dan2100

On Pearl Harbor and 9/11

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http://blog.mises.or...harbor-and-911/

1000 pages! Well, I reckon I'll have to read it eventually...

This is a variant of the old saw that FDR essentially arranged for the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. There is little or no evidence to support this. As it turned out Adm. Yamimoto undertook the attack as a long shot bet that if the U.S. fleet were attacked it would shock the U.S. into arranging terms with the Empire of Japan to conceded control of the western Pacific to Japan. Yamamoto knew this was a very dicey business and as soon is it became clear to Yamamoto that the attack occurred before a declaration of war, Yamamoto, in effect said -- uh oh! We are in for it. He was right.

The extension of the hypothesis is the 9/11 attack was essentially promoted by the Bush Administration. There is little credible evidence to support this view. Once more the U.S. was caught bare-ass in the shower. Typical government operation.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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This is a variant of the old saw that FDR essentially arranged for the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. There is little or no evidence to support this. As it turned out Adm. Yamimoto undertook the attack as a long shot bet that if the U.S. fleet were attacked it would shock the U.S. into arranging terms with the Empire of Japan to conceded control of the western Pacific to Japan. Yamamoto knew this was a very dicey business and as soon is it became clear to Yamamoto that the attack occurred before a declaration of war, Yamamoto, in effect said -- uh oh! We are in for it. He was right.

The extension of the hypothesis is the 9/11 attack was essentially promoted by the Bush Administration. There is little credible evidence to support this view. Once more the U.S. was caught bare-ass in the shower. Typical government operation.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I was unaware you'd both read the book and sifted through all the evidence and competing theories. Have you also read through Robert Stinnett's Day of Deceit and Thomas Fleming's The New Dealers War?

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I don't think having Pearl Harbor attacked entered Roosevelt's mind, but policy toward Japan was full of provocations including an oil embargo. I'm pretty sure Roosevelt wanted to get the U.S. into the war one way or the other. The attack on Pearl was tactical genius and a strategic blunder of the first magnitude. Germany then declaring war of the U.S. was sheer stupidity; almost as stupid as invading Soviet Russia.

--Brant

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I don't think having Pearl Harbor attacked entered Roosevelt's mind, but policy toward Japan was full of provocations including an oil embargo. I'm pretty sure Roosevelt wanted to get the U.S. into the war one way or the other. The attack on Pearl was tactical genius and a strategic blunder of the first magnitude. Germany then declaring war of the U.S. was sheer stupidity; almost as stupid as invading Soviet Russia.

--Brant

I hate to admit it, but I agree with you here. smile.gif I do think FDR and his claque did their best to get into the European war and their policy toward Japan was one that was confrontational at best, manipulative at worst. I doubt, too, that there was a direct notion of the Japanese Empire attacking Pearl Harbor and so many people dying. I think it was more like pushing and hoping the Empire would attack somewhere.

As for the stupidity of Germany declaring war on the US and invading the Soviet Union, I think the latter was probably worse, but, on the other hand, do you doubt that, eventually, the Soviets wouldn't have attacked Germany? I believe it was only a matter of time before one or the other state made the first move in attacking the other.

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No, I haven't read the book, but I can't get worked up about the notion that somebody has found some new data or insight after all these decades in which the attack has been one of the most thorougly examined events in history. My policy is to give coverup and conspiracy stories three years to prove themselves, after which they become crackpot territory. The Watergate coverup and the charges against Alger Hiss pass the test. Pearl Harbor, 9-11 and the JFK assasination fail.

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No, I haven't read the book, but I can't get worked up about the notion that somebody has found some new data or insight after all these decades in which the attack has been one of the most thorougly examined events in history.

I don't know. Haven't read the book, though I lean towards skepticism here.

Regarding new "data or insight," there is the problem that it seems some relevant documents remain classified and I think one should never be closed to new insight. This reminds me of a few years ago when I was reading Donald Kagan's massive four volume tome on the Peloponnesian War. Even when I was reading it, this book was already two decades old and considered a classic. A friend asked me why I'd bother. Everything about that war was already known, he thought, from basically Thucydides. He wasn't aware of things like uncovering the tribute lists and other things that added more into understanding the war than merely reading Thucydides.

