Ron Paul And The 9/11 Truthers

Let me start out by saying that I support Ron Paul. But when he does stuff like this, I really start questioning my support for him:

Presidential candidate Ron Paul says the U.S. is in “great danger” of a staged terror attack or a Gulf of Tonkin style provocation while also warning that a major collapse of the American economy is on the horizon and could be precipitated by the bombing of Iran and the closure of the Persian Gulf.

Speaking to The Alex Jones Show, the Texas Congressman was asked his opinion on Cindy Sheehan’s recent comments that the U.S. is in danger of a staged terror attack or a Gulf of Tonkin style provocation that will validate the Neo-Con agenda and lead to the implementation of the infrastructure of martial law that Bush recently signed into law via executive order, as well as public pronouncements from prominent officials that the West needs terrorism to save a doomed foreign policy.

“I think we’re in great danger of it,” responded the Congressman, “We’re in danger in many ways, the attack on our civil liberties here at home, the foreign policy that’s in shambles and our obligations overseas and commitment which endangers our troops and our national defense.”

“Every day we’re in worse shape and right now there’s an orchestrated effort to blame the Iranians for everything that’s gone wrong in Iraq and we’re quite concerned that the attack will be on Iran and that will jeopardize so many more of our troops, so I would say that we’re in much greater danger than we even were four or five years ago,” asserted Paul.

Let’s leave aside, for the moment at least, the merits of what Congressman Paul said and talk about where he said it.

Alex Jones is a radio host/commentator who runs a website called Prison Planet that, to put it nicely plays host to some of the most bizarre conspiracy theories that I’ve ever seen. He is a 9/11 truther who clearly believes that the United States Government had advance knowledge of, if not involvement in, the September 11th attacks despite clear evidence to the contrary. He is among those people who perpetuates the lie that there was no airplane that crashed into the Pentagon that day (and in case there’s any doubt about that, I could refer you to a friend of mine from law school who lived blocks away from the Pentagon in 2001 and saw and heard the plane before it crashed).

Alex Jones is, in a word, a nutjob.

So why is Ron Paul appearing on his program ? And what does he think of Jones’ bizarre theories regarding September 11th ?

Frankly, I think those questions need to be answered.

As far as the merits of what Paul said, Rojas at The Crossed Pond, makes this excellent point:

But there’s a major problem with both the Gulf of Tonkin scenario and the much more ludicrous prospect of a staged attack. And that problem is timing.

Why now? In order to buy that some sort of provocation for War with Iran is coming, you’d have to accept that the administration chose not to engage in that provocation when doing so would have provided a far, far greater political benefit.

(…)

Why now? The President is no longer even pretending that he needs broad public consent to exercise the powers of the Presidency; he’s the decider, and that’s that. The President has sufficient military jurisdiction to provoke war with Iran on his own and without provocation. He can bomb Tehran tomorrow if he chooses. Why, exactly, would he seek political cover for such an operation? In order to build international support? Please. In order to “protect his legacy?” If he engages in this operation, it will be because he thinks the operation ITSELF is something history will remember fondly; he’d gain nothing historically from being forced into it.

And there’s a broader point, and it’s the main reason I generally don’t believe conspiracy theories. To believe the conspiracy theorists version of history — whether its the Kennedy assassination, September 11th, or some supposed future terrorist attack — one has to also believe that a large number of people in government, each with their own agendas, ambitions, and axes to grind, would be capable of agreeing on a plan, executing it with such perfection that it looks to the outside world like someone else did it, and keep it a secret before, during, and after the operation.

All my experience in dealing with the government tells me that such people simply don’t exist in government.

But that’s beside the point. When Ron Paul does things like appear on the Alex Jones Show, or associate himself with remarks by a wacko like Cindy Sheehan, he does a disservice to his campaign, and to the people who support him.