ben tillman said...

For about two hours, the bad guys seemed to have invented an unstoppable new weapon, with who knows what dire long term consequences. But then it proved they were stoppable by unarmed frequent flyers.

Too bad the government then shot them down.

Anonymous said...

Also for the historical record, two of the four heros who stormed the terrorists were star RUGBY players. In a population with very few rugby players.

Anonymous said...

Was it such a victory Steve?

Perhaps the White House wasn't destroyed but all the Yuppies (and all the hijackers - but that was their intention) died and terror was spread.

The only moral lesson to come out of the spate of airplane hi-jackings and deliberate crashings of 9/11 was that it reaffirmed to anyone with a brain (of course that doesn't include the entire US poliical class), the great bonum that would accrue from a system of unashamed, deliberate racial discrimination targetted against swarthy men from south and west Asia.Also it would have been a damned good excuse for banning the immigration and visiting 'rights' of such types.
But of course this was never done.
Todd Beamer's body lies 100s of feet below a Pennsylvania field along with tangled aircraft wreckage, the irony is his sacrifice did nothing to save himself or other white American sheep, but it saved the politicians who have instituted post-1965 immigration policies.

Anonymous said...

I wonder just how the passenger attack was organized.

It would seem to me that in the narrow aisles of a jetliner any more than five people attempting an assault would be counterproductive. This might be related to why five hijackers were assigned per plane. A fighting force of three or four deep with box cutters would probably be able to defend the cockpit against even a hundred charging passengers.

An effective countermeasure for the passengers might be to ram the defending terrorists with a meal cart propelled by four or five people. Put a guy or two on it for added mass, perhaps. If the attack is launched from economy, the curtains add the element of surprise.

Another effective countermeasure: throw feces and vomit bags filled with urine at the highjackers before an attack. With 50 terrified people on board you could probably stock up on "munitions" in less than a half hour.

Also, I've been thinking about what the unarmed F16 pilots who took off from DC to intercept Flight 93 could have done to stop the flight. With there extreme maneuvarability perhaps they could have come from behind and above and lit their afterburners to blast out the cockpit windows.

John said...

For a time when there was a video camera in every 7-11, there is some curiously missing evidence: any videos of hijackers, contiguous with the other passangers (and preferably with the date/time stamps unaltered), boarding the planes or even going through security.

We have no incontrovertible evidence that there were even any hijackers, much less that the hijackers are the purported ones.

Simon in London said...

Flight 93 was kind of an airline Thermopylae. And those 300 Spartans had trained their whole lives for that moment. Those men on Flight 93 had to do it all from scratch.

Of course it's understandable that the dominant Left sees taking any pride in what those passengers - all white American men, AFAIK - did that day as abhorrent. They don't want us to fight back. They want u s to die.

jack strocchi said...

Steve S. said:

A bunch of yuppie strangers self-organized within minutes and not only saved the Capitol or the White House, but appear, a decade later, to have historically eliminated the strategic threat posed by airline hijacking for kamikaze purpose.

The the passengers of Flight 93 showed that the spirit of the Minutemen was still abroad in the land.

They launched America's first successful counter-attack in the War on Terrorism and their spontaneous order is shows why America became the world's most successful nation.

Hayek dedicated the Constitution of Liberty “To the unknown civilization that is growing in America”. That is, to the basic organizing principle of America, which is spontaneous self-organization into co-operative teams. ie individualism sythesised into institutionalism.

In combination their the combination of rebel "death or glory" and good-old fashioned Yankee know-how show why America would be one hell of a tough nut to crack in a war on the homeland. As the British Empire found to its cost.

Anonymous said...

When I can believe that the steel cores in WTC7 all melted at exactly the same time, causing it to fall just like a controlled demolition would cause it to fall, I'll believe the rest of the story.

Simon in London said...

ironrailsironweights:
"What was ironic about Flight 93 is that the resistance did not directly save any lives. Both the Capitol and the White House, the likely targets, had been evacuated.

Peter"

Well I expect a few extra people would still have been killed, not to mention the loss of an historic landmark.