My policy is to give coverup and conspiracy stories three years to prove themselves, after which they become crackpot territory. The Watergate coverup and the charges against Alger Hiss pass the test. Pearl Harbor, 9-11 and the JFK assasination fail.

Whew! This makes my life so much easier. I have to only hope my associates' and my plans are not uncovered three years after they reach completion.rolleyes.gif

Edited by Dan Ust

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[...] My policy is to give coverup and conspiracy stories three years to prove themselves, after which they become crackpot territory.

A mere three years? When government secrecy classifications routinely last ten, twenty, even fifty years, if indeed they're ever lifted at all? That's entirely unrealistic.

Ye gads, Lyndon Johnson put an entire category of background sources for the Warren Commission under embargo until 2063. Disgorging such records can take generations. Many such exposés thus become timely whenever they're released.

Fortunately, the Net and electronic infiltration tools are opening up more such archives, formal and informal, than ever before. Julian Assange of Wikileaks — now openly stalked for assassination by U.S. "Defense" Department operatives — is one of the true heroes of our time.

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[...] My policy is to give coverup and conspiracy stories three years to prove themselves, after which they become crackpot territory.

A mere three years? When government secrecy classifications routinely last ten, twenty, even fifty years, if indeed they're ever lifted at all? That's entirely unrealistic.

Ye gads, Lyndon Johnson put an entire category of background sources for the Warren Commission under embargo until 2063. Disgorging such records can take generations. Many such exposés thus become timely whenever they're released.

Fortunately, the Net and electronic infiltration tools are opening up more such archives, formal and informal, than ever before. Julian Assange of Wikileaks — now openly stalked for assassination by U.S. "Defense" Department operatives — is one of the true heroes of our time.

Again, let's not lament this. We should not see this as a problem, but an opportunity to ourselves conspire. We know there's a expiration date on being caught. rolleyes.gif

More seriously, recently Jeff Riggenbach wrote something relevant here:

http://mises.org/daily/4110

Comments?

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As for the stupidity of Germany declaring war on the US and invading the Soviet Union, I think the latter was probably worse, but, on the other hand, do you doubt that, eventually, the Soviets wouldn't have attacked Germany? I believe it was only a matter of time before one or the other state made the first move in attacking the other.

That's what I said. But as for the Soviet Union attacking Germany? Sorry. Especially after little Finland effectively kicked its ass. The basic USSR model was internal subversion. Its take over of Eastern Europe was a gift of WWII. Russia is continuing mostly in this vein. Never as strong or as weak as it seems, it seems.

--Brant

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The objections to my 3-year criterion (see 7 - 9 above) employ two classic charlatans' techniques (I didn't say you are charlatans, merely that charlatans like to argue the same way you do). One is to make one's claim unfalsifiable; the other is to shift the burden of proof.

The observation that some of the material is still classified points to both. Much of the material is not classified, and it hasn't supported the theories in all the years people have tried to prove said theories. If the conspiracy theorists were confident that the suppressed material supported their claims they'd try to get it unclassified. They might succeed, and if they didn't they'd at least attract up a serious audience for their insinutations, as they have failed to do.

In the first few generations of Christianity the faithful believed that Christ would return any day. When that didn't happen, the church fathers told them all we said was that it's going to happen; we didn't say when. When communism took hold in the USSR, Marxists around the world thought that worldwide revolution would happen within a decade. The Stalin regime came up with a similar answer. When global warming predictions didn't come true, the meaninglessly broad phrase "climate change" got abroad. In all three cases, the defenders switched from a testable, falsifiable prediction to one that was neither. When the Pearl Harbor, Kennedy assassination and 9-11 conspiracy theories came up dry, they were rephrased in ways that defined away any possibility of disproving them.

As for burden of proof: when you say that particular individuals made particular plans and carried them out, you accept a responsibility to name the individuals and to document the plans and their execution. In Kennedy's case, plenty of people tried for years to do this in the media, Congress and the courts. The media patiently took up the 9-11 claims and just as patiently refuted them. The Pearl Harbor conspiracy was a favorite of lowbrow conservatives circa sixty years ago. To go on saying that as long as new knowledge might come to light, these notions have a claim to truth is an instance of what Rand called a demand for omniscience.

