If Cheney & Co. Had Really Plotted the 9/11 Attacks ...
The following is an adapted excerpt from Matt Taibbi's new book, The Great Derangement" (Spiegel and Grau, 2008).
The 9/11 Truth movement is really distinguished by a kind of defiant unfamiliarity with the actual character of America's ruling class. In 9/11 lore the people who staff the White House, the security agencies, the Pentagon and groups like PNAC and the Council of Foreign Relations are imagined to be a monolithic, united class of dastardly, swashbuckling risk-takers with permanent hard-ons for Bourne Supremacy-style "false flag" and "black bag" operations, instead of the mundanely greedy, risk-averse, backstabbing, lawn-tending, half-clever suburban golfers they are in real life. It completely misunderstands the nature of American government -- fails to see that the old maxim about "the business of America is business" is absolutely true, that the federal government in this country is really just a lo-rent time-share property seasonally occupied by this or that clan of financial interests, each of which takes its 4-year turn at the helm tinkering with the tax laws and regulatory code and the rates at the Fed in the way it thinks will best keep the money train rolling.The people who really run America don't send the likes of George Bush and Dick Cheney to the White House to cook up boat-rocking, maniacal world-domination plans and commit massive criminal conspiracies on live national television; they send them there to repeal PUCHA and dole out funds for the F-22 and pass energy bills with $14 billion tax breaks and slash fuel efficiency standards and do all the other shit that never makes the papers but keeps Wall Street and the country's corporate boardrooms happy. You don't elect politicians to commit crimes; you elect politicians to make your crimes legal. That is the whole purpose of the racket of government.
Another other use of it would be a terrible investment, and the financial class in this country didn't get to where it is by betting on the ability of a president whose lips move when he reads to blow up two Manhattan skyscrapers in broad daylight without getting caught.But according to 9/11 Truth lore, the financial patrons of democratic government were game for exactly that sort of gamble. According to the movement, the Powers That Be in the year 2000 spent $200 million electing George Bush and Dick Cheney because they were insufficiently impressed with the docility of the American population. What was needed, apparently, was a mass distraction, a gruesome mass murder that would whip the American population into a war frenzy. The same people who had managed in the 2000 election to sell billionaire petro-royalist George Bush as an ordinary down-to-earth ranch hand apparently so completely lacked confidence in their own propaganda skills that they resorted to ordering a mass murder on American soil as a way of cajoling America to go to war against a second-rate tyrant like Saddam Hussein. As if getting America to support going to war even against innocent countries had ever been hard before! The truly sad thing about the 9/11 Truth movement is that it's based upon the wildly erroneous proposition that our leaders would ever be frightened enough of public opinion to feel the need to pull off this kind of stunt before acting in a place like Afghanistan or Iraq.
At its heart, 9/11 Truth is a conceit, a narcissistic pipe dream for a dingbat, sheeplike population that is pleased to imagine itself dangerous and ungovernable. Rather than admit to their own powerlessness and irrelevance, or admit that they've spent the last fifty years or so electing leaders who openly handed their tax money to business cronies and golfed in Scotland while middle America's jobs were being sent overseas, the adherents to 9/11 Truth instead flatter themselves with fantasies about a ruling class obsessed with keeping the terrible truth from the watchful, exacting eye of The People.Whereas the real conspiracy of power in America is right out in the open and always has been, only nobody cares, so long as Fear Factor and Baseball Tonight come on at the right times. A conspiracy like the one described by 9/11 Truth would only be necessary in a country where the people are a threat to actually govern themselves effectively.But none of that even matters nearly as much as what 9/11 Truth says about the mental state of the population. The whole narrative of the movement is so completely and utterly retarded, it boggles the mind. It's like something cooked up by a bunch of teenagers raised on texting, TV and Sports Illustrated who just saw V For Vendetta for the first time and decided to write a Penguin History of the World on the strength of it. A genius on the order of a Mozart or a Shakespeare would be hard-pressed to dream up the awesome comedy that is the alleged plot from the point of view of the plotters. If there was such a conspiracy, remember, something like the following conversation would have had to have taken place: April, 1999, World Trade Center building 7, New York, NY. A secret meeting of the Project for a New American Century. In attendance are Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Irv Kristol, and ... others. Cheney, standing at the head of the table and glaring downward, addresses the group:
Cheney: Gentlemen, we stand at a crossroads.