In practice the likeliest effect was that it saved the US military from having to shoot down a US passenger plane. While they were nowhere near intercepting Flight 93 at the time it crashed, they were ready and able to shoot it down before it reached DC, and would have done so.

Simon in London said...

Calling the passengers 'yuppies' might be a bit misleading. The average US plane commuter is not a SWPL type, they're mostly private sector businessmen. I've flown DC-Nashville, Chicago-Nashville, Toronto-Nashville etc a fair few times. Those good ole boys in the other seats might be 'yuppies', but by God I wouldn't want to be the terrorist who messed with them!

Simon in London said...

anon:
"The next major airline hijacking, if such a thing happens, will involve guns smuggled aboard the airplane. The passengers will be able to do nothing to stop it"

Unarmed Israelis have frequently overcome Arab terrorists armed with guns - including assault rifles, not just the pistols you might be able to get aboard a plane. Often they lose one or two guys, but that's better than all being dead.

It's much more about the mindset than the weaponry. Believe you're helpless, and you're helpless. That's how lone gunman Anders Breivik could kill nearly 90 people on Utoya. Frankly it's how Nidal Hassan could kill 15 at Fort Worth, although he did have the advantage of knowing the terrain well.

Simon in London said...

anon:
"Calm down, Mitch. I think most Americans were rooting for the Californians over the terrorists."

His 'in your face' comment was not nice, but he's entitled to take some pride in the actions of fellow Californians; clearly not all of whom are panty-waisted thespians.

Nota said...

I assume the official story is true, but the long history of the USG lying to create propaganda-friendly stories in the news (see Tillman and Lynch) means it's not inconceivable that either we shot it down or the hijackers plowed into the ground through incompetence, and then the PR folks got busy making us a happy story to tell.

NOTA said...

The clever bit of the 9/11 attacks was using the normal procedures in a hijacking against us. Those procedures were well suited for dealing with hijackers who wanted to make a media statement, just not hijackers who wanted to use the plane they were hijacking as a weapon. That's why they had to do all the attacks the same day--once this attack worked, the standard procedures were guaranteed to change. And in fact, assuming the official story on flight 93 is correct, the effective procedures followed by passengers did change before the final attack could be carried through. If someone ever tries this kind of attack again, they will either exploit the current procedures and passenger reactions, or they will be torn to shreds by the passengers after being bounced off the ceiling by the pilots.

DanJ said...

What Eric said above.

Before 9/11 sheepish behaviour was indeed the best bet for hijacked passengers to survive. Stay put, and let the hijackers exchange passengers and plane for money/political gain/comrades in prison. The risk was lowest that way .

This has all changed completely now, and the extraordinary thing about the passengers of flight 93 is that they understood the established rules had changed and acted immediately.

Oddly enough, the hijackings of 9/11 all but ended "traditional" hijackings, as passengers from now on will fight like animals to subdue any hijackers. This message of flight 93 is probably lost on suicidal jihadists, but any prospective hijacker with rational objectives did get the point.

Anonymous said...

Two fighter planes were scrambled to take down United 93, but they weren't armed -- they were supposed to ram it.

Thats the biggest load Ive read yet about 9/11.

I simply dont believe it.

Since at least the beginning of the Cold War the USAF has had armed fighters in the air or on the ground at readiness 24/7.

Memorial to Religion of Peace said...

From Wiki:

The winning design chosen to memorialize the heroes and victims of 9/11’s Flight 93 is in the shape of a red crescent that looks—either accidentally or intentionally—remarkably like an Islamic crescent. ...[A]n azimuthal equidistant world map ... seems to indicate that the crescent is oriented toward Mecca.

Dutch Boy said...

My son summed up the whole thing succintly: "This whole 911 thing has become a cult."

Carol said...

"And there were enough eyewitness accounts from Shanksville to staisfy any sane person that the plane crashed."

Eyewitness testimony is not sufficient! Except in court, and history books, and stuff.

