MARCH 11, 2002
So where is the plane?
© 2002

I receive a lot of strange information from a wide variety of sources. Some of it is intriguing. Some of it is flat-out weird. I try (and frequently fail) to temporarily set aside my own personal prejudices to objectively as possible consider the merits of both the intriguing and weird.

Recently, an interesting French website has been asking questions about the crash of American Airlines Flight 77, which reportedly crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.

The conventional wisdom has been inculcated into us that there were four terrorist hijacked airplanes that tragic day. But there are refutations for each of the official scenarios floating around. The conspiracy theory industry hasn't been this jazzed since the JFK assassination.

However, in the shadow of the creative writing, multi-phased propaganda and bovine excrement, there are several questions that at least should be asked and answered.

The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.
-- Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels
The French website has pictures of the Pentagon from Sept. 11. I looked at the pictures shown and, frankly, (despite my visceral reluctance to buy into another conspiracy) can't answer the questions raised. Maybe our readers can? Click on the French link and let us know what you think. I have also viewed the MSNBC footage over two dozen times and I still can't see the plane. Can you?

1. The first satellite image shows the section of the building that was hit by the Boeing. In the image, the second ring of the building is also visible. It is clear that the aircraft only hit the first ring. The four interior rings remain intact. They were only fire-damaged after the initial explosion.

How can a Boeing 757-200 -- weighing nearly 100 tons and traveling at a minimum speed of 250 miles an hour -- only have damaged the outside of the Pentagon?

2. The next two photographs show the building just after the attack. The aircraft apparently only hit the ground floor. The four upper floors collapsed toward 10:10 am. The building is 78 feet high.

How can a plane 44.7 feet high, over 155 feet long, with a wingspan of almost 125 feet and a cockpit almost 12 feet high, crash into just the ground floor of this building?

3. Look at the photograph of the lawn in front of the damaged building.

Where is the debris? Any debris! Did it all disintegrate on contact?

4. There are photographs, which show representations of a Boeing 757-200 superimposed on the section of the building that was hit.

What happened to the wings of the aircraft? Why isn't there any wing damage?

5. One journalist asked: "Is there anything left of the aircraft at all?" At a press conference the day after the tragedy, Arlington County Fire Chief Ed Plaugher said, "First of all, the question about the aircraft, there are some small pieces of aircraft visible from the interior during this fire-fighting operation. I'm talking about, but not large sections."

The follow-up question asked, "In other words, there's no fuselage sections and that sort of thing?" Plaugher replied, "You know, I'd rather not comment on that. We have a lot of eyewitnesses that can give you better information about what actually happened with the aircraft as it approached. So we don't know. I don't know."

Wait a minute! Time after time (Oklahoma City bombing, TWA Flight 800, Flight 93 et al.) we are told not to depend on eyewitnesses?

When asked by a journalist: "Where is the jet fuel?" The chief responded, "We have what we believe is a puddle right there that the ... what we believe is to be the nose of the aircraft."

Notwithstanding the collective myopia in not being able to see what we are being told, there are more questions.

One pilot wrote, "I flew the Boeing 747 jumbo jet, but not this 757 ... from what I see (or don't see) looking at these pictures, it's hard to pick out aircraft parts:

Whatever inexplicable anomalies exist, the passengers on Flight 77 died that tragic day. Barbara Olson called her husband from Flight 77 and told him about the hijacking in progress. There was most certainly an American Airlines Flight 77 with real people on board, and families in grief.

What did happen to the plane? Where is it?