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[...] If the conspiracy theorists were confident that the suppressed material supported their claims they'd try to get it unclassified.

Now, that has caused me to have the biggest, most raucous horselaugh I've had all week.

Those in power voluntarily giving up their hold on such secrets? Not unless some serious spelunking is done, usually incurring possible prosecution for several major felonies — and some major competing power center has its ox being gored. And then, it's practiced only as damage control and public relations.

Only The New York Times had enough of the goods on those in power to get the Supreme Court induced to permit the release of the "Pentagon Papers." Some smaller outfit would be just as deserving of just as much consideration, but would never and does not get it.

Anyway, your three-year criterion remains unsupported, in both qualitative and quantitative aspects (why not five years? one year? today's papers? all are just as arbitrary), so it merits no further discussion.

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As for the stupidity of Germany declaring war on the US and invading the Soviet Union, I think the latter was probably worse, but, on the other hand, do you doubt that, eventually, the Soviets wouldn't have attacked Germany? I believe it was only a matter of time before one or the other state made the first move in attacking the other.

That's what I said. But as for the Soviet Union attacking Germany?

This was, if my memory's correct, in a recent biography of Stalin. Also, the Soviet Union did take a chunk of Poland, completely absorbed the Baltic states, and invaded Finland.

Sorry. Especially after little Finland effectively kicked its ass. The basic USSR model was internal subversion. Its take over of Eastern Europe was a gift of WWII. Russia is continuing mostly in this vein. Never as strong or as weak as it seems, it seems.

--Brant

Hah hah! Finland lost both the Winter War in 1939. Yes, Finland put up a stern defense and it didn't go smoothly for the Soviets, but, in the peace treaty, Finland ceded about a tenth of its territory. I suppose in your book this is kicking someone's ass, but most would see this as being beaten.

Maybe you're thinking of the Continuation War, but even this Finland eventually lost. And this was less a case of Finland kicking the Soviet's ass then of Finland bandwagoning with the then winning side Germany. (And Germany might have almost won against the Soviets, but, ultimately, it was the Soviet Union that utterly crushed Germany, don't you think?)

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I classify what Finland did as kicking ass even though it did lose. I do think that once Germany invaded the Soviet Union it was pretty much doomed to lose the war. That is not the same thing as the two countries facing each other across a divided Poland and Stalin thinking let's start a war with Germany and invade! Stalin's armies had to get seasoned to get into fighting shape and get re-supplied with massive arms' shipments from the U.S. and his own displaced factories. As for Hitler, he was something of a political genius and a strategic dolt of the first order. He lost an entire army because he refused to permit a retreat and regrouping during the battle of Stalingrad. That's just one example. Bismark appreciated what Hitler would eventually come up against when he was asked what was the most salient geo-political reality of his day: that the North Americans spoke English. After the Americans got into WWI and tipped the balance of power to the allies it wasn't realistic to imagine or expect that he could avoid American involvement in another general war in Europe, but I guess he watched too many propaganda films made by his resident film-making genius.

--Brant

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I classify what Finland did as kicking ass even though it did lose.

I'd say it put up a good defense, but was doomed -- as can be seen from ceding lots of territory to the Soviet Union.

Also, I should've brought up the case of the Soviets warring with the Japanese. If my memories correct, in Manchuria before Germany attacked the Soviets, the Soviets basically wiped out the Japanese army. I believe up the Japanese army in China only ever lost to the Soviets. (I believe the same was true throughout mainland Asia, but I forget about Burma in all its detail.)

I do think that once Germany invaded the Soviet Union it was pretty much doomed to lose the war.

I think you might be right about that.

That is not the same thing as the two countries facing each other across a divided Poland and Stalin thinking let's start a war with Germany and invade! Stalin's armies had to get seasoned to get into fighting shape and get re-supplied with massive arms' shipments from the U.S. and his own displaced factories.