Is this oh-so-shrewed skepticism shit some sort of offshoot of postmodernism?

Marc B said...

I'm not claiming to know what really happened on flight 93, but the plane was first reported shot down by a squadron of Air Force fighters on cable news (I was watching the news that day and saw that report myself, in real time), the scattered debris stretched for more than a mile, and cell phones didn't transmit calls in airplane cabins at cruising altitudes in 2001. I understand why the government would have preferred not to report shooting down a civilian aircraft in terms of preserving the national morale, but the official story has a few holes.

Anonymous said...

G. Gordon Liddy recommends a sharp number two pencil.

Goatweed

SGOTI said...

"Also for the historical record, two of the four heros who stormed the terrorists were star RUGBY players. In a population with very few rugby players."

Half of whom were gay!

Paul Mendez said...

I am glad to see that the American public school system has been so successful in stomping out all admiration for heroes and heroic deeds.

The large number of posters who cynically believe the passengers of Flight 93 were helpless victims of a government conspiracy would make the Frankfurt School proud.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"It's like making that pilot who landed the plane in the Hudson out to be a hero. He did a good job but he was on the plane so he had to do something or he would die."

It wasn't that Sullenberger was a hero, it's that he pulled off an extremely difficult water landing in a large commercial craft, for which most pilots are not expected to train. He was also, appropriately, the last person off the plane. He was prepared, he executed the landing perfectly, and he kept his cool.

"Also for the historical record, two of the four heros who stormed the terrorists were star RUGBY players."

We don't even really know the number of heroes who were on board. We know that Burnett, Glick, Bingham and Beamer (the latter two both alum of the same high school, Los Gatos) indicated on phone calls they were going to storm the cabin. That doesn't mean that others didn't join them. I would wager that all of the able-bodied men were involved, and maybe even some of the women.

Eric Rasmusen said...

Also important for the idea that non-government resistance is what matters is the Washington Post story at http://goo.gl/a8wpd from which it seems that:

1. It would have taken an hour to get any US aircraft armed and ready to defend Washington DC.

2. There was NO plan for how to defend Washington DC on short notice.

3. The Air Force did not ask the woman pilot to volunteer for the kamikaze mission-- she was just commanded to do it. The Japanese kamikazes were all volunteers, with no pressure to volunteer and with lots of time to think about the decision.

4. The impromptu plan was for one fighter to crash into the cockpit and one into the tail, rather than one to crash into the cockpit and the other the wing, or, clearly best of all, one to crash into the cockpit and the other to crash into the cockpit too if the first one didn't bring down the jetliner.

5. The woman pilot had never "scrambled" a fighter before, taking off without doing 1/2 hour of pre-flight checks.

6. It seems nobody was punished for items 1-5.

The reporter could have gotten lots of things wrong, of course, but...

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"He had a unique opportunity to define the 9/11 attack as what it was--an immigration/border control crisis"

I wouldn't say he should have shut down all immigration, but he certainly should have shut down Muslim immigration, repatriated non-citizen Muslims, and stepped up border security in general. As it was the post-9/11 wars strike me as almost a diversionary tactic We had to do something, and the open borders freaks and their goon George W. Bush knew that if it wasn't a war it was going to be immigration. So Bush hyped the wars.

The American people got screwed, lost our privacy, and were handed a trillion dollar tab for two wars, rather than spending a few ten billions on border control. The American people now have fewer freedoms than the illegals and dual-citizens living in our midst.

So face it: Osama won. America is dead, or soon will be.

S.Anonyia said...

"I feel pride in them as an American, but I feel an extra surge of pride because these were my people. They weren't just corporate white collar folks, but they were, for the most part, Bay Area corporate white collar folks. It's an "in your face" moment to the rest of the red state world and their disdain for all things California."

Wtf Mitch, it says more about you than the "red state" Americans of your imagination that one of the first things that comes to mind is the opportunity for an "in your face!" moment.

Anonymous said...

"We were told that half the plane was apparently on their cell phones - using a cellular connection - calling their loved ones with goodbyes. Ever try to get connection in a jet? I have - over one hundred times since 9/11. Successful connections? Zero."

