Where Do They Come Up With This Stuff?
There are some things that the conspiracy theorists argue, the technical details of the World Trade Center collapses for example, that are open to much interpretation. You may not agree with their conclusions, in fact you may find them idiotic, but they are welcome to their opinion. And then there are other theories, in which upon futher examination you can figure out what their logical fallacies are. A good example of this is in claiming the hijackers are not on the passenger manifests, which they derive by looking at a list of "victims" of the attacks and incorrectly claiming they are manifests.
But then there are some things they claim, that just smack you on the side of the head, and you have to ask. Where the hell do they come up with this? From the recent CSPAN broadcast of the LA conference, Alex Jones argues:
We know, this is in Newsweek magazine, that Bush had the full launch orders to invade Afghanistan on his desk. The troops had already massed in the months before 44,000 US troops, 18,000 British troops in Tajikistan Uzbekistan. Two carrier groups all lined up, bombers lined up, everything ready.
There were not 62,000 western troops in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and I seriously doubt Newsweek ever claimed there were. While it is impossible to prove a negative, this is so absurd as to be laughable. Can Mr. Jones come up with a single soldier who can back up this story? 44,000 troops is roughly equivilant to 3 combat divisions. Which 3 divisions were there? There are only 11 total, why didn't anyone notice several of them missing?
If Jones had done the slightest research, he would know that we didn't get the rights to use the largest base in the region Karshi-Khanabad in Uzbekistan, until nearly a month afterwards. And even then it was for only a few thousand troops. Sixty thousands plus troops in remote landlocked Central Asia, would have required a Herculean logistical effort to support. In case he forgot, Bush was being criticized for the slow pace of the invasion for a couple of months, largely because of this difficulty. When Korey Rowe bragged about being in the initial invasion of Afghanistan, it was not until clear into January, when his brigade, only 3-4 thousand troops were brought in, not from Uzbekistan, but directly from Ft. Campbell. What then happened to the 44,000 troops?
Amazing. One just wonders if they have any grasp of reality at all.
Update: I decided to do a little conspiracy theory forensics and try and find the origin of this myth. A web search brings up a bunch of conspiracy websites, Alex Jones' site unsurprisingly being the first, but none actually list a source. So I did a Lexis-Nexis search of all Newsweek articles for the last 5 years, and equally unsurprisingly, none mentioned this.
I think I did find the origin of the 44,000 troops thing though. But it in no way says what he claims it does. From the October 22, 2001 edition of Newsweek:
If bin Laden is spotted, small units of highly trained Special Forces can be inserted nearby. Among America's 44,000-odd Special Operations soldiers--among them, Green Berets, Army Rangers, Air Force helicopter and gunship crews--there are some truly fearsome units, like the supersecret Delta Force and the Navy SEALs' Special War-fare Development Group. The British SAS commandos have a proven record at stealthy combat, and the best unit for fighting in the Afghan mountains in winter may be a specially trained British Marine unit called Commando Three. Though the Pentagon is being appropriately tight-lipped about the movements of these shadow warriors, sources say teams are already stationed at remote bases along the Afghan border in Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, as well as aboard the carrier Kitty Hawk, which has finally arrived in the Arabian Sea.
I am guessing they didn't do so hot on the reading comprehension portion of the SAT.