I believe the tide had turned for the Germans before any substantial US aid got through. I believe the Battles for Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad demonstrated that the German war machine was not invincible. (I think the turning point in North Africa might also be seen as El Alamein. Of course, one might argue this all hindsight. A sufficiently well read, reasonable, and non-partisan person back then might not have seen them as the beginning of the end for Germany and its allies.)

I also believe Stalin's biggest problem was Stalin. In this case, it wasn't that he had unseasoned troops in general, but that he had done his best to purged the military's leadership, so he had an officer corps that more loyal than seasoned or spirited.

As for Hitler, he was something of a political genius and a strategic dolt of the first order. He lost an entire army because he refused to permit a retreat and regrouping during the battle of Stalingrad. That's just one example. Bismark appreciated what Hitler would eventually come up against when he was asked what was the most salient geo-political reality of his day: that the North Americans spoke English. After the Americans got into WWI and tipped the balance of power to the allies it wasn't realistic to imagine or expect that he could avoid American involvement in another general war in Europe, but I guess he watched too many propaganda films made by his resident film-making genius.

--Brant

I don't disagree. In this case, Stalin faced a similar problem, but this was a battle between two maximal states that were busy weakening themselves through internal repression and paranoia. In a way, it seems like a race to the bottom. (I also think Hitler's racial policies helped to do in the Soviet campaign. Where he could've made local allies to fight against the Soviets, he went for racial extermination. Stalin was little better here -- when one thinks of the plight of the Volga Germans and other groups put into internal exile which resulted in mass death, but, again, it was a race to the bottom. A pattern that seems to repeat itself in many wars and conflicts.)

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[...] If the conspiracy theorists were confident that the suppressed material supported their claims they'd try to get it unclassified.

Now, that has caused me to have the biggest, most raucous horselaugh I've had all week.

Those in power voluntarily giving up their hold on such secrets? Not unless some serious spelunking is done, usually incurring possible prosecution for several major felonies — and some major competing power center has its ox being gored. And then, it's practiced only as damage control and public relations.

Only The New York Times had enough of the goods on those in power to get the Supreme Court induced to permit the release of the "Pentagon Papers." Some smaller outfit would be just as deserving of just as much consideration, but would never and does not get it.

Anyway, your three-year criterion remains unsupported, in both qualitative and quantitative aspects (why not five years? one year? today's papers? all are just as arbitrary), so it merits no further discussion.

I'm also surprised that the three year criterion -- which seems arbitrary and too short from the persceptive of what important documents get declassified (why three years and not three minutes or a hundred years?) -- being deployed at all.

And I'm shocked to see him claiming, when he hasn't even read the book, that the comparison is being made to faith-based idelogies. It'd be different if he read the book and was able to show, "This writer is truly making untestable claims."

Moreover, I wouldn't lump all conspiracy theories together. That's a blanket condemnation. After all, conspiracies do happen. That doesn't mean, of course, a particular conspiracy theory is true -- any more than that people lie means a particular individual is lying at a particular time. Again, I offer Jeff Riggenbach's transcribed podcast on conspiracy theories for consideration. It's online at:

http://mises.org/daily/4110

Here's an extended quote from it:

"You see, we don't know going in which conspiracy theories are true and which aren't. In many cases, we can't know; we simply don't have enough information.

"Ordinarily, we find out that a particular conspiracy theory is true because historians — whether the historians in a hurry whom we usually call journalists or the more painstaking historians who write books and teach at colleges and universities — have come along and combed over the ground and the documents and considered the testimony of all the witnesses they could find and reached the relevant conclusions. Whether a conspiracy theory is true is usually a matter for history to decide.

"Government officials are not, by and large, happy with this state of affairs, because history is the natural enemy of the state. Sustained reflection after the fact on exactly what the state did and why inevitably has the tendency to undermine any confidence one might have had in the state's good motives and desire to promote "social welfare." It tends, inevitably, to "induce widespread public skepticism about the government's assertions" and to "dampen public mobilization and participation in government-led efforts, or both."