Is this true? I've seen people using cellphones on jets(though they were not supposed to).

Anonymous said...

"It's like making that pilot who landed the plane in the Hudson out to be a hero. He did a good job but he was on the plane so he had to do something or he would die."

It doesn't bother me that the media has turned Sullenberger into a hero. What bothers me more is this business of turning Rep. Gabrielle Giffords into a hero, merely for having been shot by a an alleged "right wing extremist."

No report I heard of the shooting indicated that Giffords acted bravely, or even had any time to react at all. But Giffords, should she choose to do so, is probably guaranteed a safe re-election for 60 years thanks to her "heroism."

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"cell phones didn't transmit calls in airplane cabins at cruising altitudes in 2001"

For the last fracking time, the vast majority of documented phone calls from United 93 were made via GTE airphones - you know, the ones built into the seatback with a built-in credit card reader. Todd Beamer's conversation with a GTE operator was a widely reported story.

Hasn't anyone here ever flown on an airplane?

NOTA said...

Paul:

The only relevant question is the question of fact: what happened? Which demons, real or imagined, would be happy or sad to hear the best conclusions I can come to about that question? Who gives a fuck? Reality isn't made up of questions whose answers are given by deciding which answer is the one preferred by the good guys. This is as true of what happened on flight 93 as it is about whether blacks and whites have a important difference in average IQ, or whether human CO2 emissions are driving changes to the climate big enough to care about, or whether there are a finite or infinite number of primes.

When your thinking about questions of fact raises moral or tribal issues or feelings in your mind, that's a symptom that you're in the process of sabotaging your mind for other goals.

Anonymous said...

completely agreed. One of these guys was a gay athlete rugby player.

not a hacker said...

Nothing said here changes the fact that if I, a passenger on American tomorrow, make a prophylactic grab for an arab guy who's acting hinky, I'm going to be charged with a felony if I turn out to be wrong. That I say I felt threatened will count for nothing, so long as the crew says they didn't notice anything untoward.

Anonymous said...

One of these guys was a gay athlete rugby player.

A rugby player?

Anonymous said...

I'm not claiming to know what really happened on flight 93

Then shut up.

but the plane was first reported shot down by a squadron of Air Force fighters on cable news (I was watching the news that day and saw that report myself, in real time)


There were a lot of mistaken news reports that day. I saw one which said that there were several other hijacked planes still in the air. It's called "the fog of war".


the scattered debris stretched for more than a mile

As one would expect.

and cell phones didn't transmit calls in airplane cabins at cruising altitudes in 2001.

Yes, they did.

Anonymous said...

In August or September, 2002, I read an article in a UK paper (either the Independent or Guardian, I think) which quoted the coroner of Somerset County as expressing doubts about the official story (I believe at that time, since it was an unclosed murder case, he was in charge of the crime scene at the time of the article).

He sited cargo/mail found several miles away over a ridge as being inconsistent with a point impact.



1) Don't believe anything you read in British newspapers.

2) What the hell does "the coroner of Somerset County" know about plane crashes?

3) Do yourself and the world a favor and read before writing.

Anonymous said...

yes, a rugby player.

Anonymous said...

Unarmed Israelis have frequently overcome Arab terrorists armed with guns - including assault rifles, not just the pistols you might be able to get aboard a plane. Often they lose one or two guys, but that's better than all being dead.

Really? Frequently? I've never heard of this, and I find it difficult to believe. Can you link to any examples?

As for the airplane scenario: Imagine two guys (or possibly more) with concealed high capacity pistols casually walking up to the front of a 747, then opening up like Colin Ferguson on the LIRR. There would be total panic. Unless they were extremely unlucky, they would kill or incapacitate anyone close to them right away, and from that point on, even if there were hundreds of passengers, they would be nearly untouchable. Anyone trying to rush down the aisles (or over the seats) would be a sitting duck, and their bodies would hinder anyone behind them. I really don't see any hope here, other than an armored cockpit door, and good guys with guns.

