Wrong evidence? Middle East Report reprises call for 9/11 re-investigation

I honestly don’t know what to make of this. The first story is a story that won’t go away, insisting that the World Trade Center was destroyed through a controlled implosion. There are lots of stories that won’t go away, whether or not they have merit:

A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush’s first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is “bogus” and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7. Reynolds, who also served as director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas and is now professor emeritus at Texas A&M University said, “If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an ‘inside job’ and a government attack on America would be compelling.” Reynolds commented from his Texas A&M office, “It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. The government’s collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings.”

A significant portion of this argument seems to be missing. Reynolds cites a “full range of facts.” But I haven’t seen what those “facts” are; even if I had, there is a strong possibility that, particularly with modern structural engineering, I wouldn’t be able to evaluate them. But you’ll find some skepticism on these claims, including this:

I am a practicing structural engineer. I have an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, I also took 5 or 6 graduate level structural design courses, and I have plenty of experience in the structural design field. Trust me when I say there is no truth to these theories. All of my co-workers and colleagues agree. I could systematically go through and refute or explain away nearly every “point” Morgan Reynolds attempts to make, but I won’t waste time on that. It is glaringly obvious from his prose that he is not familiar with how a building is constructed, steel design, stress analysis, or load transfer. Maybe he can easily fool a semi educated lay person, but he isn’t fooling me. Hundreds of real experts conducted their independent detailed investigations (yes they did analyze the collapsed structural elements before they were recycled as well as the patterns of smoke leaving the building and all other evidence) and came to the same conclusion… ASCE (America Society of Civil Engineers) and Leslie Robertson (the original structural engineer) are among them. Yes, the ASCE Report was created in conjunction with FEMA, but ASCE is an independent organization made up of thousands of the most credible and ethical engineers we have. I was a member myself for many years and you could not convince me that they would be part of a cover-up.

Bottom line:

The most damaging thing was the explosion which blew the fireproofing off of the steel framing. (Fire proofing is typically sprayed on to steel framing to reach a certain thickness. This is to protect the steel which begins to lose strength as it heats up.) The problem was that although the fire proofing was fine for typical building fires (electrical fires, etc.) it was not blast resistant. The force of the explosion blew off all of the fireproofing in the surrounding areas.

Reynolds, it would seem, should know better. I’m not inclined to dismiss a professor at Texas A&M out of hand. So I am mystified.

The second story draws me in by criticizing media coverage:

“It’s like the Nazis removing dissent without using the Gestapo,” said [Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan] whose articles are circulated widely on the Internet and appear regularly in the American Free Press, an alternative publication. “Most publications, like the Washington Times, for example, will not print anything critical of Bush, his strategies and, definitely, anything seriously opposing the war is off base.”

Roberts seems to be using the first story as an example:

Roberts said the recent statements made by Reynolds, however, reveals just how flimsy and unbelievable the government story comes across.

“This is not some kind of conspiracy nut or kook talking. He is a man with extremely qualified credentials, whose opinions I respect,” said Roberts referring to Reynolds’ comments which have been highly publicized across the country.

“The real story is not Morgan Reynolds or myself, but why have so many former Republican conservatives and top ranking officials who disagree with the neo cons been systematically run out of Washington? And, also, why is the media so intent on covering up the Bush-neo con agenda and all the mistakes surrounding it?

We already know about the Bush administration’s preference for ideology over empirical evidence. We already know about the media simply laying down prostrate before the Bush Administration. What we don’t know about are questionable claims, salacious because they are made by somewhat credible Republicans and conservatives against the Bush administration, but with weak backing. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might suspect this whole thing is a Karl Rove-style plot, seeking to lure Liberals into advocating positions which would undermine their own credibility.

But not being a conspiracy theorist, I’m simply mystified.

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