"The state benefits from the shortage of information that the speed of events imposes on people. It can't avoid history entirely, of course — people will read and write about such stuff, no matter what the state says or does — but the state can do what it can to see to it that whatever history does get written tells the story the state wants told."

Here, Jeff is not arguing for anyone to accept any particular conspiracy theory, but I don't think an arbitrary test will work out here. To just give one example: I imagine most here know about the various radiation, biological, and chemical experiments carried out on unknowing civilians by the US government. These only became public knowledge years or decades afterward. One wonders if they'd have ever been known had people investigated stopped at three years.mellow.gif

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I picked three years out of generosity. None of the cases in which a conspiracy theory has been shown true (e.g. the crimes of the Nixon and Clinton administrations) has taken nearly that long.

The time has come to apply the classic open-and-shut test of empirical seriousness: under what circumstances would you be willing to conclude that time has run out on Those Claims about Pearl Harbor, 9 11 or the Kennedy assassination and that they have been proven false? To anticipate the obvious: some circumstances (not necessarily the only ones) under which I would conclude that burden had been met are:

- corroborated public admissions by the perpetrators;

- corroborated handwritten admissions.

Corroboration could be court-admissible documentation of the contacts among the perpetrators, the plans they made and the means by which they carried their plans out.

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I picked three years out of generosity. None of the cases in which a conspiracy theory has been shown true (e.g. the crimes of the Nixon and Clinton administrations) has taken nearly that long.

The time has come to apply the classic open-and-shut test of empirical seriousness: under what circumstances would you be willing to conclude that time has run out on Those Claims about Pearl Harbor, 9 11 or the Kennedy assassination and that they have been proven false? To anticipate the obvious: some circumstances (not necessarily the only ones) under which I would conclude that burden had been met are:

- corroborated public admissions by the perpetrators;

- corroborated handwritten admissions.

Corroboration could be court-admissible documentation of the contacts among the perpetrators, the plans they made and the means by which they carried their plans out.

Time doesn't run out on the quest for knowledge, which doesn't mean it's not futile in the referenced cases because what is sought isn't there to be found. Knowledge of futility is valuable and nutty people demonstrate it all the time saving serious people time and effort.

--Brant

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I picked three years out of generosity. None of the cases in which a conspiracy theory has been shown true (e.g. the crimes of the Nixon and Clinton administrations) has taken nearly that long.

The time has come to apply the classic open-and-shut test of empirical seriousness: under what circumstances would you be willing to conclude that time has run out on Those Claims about Pearl Harbor, 9 11 or the Kennedy assassination and that they have been proven false? To anticipate the obvious: some circumstances (not necessarily the only ones) under which I would conclude that burden had been met are:

- corroborated public admissions by the perpetrators;

- corroborated handwritten admissions.

Corroboration could be court-admissible documentation of the contacts among the perpetrators, the plans they made and the means by which they carried their plans out.

Time doesn't run out on the quest for knowledge,

Agreed, though not according to holders of the three year rule.rolleyes.gif

which doesn't mean it's not futile in the referenced cases because what is sought isn't there to be found.

In cases like this, one can really know until one looks.

Knowledge of futility is valuable and nutty people demonstrate it all the time saving serious people time and effort.

--Brant

Do you mean "nutty people" like Thomas Fleming (The New Dealers' War: FDR and the War Within World War II) and Robert B. Stinnett (Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor)? Have the "serious people" actually read them?

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I picked three years out of generosity. None of the cases in which a conspiracy theory has been shown true (e.g. the crimes of the Nixon and Clinton administrations) has taken nearly that long.

The time has come to apply the classic open-and-shut test of empirical seriousness: under what circumstances would you be willing to conclude that time has run out on Those Claims about Pearl Harbor, 9 11 or the Kennedy assassination and that they have been proven false? To anticipate the obvious: some circumstances (not necessarily the only ones) under which I would conclude that burden had been met are:

- corroborated public admissions by the perpetrators;

- corroborated handwritten admissions.

Corroboration could be court-admissible documentation of the contacts among the perpetrators, the plans they made and the means by which they carried their plans out.

Time doesn't run out on the quest for knowledge,

Agreed, though not according to holders of the three year rule.rolleyes.gif

which doesn't mean it's not futile in the referenced cases because what is sought isn't there to be found.

