Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Vile Rumor?

Okay, this rumor comes third-hand.  But only third-hand.  No further afield than that.  Last week, one of my writer colleagues shocked me nearly senseless with this story.  Her brother was formerly in the secret service: he has now transferred to another government position.  He was on duty guarding Vice President Cheney on September 11, 2001.  It was his understanding and belief that Vice President Cheney gave the order to shoot down Flight 93, the airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania, and that the flight was indeed shot down intentionally by the U.S. military. 

So, I've done a little checking around on the internet since then.  This rumor has been around ever since 9/11.  It has the ring of truth because of two things: 1) the flight crashed in a very sparsely populated area.  2) The vice president discussed downing the planes with the president, that the president had made the decision to shoot down hijacked planes, but that it had never come to that. 

Afterwards, the decision to reinforce the story of heroic passengers battling the terrorists for control of the plane was made in order to spare the nation the added emotional crisis of having one of the hijacked planes downed by friendly fire.  This does not diminish the actions of the passengers trying to regain control of the aircraft, they showed valor and courage in the face of a suicidal enemy.  Clearly, this attempt was made--the cockpit voice recorder and several cell phone calls from passengers on the flight make this clear.

This rumor has the ring of truth to me.  If true, I understand the decision to not only shoot down the plane, but also to keep the truth from the nation.  And to disclose the truth now only begs the question: what else have we been lied to about?


stwill61 said...

I've certainly heard the rumor, and have agreed that it might have been justifiable.

However -- given the wealth of information available, and the bulldog nature of our journalists, it's hard to believe this could really be true and hept hidden.

And -- I am pretty confident that any Secret Service officer, current or former, cound and would be charged with treason for letting a state secret like this out.  Not to mention what else could happen to him.

Still, chilling to think about.

stwill61 said...

(One more thing, Michael.  It's a pet peeve of mine.  "This begs the question..." is wrong, wrong, WRONG.  It "raises" the question.  Or perhaps it "elicits" the question.  It does NOT "beg" it.  "Begging the question" is a specific term, used in logic and debate, to refer to an argument which seeks to prove the premise by stating the premise as proof itself.  The fact that countless reporters misuse it all the time is no reason to further erode a fine phrase.  :-)   )

stwill61 said...

((And now I'm wondering if I used "premise" incorrectly in my previous comment.  And it serves me right if I have.  But I just used dictionary.com and one of its entries says:

Main Entry: beg the question
Function: verb
Definition: to assume an answer to an unstated question or premise

Source: Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, © 2003 Lexico Publishing Group, LLC

So, there -- I had been thinking I should replace "premise" by "question" or "proposition" but this source says I'm OK as is.))