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What Didn't Happen
At The Pentagon
Jim Fetzer
In "More On What Really Happened at the Pentagon" (30 May 2009), not only does Dick Eastman not spell out what he takes my position or that of others to be but it is difficult to figure out what his own take on what happened at the Pentagon is supposed to be. His essay is not a model of clarity of exposition. It is very weak in structure and in reasoning. If I were grading it, I'd mark it a generous "C-". He also provides a highly biased and inaccurate history of Scholars for 9/11 Truth. For years, a report of what happened involving Steve Jones and me has been archived on 911scholars.org at "Founder's Corner". So much of what he is saying here is mistaken even though he could have consulted the history that I find his lack of research inexcusable.
If anyone wanted to know my take on the Pentagon, they could find it in "Thinking about 'Conspiracy Theories': 9/11 and JFK", where the reasons why I believe no 757 hit the Pentagon but a smaller plane, such as an A-3 Skywarrior, apparently did. My purpose here is not to defend that hypothesis, however, but to explain how we know what didn't happen at the Pentagon and to refute the unfounded criticisms that Eastman has published here. One of his more bizarre complaints is that "Fetzer treats all theories as equally good and offered not (sic) methodological criteria for discrimination among theories". No one who has read the first few sections of this paper-which discusses the nature of theories and their testability employing measures of likelihood and probability-would make that claim. He does not appear to have exerted any effort at all to determine my actual views.
This is at least as perverse as my friend Rolf Lindgren's complaint that I am a "9/11 activist" rather than a "9/11 researcher and scholar". He acknowledges that I have academic qualifications - which include 28 books and around 150 articles and reviews, the majority in peer- reviewed journals-but has his own conception of what is involved in 9/11 research. As a point of clarification, I have explained to him, with no apparent affect, that my research is devoted both to non-controversial aspects of 9/11-see, for example, "Why doubt 9/11?" -and to the controversial questions, such as how the WTC was destroyed and whether there was video fakery on 9/11, which are not resolved by prior research. The books he cites are not "the last word".
While I, like everyone else, have benefited tremendously from the earlier studies by Thierry Meyssan, including Pentagate (2002) and 9/11: The Big Lie (2002), like most scholars, in putting together a library, we collect books of special interests to consult when we are investigating issues with which they deal. This does not mean that we spend time reading them in their entirety as opposed to studying them selectively as appropriate. He has never appreciated this point.
Insofar as I have published The 9/11 Conspiracy (2007), organized the Madison conference, produced the "Science and Politics of 9/11" DVD, made hundreds of appearances on radio and television as well as presenting many public lectures, I am at a loss as to what else it would take to establish my credentials as a 9/11 scholar. Apparently, this does not satisfy his conception of what 9/11 scholarship requires.
Sometimes I wonder how familiar 9/11 activists are with the current state of research. Eastman, and many others in the community, goes ballistic over the idea that some kind of directed-energy weapon may have been used to destroy the Twin Towers and savage Judy Wood. Yet, in Synthetic Terror (2005), Webster Griffin Tarpley discusses the anomalies of the destruction of the towers and raises the possibility that they may have been turned to dust using "some form of directed energy weapon" (pp. 243-245), a conjecture that he attributes to Jim Hoffman. Late in the book, he advances the hypothesis that Flight 93 might have been taken out by a Lockheed Hercules C-130 using "a powerful airborne chemical laser". Yet Tarpley and Hoffman are not similarly attacked for trying to figure out what happened. Critics like Eastman and Lindgren appear to be highly selective in their targets.
This kind of inconsistency has a corrosive effect upon the integrity of research, where some of the most qualified students of 9/11-such as Wood, a former professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson, who has degrees in structural engineering, engineering physics, and materials engineering science-are massively vilified while others of lesser competence and qualification, such as Tarpley and Hoffman, are given a free pass. Hoffman, who did good work early on, along with his associate, Victoria Ashley, have in fact become so vicious and unprincipled in attacking others, including Judy Wood, Morgan Reynolds, and me, that it would be morally irresponsible not to ask whether they have an agenda contrary to the discovery of 9/11 truth. Critics like Eastman regularly confound real threats with illusory ones.
