Conspiracy Theories

Better the Devil You Know

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The Village Voice's Jarrett Murphy reports from the nether regions of the "9/11 Truth Movement," that collection of activist-sleuths who don't accept the official account of September 11. Some of them are cagy about admitting it, but in general they seek solace in the comforting thought that Bush and his cronies were behind the attacks.

They don't call it a comforting thought, of course:

"I'd love to be proven wrong. I would love for someone to come to me and say I'm full of shit. It hasn't happened," says [Dylan] Avery.

That's a standard cliche of the fringe theorist: that he'd "love to be proven wrong." But is there anyone in the country who wouldn't be delighted to learn that the forces behind 9/11 are based in Washington, D.C.? That the enemy is not some exotic conspiracy of mysteriously motivated foreigners who speak impenetrable languages and fade easily into an alien landscape, but a familiar group of Republicans with Middle American accents who would be ousted the moment their cabal came to light? The Bush-did-it theory lends itself to a tidy movie ending, a conclusion far preferable to the endless bloody soap opera we've landed in instead.

There are many reasons I don't believe the president plotted 9/11. The biggest is that I'm just not optimistic enough to think the problem could be eliminated that easily.