19 February 2007

Loose Change 1917 or Loose Change 1941?

Silence is golden, unless you're a blogger. I've been diverted by a variety of other matters the past week, mostly preparing for the sale of my house and getting some major dental work.

The BBC showed a documentary about conspiracy theories concerning the events of 9/11, 2001, last night. The main target was the now famous Loose Change video. Unfortunately, I fell asleep part-way through, but I saw enough to realize the BBC film made cogent points in support of the gang of terrorists “conspiracy” as opposed to the U.S. government “conspiracy”. There’s one caveat to this, however, which is that the programme suggested strongly the likelihood of a cover-up of the pre-strike intelligence analysis.

It isn’t the first time that a surprise attack on America has been the subject of a conspiracy theory. Howard Baker’s famous Watergate interrogation “What did the president know and when did he know it?” would have been very appropriate for Michigan senator Homer Ferguson.

In fact, the whole question of the validity of conspiracy theories is of far greater import to the general reader, as opposed to the “professional historian”. The latter has no choice but to discount such theories, since there is rarely any evidence in the form of letters or minutes or notes to sustain the idea that, for example, President Roosevelt knew the Japanese were coming, or that Robert Lansing worked for American entry into the war against the Kaiser. There wouldn’t be, would there, ripostes the person more familiar with chit-chat in the corridors of power. I’ll return to this matter in the light of the work of a totally discredited “popular historian”, the notorious David Irving, as I start a new strand on this blog.

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