Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Shell Game: The Next Messiah

It appears the troofers are all excited over the imminent publication of a novel by Steve Alten titled "The Shell Game", as it builds a fictional plot around 9/11 conspiracy theories. Several prominent troofers have even taken the bizarre step of signing a letter of support saying that people should buy it. This apparently is going to be the medium that will finally deliver the promised land of 9/11 truth. Not that I can blame them for supporting yet one more Messiah, after the complete bomb that is Loose Change: The Final Cut. I have been rather busy lately and haven't had much of a chance to blog, but fortunately, there hasn't been much to blog about. This movie has been the biggest flop since Gigli. I swear, Korey Rowe was out in public more when he was in the stockade for desertion, than the Three Stooges are now. A Google News search for "Loose Change Final Cut" turns up just 7 mentions, and that is only if you include Prison Planet, which just happens to be run by Alex Jones, the Executive Producer. Not a single mention is from any major news source. Looking at the page hits for in Alexa shows the same story.

Anyway, so this brings us back to the original subject, which is the expectation that "The Shell Game" will somehow save the day. Indicative of this is one of several posts on this subject on 911 Blogger, reposted from OpEdNews, this one ironically titled "Why Would REAL 9/11 Truth Activists Advocate a Work of FICTION?". Uhh, because most of what they advocate is fiction to begin with?

Alten at least, is an established writer, or as he titles himself at every opportunity, a "New York Times Best-selling author", so they at least won't have to read horribly bad prose like in American Truth, which only seems to manage a high rating on Amazon through the author repeatedly voting for himself. You can actually download the first chapter here, and it is not as badly written (although one hopes they will correct all the misspellings in the published version) it has the normal fact-checking and accuracy that one would expect from a truther. That is, he is horrible at both.

Some examples, he didn't manage to get through the prologue before rehashing the same anti-military rumors started during the Vietnam War about how soldiers drop out of society in mass.

It is a Federal budget that invests billions into weapons of mass destruction and pennies into its fighting soldiers, hiding the grim reality that one in three adult homeless males are combat vets, that one in four veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan suffer mental health problems – that our nation’s warriors have been left behind by an Administration that wraps itself in the stars and stripes but refuses to provide adequate funding for our soldiers’ needs.
It only takes a few minutes to find out where he mutated this claim from, an advocacy group called the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, here reported by FoxNews:

U.S. veterans face a greater chance of becoming homeless than the general population, say experts. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans , a study released in 1999 found that while veterans count for 9 percent of the entire population, they are nearly 23 percent of the homeless population and 33 percent of the adult male homeless population.
If you read it carefully though, you notice it states that 1 in 3 adult males are "veterans", not combat veterans. Given the relatively high percentage of adult males who have served in the military, this is not that far out of their statistical likelihood for their demographic. You can read more about these studies in this excellent article by Michael Fumento, or read the equally fine Stolen Valor by B.G. Burkett.

When you get into the narrative it also becomes apparent that Mr. Alten has not even done the most basic research into the military. He evidently has been getting his military history from Korey Rowe, from just the second page.

“Since the beginning. I started in Afghanistan with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, the ‘Rakkasans.’ We were the first boots on the ground. Same for Iraq. Ne Desit Virtus--”
The 187th, part of the 101st Airborne Division, was not the first unit into Afghanistan, as I pointed out over a year ago when Loose Change producer Korey Rowe, who served in that unit, made the same claim. Alten then continues:

“–let valor not fail.” The woman translates. “When did Military Intelligence recruit you?”

“The day Psy Ops found out I spoke fluent Arabic.”

“So you were with M.I. two years, then Counterintelligence. Looks like you were quite busy. . . over one hundred interrogations.” The woman’s eyes narrow. “Tell me, Colonel, what’s the most interesting thing you ever learned from these ‘sessions.’?”

I can count at least 2 errors just in that exchange. First of all, Psy Ops is not part of military intelligence, it is part of the Special Operations branch. Secondly, Counterintelligence actually is part of military intelligence, so you could not transfer out of MI into it.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Somehow, I don't see this bringing about revolution either. Next...

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