Seven years is perhaps too short a time to develop an historical perspective on the events of 11 September 2001. It has been, however, ample time for the criminally incompetent Bush Administration to pour billions of dollars and countless wasted lives into the ill-conceived, endless ‘war on terror’ and the catastrophic invasion of Iraq. We’ve also witnessed a multitude of conspiracy theories – ranging from the unlikely to the frankly insane – that have sprouted like fungi to ‘explain’ what the world saw with its own eyes.
It is therefore refreshing that David Ray Griffin’s book explicitly does not set out to add to this ever-growing mass of speculation. Rather, he sets himself the task of examining the documented record of what was said and done on that day and teases out 25 ‘contradictions’ among the official reports, eye-witness accounts and media coverage of 9/11. In forensic detail he tracks the movements of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, often down to a minute-by-minute timeline, and he considers such questions as ‘Could the Military have shot down Flight 93?’ and ‘Were the hijackers devout Muslims?’, ending each chapter with a challenge to Congress and the press to investigate the anomalies he has uncovered.
Unfortunately, Griffin’s dogged pursuit of the minute details of a vast tapestry of events leads to a deeply dull and, ultimately, unenlightening read. I fear that only the obsessives and cranks he takes such pains to distance himself from will slog on to the underwhelming conclusion of his book.