Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Grand Poobah of Iran, made an ass of himself yet again in the Untied Nations (misspelling intended) in New York yesterday, accusing the US of executing the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country ourselves.
Ahmadinejihad, who also goes by the sobriquet Green Bean Almondine, in his ever-so-endearing but obtuse manner, said our government attacked our own country and murdered 3,000 people because that would help Israel survive. I see.
Underlying this claim is Green Bean's desire to die in a huge blast of noise, heat and light because he believes that is his path to paradise. But he wants the entire world to accompany him, and he wants to see Israel obliterated first. (Say this very quietly. Green Bean is a Muslim. A Mainstream Muslim, and he hates Jews more than anyone else in the world, but only a little bit more than Christians and other non-believers.)
In response to Green Bean's diatribe our bad-ass representatives at the UN stalked out. What's next, a strongly worded note of displeasure before lunch?
But back to Green Bean's claim of a 9-11 conspiracy. I heard these claims before from students in the college classes I teach on public speaking. They say the films of planes hitting the WTC and the Pentagon in huge fireballs were computer generated, and this actually was the work of American intelligence people, backed by the Bush family. Remember, the first President Bush once headed the CIA. A-ha!
But I have one question that no one has ever answered. Who owned the construction dumpsters?
What construction dumpsters you are probably asking yourself? Well, the construction dumpsters that would have been necessary to haul away all the damaged drywall that would have been strewn about the World Trade Center towers if someone had planted sufficient explosives to bring those buildings down.
You don't understand drywall? OK. Allow me to expand on this.
Drywall, also known as sheetrock, is compressed gypsum, contained between two sheets of extra-thick paper, and formed into panels commonly four-feet by eight-feet, or four-feet by twelve-feet. It is hard, smooth, easy to carry, and creates the walls in a room after the electricity, heating, communications wires, and insulation are installed.
Drywall goes up easily, and the joints between the panels are filled with drywall compound, which construction people call "mud." Some compound comes premixed, in large buckets, and some comes as powder that is mixed with water on the spot in the quantities needed.
First the mud is applied to fill in the joints and screw holes, then special non-stick tape is placed over the mud, then another course of mud is added. This usually takes at least 24-hours to dry, then another course of mud is added. This hides the joints when the job is finished and paint is applied.
After each course of mud is applied and dried it is sanded. Some contractors think two courses are sufficient before you proceed to priming and painting the walls, others prefer three courses. I like three over two.
Regardless, installing drywall is the easy part. Uninstalling drywall is a royal pain. It usually doesn't come out in solid sheets because it has been screwed in and sealed with the mud, so taking it out again makes a huge mess. It comes out in chunks, which have to be disposed of, and the gypsum leaks out from between the outer sheets of paper and gets tracked all over the place.
So, here we have our merry band of conspirators, bent on bringing down two towers of the World Trade Center early one Monday morning. They have to get inside as soon as most people have left on Friday evening, convince security guards that they are doing legitimate construction, and then proceed to the upper floors where the explosives will be planted.
(One of my students said the conspirators would have gotten the explosives past the security guards with relative impunity because President George Bush's brother Marvin was in charge of security. I looked it up on a conspiracy theory site, which said that Bush's brother was on the board of directors of a firm that had the WTC security contract right up to the day of the attack. That's not exactly "in charge of security," but other sites say that firm didn't have the security contract on 9-11, and regardless, Marvin Bush left his position on the board of directors when Bill Clinton was still president. However, the conspiracy theorists say that Marvin Bush was in New York City on 9-11! Holy Moly! Along with what, 11 million other people?)
Also, the site claims that there was a 36-hour power outage on the weekend of 9-9 and 9-10, which conveniently, they say, eliminated security camera coverage above the 50th floor. It also would have eliminated power that would have been necessary for other operations that I will get to in a minute, but why let details get in the way of a good conspiracy?
So, platoons of conspirators make their way to the upper floors of the WTC, where they start ripping out drywall in strategic locations, making a major mess in the process. If you watch the Holmes on Homes show on cable TV you'll get a good idea of what this looks like on a smaller level.
Then sophisticated saws are employed to cut into the exposed load-bearing beams to weaken them, and then packets of high explosives that will be simultaneously detonated to blow the building down are placed on the beams.
Back inside, since there was no electricity, they either have to have huge generators down on the sidewalks, with thousands of yards of power cables running up to the top floors, which no one notices, or they use extension cords, also thousands of yards of them, plugged into live outlets on the 50th floor, which again, no one notices.
After the explosives are placed the drywall guys come in to patch up the damage, bringing in sheets of new drywall, cutting pieces to fill in the holes in the walls, which adds to the mess, then applying mud, tape and more mud. But meanwhile, we have another platoon of laborers, in two buildings mind you, hauling out the tons of drywall that would have been strewn all over the upper floor offices. Construction companies often use chutes that run from the floors where the work is done right down to the dumpsters, but that isn't practical when you are 1,000 feet above the sidewalk.
So we would have had all these laborers going up and down, toting that messy drywall out to the DUMPSTERS. Back upstairs, we would have had huge fans and driers working to make the mud dry faster, because as I pointed out above, it usually takes 24 hours between courses, and even longer on humid days. Again, more electrical appliances, needing power.
Assuming that the task of applying two courses of mud and drying them could be accomplished in time, all without anyone noticing or asking probing questions, we then have the sanders come in, and then the painters to apply first the primer and then the matching paint, so on Monday morning, no one notices what transpired.
Beyond the sheer logistics of this nonsense, we still have the unassailable fact that to do it and clean it up you need someplace to dump the garbage. Oh, I forgot the incredible mess that is made when you sand the walls after the mud dries. You need face masks to protect your lungs and that white particulate gets all over EVERYTHING! The dust from sanding drywall compound is so fine that you need special vacuums to clean it up. Again, more appliances, more people.
So, to handle all of this and make it go off like clockwork you would have needed dozens, perhaps hundreds of dumpsters, lined up out on the sidewalks alongside both of the Twin Towers. Know what's on the side of most construction dumpsters? The name and phone number of the company that owns them. Know why? So potential customers can call up if they need one. It also helps environmental regulators identify people who are dumping illegally.
Thus, if the conspiracy theory holds any water, somewhere, someone has a photo of the sidewalks outside the WTC towers on the weekend of 9-9, and there should be construction dumpsters lined up as far as the eye can see. And since there are limited places where construction debris can be legally dumped, we should be able to check them out quite easily and see who came in with tons of drywall and other debris that weekend.
Then we just look up the principals in the firm that owned the dumpsters and twist their arms until they tell us who hired them to haul all the drywall away from the WTC on the weekend before 9-11. Not so hard to figure out is it? Show me the dumpsters and we can easily backtrack to find out who owned them and from there on who was involved.
Except there are no photos. And we can't backtrack because there were no dumpsters. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they often use vague references to somewhat plausible possibilities but they go really short on details. Show me the dumpsters and tell me who owned them and we can get to the bottom of this. No dumpsters? Busted theory.
I bet the people who push these theories never spent so much as an instant of their lives working on a construction project, or even paid attention to people who do.
It isn't that I trust the government with my life. I know there are conspiracies, and I know they often are perpetrated by governments. But not this one, not this way.
As far as Green Bean's two-part wish A) to die in a huge fireball; and B) to take the rest of the world with him?
I strongly suggest we help him accomplish Part A, and the sooner the better.
Friday, September 24, 2010