Questions about what happened at the Pentagon, of course, fall into the area of uncertainty as a complex and complicated issue many in the community dislike. There is a body of evidence, much of which is photographic, however, to which scientific reasoning can be applied to resolve that uncertainty. As I have elsewhere explained, the basic measure of the strength with which evidence e supports hypothesis h is provided by the likelihood, L, of h, if e were true. That, in turn, is equal to the probability, P, of e if h were true, where L(h/e) = P(e/h). Approximately speaking, this involves treating the evidence as an "effect" of the "cause" described by various hypotheses, where an hypothesis hi with higher likelihood on evidence e is better supported and is therefore "preferable" to an hypothesis hj with lower likelihood.
As a simple example, we find likelihoods employed in everyday life and in criminal investigations. The discovery of a body with bruising around the neck but no bullet holes or knife wounds makes it more likely that the deceased was killed by strangulation than by shooting or stabbing. After all, the probability of no bullet holes (knife wounds, and so on) if the victim was shot (stabbed, and so forth) is zero, while the probability of bruising about the neck as the result of strangulation is very high. Since the evidence (no bullet holes or knife wounds but bruising around the neck) is more probable if the death was caused by strangulation than by shooting or stabbing, that hypothesis has a higher likelihood and is therefore better supported by the evidence.
When the evidence has "settled down" and tends to point in the same direction, then that hypothesis is also acceptable in the tentative and fallible fashion of science. The introduction of new alternatives and the acquisition of new evidence, including the discovery that evidence that has been taken to be authentic in the past has been fabricated, can lead to the rejection of hypotheses previously accepted and the acceptance of hypotheses previously rejected-or to the suspension of belief in cases previously thought to be resolved. There appear to be more than a half-dozen arguments against the official account that a 757 hit the Pentagon, which appears to be a fantasy. To begin with, consider the alleged "hit point" at the Pentagon on the ground floor:
Figure 1. The Ground Floor "Hit Point"
This "hit point" was too small to accommodate a 100-ton airliner with a 125' wingspan and a tail that stands 44' above the ground. The debris is wrong for a Boeing 757: no wings, no fuselage, no seats, no bodies, no luggage, no tail! Not even the engines, which are made of titanium and steel, were recovered. The probability that a real Boeing 757 would leave no wings, no fuselage, no seats, no bodies, no luggage and no tail at the point of impact approximates zero. The probability that an absent plane would leave no wings, no fuselage, no seats, no bodies and such at the point of impact approximates one-although, of course, planted evidence is not ruled out. As long as one is greater than zero, the hypothesis there was no real Boeing 757 has the higher likelihood.
Indeed, this conclusion is further reinforced by the discovery of unbroken windows in the immediate vicinity of the purported "hit point". Jack White, a legendary student of the photos and films in the assassination of JFK, has created a web site devoted to 9/11, which includes many important observations, such as this one. I have greatly benefited in my own research from exchanges with Jack, just as I have from exchanges with Judy Wood and Morgan Reynolds. It is a pity that more students of 9/11 are not devoting attention to Judy's web site and Morgan's web site as well as to Jack's. If we really want to discover the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about 9/11, we cannot allow ourselves to be bound by the confines of our own imagination and experiences.
Figure 2. Before and After the Upper-Floors Collapsed
The Pentagon's own videotapes do not show a Boeing 757 hitting the building, as even Bill O'Reilly admitted when one was shown on "The O'Reilly Factor". At 155 feet, the plane was more than twice as long as the 77-foot Pentagon is high and should have been present and easily visible; it was not, which means that the video evidence also contradicts the official account. The tail of what appears to be a far smaller plane, however, is visible just above the guard mechanism. In this graphic, Jack White has sized the image of a Boeing 757 to that of the tail, which vividly displays the inconsistency of supposing that it might be the tail of a Boeing 757. If a plane of its dimensions were present, it should have been readily visible, but in fact it is not.
Figure 3. Sizing a Boeing 757 to the Pentagon Frame
The aerodynamics of flight, including "ground effect", would have made the official trajectory-flying at high speed barely above ground level-physically impossible, because a Boeing 757 flying over 500 mph could not have come closer than about 60 feet to the ground, which means that the official account is not even aerodynamically possible. Russ Wittenburg in the DVD "Zero", an experienced pilot who flew the planes alleged to have been used on 9/11, states that the Boeing 757 can't go 500 mph hour at sea level because the air is too dense. Robin Hordon, an air traffic controller, in the same film, explains that the Boeing 757 cannot do the maneuvers attributed to it. The official story thus appears to entail violations of laws of physics, of engineering, and of aerodynamics, insofar as the damage to the building, the absence of debris, the clear, smooth, unblemished lawn and now its alleged performance are incompatible with a Boeing 757.