Anonymous said...

"I wouldn't say he should have shut down all immigration, but he certainly should have shut down Muslim immigration, repatriated non-citizen Muslims, and stepped up border security in general."


I watched a PBS show on 2 American guys who followed Marco Polo's trip. They were on a container ship trying to get into India and the immigration officials kept them on the ship for several days because they didn't want to let them in the country. They eventually allowed them in for 3 days. Like Americans want to illegally immigrate to India. Contrast that with the idiots in our govt who let anybody in knowing that millions want to come to this country.

Anonymous said...

As for the airplane scenario: Imagine two guys (or possibly more) with concealed high capacity pistols casually walking up to the front of a 747, then opening up like Colin Ferguson on the LIRR. There would be total panic

Not to mention explosive decompression and dead terrorists.

Harry Baldwin said...

Captain Jack Aubrey said... I wouldn't say he should have shut down all immigration, but he certainly should have shut down Muslim immigration . . .

It would be easier to sell a near-total immigration moratorium than a Muslim-only immigration moratorium, as the latter could be assailed as discriminatory, the only surviving mortal sin under liberalism.

Anyway, it's not clear to me why a nation with a claimed 9-plus percent unemployment rate, and an actual one probably much higher, feels the need to admit a million or so legal immigrants a year. An immigration moratorium based on our current economic situation would be a winning issue politically.

Anonymous said...

"When I can believe that the steel cores in WTC7 all melted at exactly the same time, causing it to fall just like a controlled demolition would cause it to fall, I'll believe the rest of the story."

I believe the accepted theory is that when the floor beams weakened and bent, they no longer constrained the vertical shell beams holding up the floors.

The vertical beams then buckled simultaneously, releasing several floors, which fell, bending more floors, leading to massive buckling moving at the speed of shear waves in steel, releasing all floors.

Seems perfectly reasonable and fits the observations

Robert Hume

Anonymous said...

Not to mention explosive decompression and dead terrorists.

Explosive decompression has been vastly oversold as a risk. It may be theoretically possible, but given the numerous cases where airplanes have landed safely with gaping rips in their fuselages, I don't think poking a couple of pencil sized holes comes anywhere close to an automatic death sentence. (Are there any documented instances at all of explosive decompression from bullets actually bringing down an airplane?) Plus, the hijackers might be able to acquire the same sort of non-penetrating ammunition that the sky marshals use, and that would reduce the risk even further. All in all, hardly a show-stopper.

Mitch said...

Good lord, you people live in Bizarro World. Earlier this summer I went on a fantastic two week driving tour of Mississippi and Alabama. I own a great house in North Carolina. In short, I love the South, and I have no issues with red states.

I do, however, get a bit tired of all the idiots declaring California a sissified bunch of whiny losers. And so, in the midst of the overall pride I feel in all the people who fought the terrorists on Flight 93, and the additional pride I feel in the fact that white collar workers took on the terrorists (not just the quartet of Beamer, Bingham, Burnett and Glick, but also the marketing rep Grandcolas, the retail store manager Wainio,BMW corporate manager Gronlund, business consultant DeLuca, and so on), I also feel proud that so many of these heroes were Californians.

I don't know why everyone's so fussed by "in your face". Did it suddenly become a deadly insult?

Steve Sailer said...

Everybody from Northern California is a wimp, like Pat Tillman.

NOTA said...

As long as the cockpit doors are closed and/or ATC notified of any hijacking attempts, the airplane can only be brought down by terrorists on it, not turned into a bomb with which to hit anything else. Which brings us back to 9/10--if you want to kill a bunch of people on the ground, you have to come up with something other than a passenger airplane to do it with.

Anonymous said...

Are there any documented instances at all of explosive decompression from bullets actually bringing down an airplane?

There are essentially no documented cases of guns being fired inside pressurized aircraft at high altitude, so it's hardly a surprise that there is a shortage of instances of aircraft being brought down in those circumstances.

And unless out would-be hijackers have been training on top of Mt Everest, even normal non-explosive decompression is going to render them unconsciouss.