In cases like this, one can really know until one looks.

Knowledge of futility is valuable and nutty people demonstrate it all the time saving serious people time and effort.

--Brant

Do you mean "nutty people" like Thomas Fleming (The New Dealers' War: FDR and the War Within World War II) and Robert B. Stinnett (Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor)? Have the "serious people" actually read them?

No Dan. I was speaking generically.

--Brant

genetically?

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If "time doesn't run out on the quest for knowledge" is supposed to mean that we may never consider a question settled, then it's fallacious on two different counts.

1. Equivocation

There's always something new to learn, but this does not entail that there's always something new to learn about any particular claim, any more than "space is unlimited" entails that the space in a particular room is unlimited.

2. Question-begging

A statement or belief can qualify as knowledge only if it's true. This is just what hasn't been proven about the cases in question.

For all that, I freely acknowledge that time never runs out on the quest to prove silly conspiracy theories.

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If "time doesn't run out on the quest for knowledge" is supposed to mean that we may never consider a question settled, then it's fallacious on two different counts.

1. Equivocation

There's always something new to learn, but this does not entail that there's always something new to learn about any particular claim, any more than "space is unlimited" entails that the space in a particular room is unlimited.

2. Question-begging

A statement or belief can qualify as knowledge only if it's true. This is just what hasn't been proven about the cases in question.

For all that, I freely acknowledge that time never runs out on the quest to prove silly conspiracy theories.

I thought Brant meant one can't merely put an arbitrary duration on inquiry. In other words, one can't say, from the armchair, "Unless three years hence, umabiguous evidence for a given conspiracy theory is found, the theory must be wrong." Worse, it shouldn't mean that while a particular conspiracy theory might be wrong, no conspiracy happened or that the official view of what happened is true. (I hope Brant will chime in if I'm wrong here.)

Also, I still see you trying to bunch all conspiracy together -- and, in particular, all conspiracies about three unrelated events -- the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the assassination of JFK, and the 2001 attacks in America. These are three very different events and various theories regarding them need not be stitched together to make some broad claim about such theorizing. It's almost as if someone were putting together theories about how trout spawn, when Pluto formed, and the nature of the Higgs boson together to throw doubt on science in general.

Add to this, while many conspiracy theories are no doubt bunk -- maybe due to the desire to find an easy, simply explanation for some complex social process or event (what comes to mind are views of how oil prices rise wherein a conspiracy of speculators is often blamed or how AIDS has spread in the US via the CIA) -- there is a problem when official sources present a version of history. The official source and its backer generally has a vested interest in a certain view of history sticking. (Which is not to say government itself is a conspiracy... Or is it?rolleyes.gif) Add to this, successful conspiracies tend to either not be uncovered or uncovered years later usually when there's some slip up. A rather benign example is Piltdown Man. A less benign one is the aforementioned Pentagon Papers.

All of this said, I can sympathize with the view of needing some way to get through all the competing theories about a given event. Some of these will likely never be known with any degree of certainty. History is not like the ancient view of geometry: some list of certainties that can be once proven or disproven that an honest, well meaning person can just memorize. (Even geometry isn't like the ancient view of geometry.) New evidence can shed light on old events -- a recent archaeology, for example, has tended to demolish the various views on Ancient Israel. (See, e.g., The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Neil Silberman and Israel Finkelstein. In this example, it isn't like there weren't many theories of, say, how historical the Hebrew Bible is, just how Ancient Israel came into being, and what the relationship was between the Canaanites and the Ancient Israelis. There were many such theories -- and many that rejected the Biblical account even sans the miraculous stuff. The more recent evidence however has weighed against even these theories. No doubt, too, in another decade or three, more evidence will come to light which will force any reasonable follower of Silberman's and Finkelstein's account to revise her views.)

Finally, and again, you haven't even read the book that kicked off this thread. So how do you know it's a silly conspiracy? You might argue not enough time -- and, again, I'll be sympathetic, but one might wonder how much time you have to spin out theories about why a particular book you haven't read should be dismissed.

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