Figure 4. The Unblemished Lawn Post-Impact
Moreover, if a Boeing 757 could have traveled at 500 mph at ground level, it would have caused enormous damage to the grass and the ground, including producing substantial furrows from the low hanging engines, yet photos taken immediately after the alleged impact show the grass surface as smooth and unblemished as a putting green, where I expect Tiger Woods to show up and practice his game. The purported debris began showing up later, including especially a piece of fuselage torn from a commercial carrier, which was photographed in several locations. James Hanson, a lawyer from Columbus, OH, has traced this piece to a crash that occurred on 20 December 2005 in Cali, Columbia, where a vine common there ripped it off the plane. I am going to include Jim's paper in The 9/11 Controversies (forth-coming), which will be the second book from Scholars that I publish.
This is far from the only case of the fabrication of evidence at the Pentagon. Jamie McIntyre, the CNN reporter at the scene, reported that there were no indications that a plane had crashed: "From my close-up inspection, there is no evidence of any plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon. . . . There are no large tail sections, wing sections, a fuselage-nothing like that-anywhere around which would indicate that the entire plane had crashed into the side of the Pentagon". He would subsequently contradict his report, no doubt under intense pressure from his employer to take back anything that might be considered to undermine the official account. He now states that, "For anyone with any common sense . . . there is not going to be any doubt that a plane hit the building". But that is just what we would expect (with high probability) if no Boeing 757 actually hit the building.
Even more stunning, therefore, is that, even though the lime-green civilian fire trucks that arrived first at the scene had extinguished the fires at the Pentagon in around fifteen minutes, vast volumes of black smoke would later appear that were easily visible across the Potomac from the steps of the Capitol, where members of the House and the Senate had congregated as a safety precaution due to threats that the Capitol Building itself might be the next target. What we have here is a demonstration of the use of "special effects" of the kind that Hollywood has patented. The smoke is coming, not from the Pentagon itself, but from a series of enormous dumpsters in front of the building. It is hard to imagine any more damning proof of fakery:
Figure 5. Smoke and Flames Emanating from Dumpsters
At this point, it appears to be "pilling on" to observe that data from a flight recorder provided to Pilots for 9/11 Truth by the National Transportation Safety Board corresponds to a plane with a different approach and higher altitude, which would have precluded its hitting lampposts or even the building itself, which means that, if the NTSB's
own data corresponds to the Boeing 757 that is alleged to have been flown toward the building, it would have flow over the Pentagon rather than hit it. Those who remain unconvinced by the evidence that has been presented here, therefore, are encouraged to view the 9/11 DVD's "Pandora's Black Box" and "Pentacon", which offer additional substantiation. The evidence thus appears to have "settled down".
The probability that a real Boeing 757 could have hit the Pentagon and not left debris from its wings and tail or even its engines-not to mention bodies, seats, and luggage-is zero. The probability that the alleged trajectory could have been flown in violation of the laws of aerodynamics is even less than zero-since violations of these laws is not physically possible. The probability that the trajectory, if it were possible, could have left a smooth, green, unblemished lawn is zero. The probability that debris would have been planted or that smoke would have been simulated, had this event involved the crash of a real Boeing 757, is likewise extremely low. That all of these things would have occurred if the alleged impact were contrived, however, is very high. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any reasonable alternative.
When no alternative explanation is reasonable, then an explanation has been established beyond a reasonable doubt. The conclusion that no Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon appears to have been established beyond a reasonable doubt. The problems being generated within the 9/11 community over the quality of research, as this case illustrates, appear to be rooted in the lack of commitment to logic and evidence by individuals like Dick Eastman, who has demonstrated that he is not competent to evaluate research on 9/11. Ironically, our conclusions about the Pentagon apparently converge, which means that he ought to be regarding me as an ally rather than as an enemy. Fortunately, progress can be made as long as others of greater ability are allowed to pursue the search for truth, which confronts enormous obstacles from without and would certainly benefit by greater tolerance from within the research community itself.
Jim Fetzer, a former U.S. Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth. He maintains its web site at 911scholars.org.
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