Mr. Anon said...

I can imagine few things more idiotic than ordering an F-16 pilot to ram a jet airliner. (Gee, skipper, I really tried, but - you know - I couldn't quite catch it). If any such order was given, the person who gave it should have been stripped of rank and cashiered. It is not only stupid, it is immoral. Demanding suicidal efforts (not just extremely dangerous, but out-and-out suicidal) of one's soldiers is something characteristic of oriental despots, not military officers in a free republic.

James Kabala said...

"We were shown a hole in a field and an almost complete absence of debris."

"The scattered debris stretched for more than a mile."

"He sited [sic] cargo/mail found several miles away over a ridge as being inconsistent with a point impact."

Looks as if the skeptics need to get their story straight.

Anonymous said...

And unless out would-be hijackers have been training on top of Mt Everest, even normal non-explosive decompression is going to render them unconsciouss.

You aren't going to get much decompression through a couple of bullet holes. Blowing out an entire window would probably do it, but that wouldn't be easy, even with guns. And again, there are special low-penetration self-defense cartridges you can buy that would be even less likely to cause problems for the plane. To actually open up a dangerous hole in the fuselage really requires a rather significant explosion (which is the effect the clothing bombers were going for).

I'm not saying the risk from decompression is zero, but it's much lower than people have been led to believe, and not nearly enough to stop people who are already engaged in a high-stakes suicide mission. (And actually, wouldn't bringing down an airplane carrying several hundred infidels be enough in itself to earn them their virgins?) All in all, they're going to be a lot more worried about the possibility of someone on the plane shooting back at them than the purely theoretical risk of decompression.

However as someone pointed out earlier, hijacking a cargo plane might be a lot easier. So how big are cargo planes typically, and how much fuel do they carry? Are they comparable to big passenger jets?

Simon in London said...

anon:
"Really? Frequently? I've never heard of this, and I find it difficult to believe. Can you link to any examples?"

Frequent was probably an example - I used to read examples of this every few years it seemed in the '80s and '90s, but not recently. I think Israeli tourists etc just aren't being captured in Egypt, India etc any more. Maybe they avoid those countries now?

And I accept that a well trained squad (at least 2 men, one covering the others' reloads) of terrorists with handguns whose goal was to *crash* an airliner certainly could do so against even stout passenger resistance. What they can't do is *capture* the airliner.

Simon in London said...

Mitch:
"I don't know why everyone's so fussed by "in your face". Did it suddenly become a deadly insult?"

We have high standards of decorum in these parts, Mitch!

(I meet a fair few Californians socially, and they do seem to have terrible potty mouths. Just sayin'.)

Chris said...

I don't think Ground Zero should have much commemoration at all (there's nothing to commemorate except that people die senselessly because of evil).

The field near Shanksville is our answer to the Mucien Meadows and our youths should know Flight 93 like the Romans knew Scaevola.

Anonymous said...

When I can believe that the steel cores in WTC7 all melted at exactly the same time

Stupid troofer.  They don't melt.  They don't need to.  They just get soft enough that the floors sag down on the floors below (you can see this sagging in the videos from the day).  When enough sagging floors are sitting on one intact floor, it breaks and then it all comes down on the next one like a hammer.  And the next one.  And the next, all the way down.

Enough bridges with steel heavier than in any WTC floor have fallen from gasoline tanker fires since 9/11 to prove that the central troofer idea is nonsense.  But troofers won't put two and two together, because troofers are stupid and prefer conspiracy theories to facts and reasoning.

Anonymous said...

Decompression works in the favor of the airliner.  Suppose terrorists get to the locked cabin door.  While the pilot flying bounces them off the ceiling with negative-G maneuvers, the other shuts off cockpit pressurization and opens the exhaust valves.  The pilots go on oxygen, but there is no oxygen away from the seats.  The hijackers, being the ones exerting themselves hardest, are the first to black out as the pressure drops.

The hijackers would wake up with their wrists tied with belts, shoelace garrotes ready to kill them, and big men sitting on them to keep them from even thinking about it.  And if I were on that airplane, all their fingers would be broken too.

Anonymous said...

You aren't going to get much decompression through a couple of bullet holes.

Not from a "couple", no. But you were talking about multiple hijackers with hi-cap mags in their guns shooting at a lot of passengers. I think you'd end up with more than just a couple of holes.

Fire off enough bullets and you might even sever a control cable or hydraulic line.

Anonymous said...

However as someone pointed out earlier, hijacking a cargo plane might be a lot easier. So how big are cargo planes typically, and how much fuel do they carry? Are they comparable to big passenger jets?

They are big passenger jets, basically, with the seating area removed. (Boeing makes a cargo version of the 747.) Though many of them are older, smaller jets which were taken out of passenger service.

Anonymous said...

Demanding suicidal efforts (not just extremely dangerous, but out-and-out suicidal) of one's soldiers is something characteristic of oriental despots, not military officers in a free republic.

You don't know much about war.

Anonymous said...

But troofers won't put two and two together, because troofers are stupid and prefer conspiracy theories to facts and reasoning.

Trouble is there are so many other problems with events of the day. Weird goings on, strange coincidences..

OK, so the towers collapsed as you say, not a controlled demolition, because of the fires. What about WTC7? That looks exactly like a controlled demolition.

And so on....

Anonymous said...

OK, so the towers collapsed as you say, not a controlled demolition, because of the fires. What about WTC7? That looks exactly like a controlled demolition.

The video interview from the day said that the firefighters were withdrawing because it wasn't safe to remain in the building.

Uncontrolled fire (remember, diesel generators and fuel tanks in WTC7).  Steel-framed building.  Same as WTC1 and WTC2.  STUPID TROOFER, PUTTING CONSPIRACY THEORY AHEAD OF FACTS AND REASONING!

Anonymous said...

Trouble is there are so many other problems with events of the day. Weird goings on, strange coincidences..

OK, so the towers collapsed as you say, not a controlled demolition, because of the fires. What about WTC7? That looks exactly like a controlled demolition.

And so on....


Anyone who wants to will always be able to convince themselves that any chaotic large scale incident is full of "weird goings on, etc." Fully understanding such an event is horrendously difficult even if you've got your head screwed on straight. If you're a conspiracy kook, well, you're in heaven!

As for WTC7, while it did kind of look like a controlled demolition, and it did take them a while to figure out what happened, from a conspiracy point of view it makes no sense whatsoever. Why go through all that trouble, why add additional risk of discovery of your deliciously evil plans, merely to collapse an empty burning building, hours after the main event, hurting nobody, and adding nothing to the overall impact of the event? Good lord, consider the difficulty of preserving the demolition charges while the building burned for 7 hours! Nobody had ever done anything like that before, but the conspirators were so super-competent that they knew how to do it, and were sure it would work. Jeez, maybe we're better off under the rule of such God-like beings!

The thing is, conspiracy kooks will latch on to anything that can be made to look mysterious, even if it is obviously totally random, and does nothing to advance any conceivable conspiracy. Morons!!!

Anonymous said...

Yuppies and gay rugby players, my ass. It was Silicon Valley libertarian nerds armed with karate who took on the terrorists. Think Rick Moranis not Ted McGinly.

AmericanGoy said...

I know, dumb troofers!

Tin foil hat wearing idiots!

Next thing you know, those idiots will start proclaiming that the so called neocons, which is a code name for Jews, forced the United States into a war in Iraq.

Preposterous!

Anonymous said...

Just because neocons found 9/11 useful does not mean it was their doing.  It would have been very bad for their plans to have had an actual conspiracy and had it discovered.  Remember Nixon's "plumbers"?

Immigration restriction and HBD still have a bad name from a guy who shot himself in a bunker 76 years ago.  The last thing the neocons would do to themselves is to repeat that kind of Charlie Foxtrot, when bin Laden and his organization were just one of many out there and all they had to do is wait for a suitable pretext.