Kristol: (whispering to Feith) I love it when we stand at a crossroads!
Feith: (giggling) Me, too. But I never know what to wear.
Cheney: Do you assholes mind?
Kristol: Sorry, Dick.
Feith: Me, too.
Cheney: Okay. (Clears throat). As I was saying, gentlemen, we stand at a crossroads ...
Kristol: (in Bill Murray-esque fashion, mimicking suspense-movie soundtrack) Dunh-dunh-dunh!
Feith: Dunh-dunh-dunh! Dunh ... duh-duh-dunh!
Cheney: Oh, for fuck's sake.
Kristol: (laughing) Okay, seriously, Dick, I'm sorry.
Feith: (still laughing) Duh-duh-duh ... .
Feith: Okay, okay. (to Cheney) No, it's okay, Dick, you can go on.
Cheney: You're sure? No more jokes to make? Guys want to do your goddamn Katherine Hepburn impersonations or something?
Kristol: (Channeling "On Golden Pond") Come on, Norman! Hurry up! The loons, the loons!
Feith: (whispering) Shut up, for Christ's sake! (to Cheney) Our lips are sealed, Dick. Honest.
Cheney: Okay. Jesus. As I was saying ... we, uh, stand at a crossroads. (Pauses warily, continues). As we head into the next millenium, America is the world's preeminent military and economic power, but the ground is not exactly solid beneath us. We are the inheritors of a great historical mantle, gentlemen, the rulers of the world's energy supply and therefore the rulers of world commerce. It is a mantle we inherited from the British, who rose to world power on a bed of coal, who in turn inherited it from the Dutch, who put a chokehold on Europe with their fleet of whaling ships. Our turn began when a discovery was made a little place called Oil Creek near Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859 ...
Wolfowitz: Dick, you can skip all that stuff. We had our Standard Oil theme party just six months ago. Lynne made the squid ink risotto, don't you remember?
Cheney: Right. Well, the point is ... I think we all know about Marion King Hubbert's projections about the future of oil reserves. We all know the deal: in every oil field there comes a time when half of the field's reachable oil has been extracted. After that point, exploitation becomes more and more expensive; as time goes on, it requires more and more energy just to extract one barrel of oil. Eventually, oil extraction becomes uneconomic, which is to say it requires a barrel of oil's worth of energy to extract a barrel of oil. When that time comes, gentlemen, our oil-based empire is fucked. And the clock begins ticking in that direction once we pass that halfway point with the world's oil reserves. Once oil "peaks," America -- an empire whose power is based almost entirely upon its oil dominance -- will officially be on the decline.
Feith: Yeah. And it doesn't help that the only reason the dollar is worth more than the peso is that OPEC still trades in dollars.
Cheney: Exactly. Without oil, we're like Bangladesh with fat people. And here's the problem: that failsafe point is upon us. I think we all know the oil production in the lower 48 states peaked in 1970, that Alaskan oil production peaked in 1988, Russia around the same time. Saudi Arabia may be just years from peaking, and in any case our political situation there is tenuous at best. Our guys at Halliburton now estimate that worldwide oil and gas production from existing reserves is declining by about 4 to 6 percent every year ...
Wolfowitz: So what's your point? We're all old anyway. Who cares what happens 20 years from now?
Cheney: The point, Paul, is that the American empire as we know it will collapse within 20-30 years unless we find massive new supplies of oil and find them fast. By 2010 we're going to need to find fifty million additional barrels of oil per day. And there's only one place where we can get that much oil ...
Feith: Of course. Let's invade! I hate those goddamn speed-skaters anyway.
Cheney: No, you assholes, not Sweden. Iraq. It's the only major oil-rich state whose reserves haven't been mostly exploited. There's probably seven million barrels a day minimum just sitting in those fields -- and the worst thing is, unless we get in there soon, it's all going to go to the French, the Russians and the Germans, since Saddam will sell to all of them long before he deals with us, assuming his UN sanctions get lifted at some point.
Wolfowitz: My God.
Cheney: So it's clear we've got to get in there. Are we agreed on this?
Cheney: All right. Well, I've got a plan.
Wolfowitz: We get George elected in 2000 and go in, right? Tell the public Saddam's in violation of his UN restrictions or some shit like that? He is anyway, isn't he?
Cheney: No, that would never work. The public would never stand for it.(Everyone bursts out laughing)
Wolfowitz: Oh, wait -- you're serious?
Cheney: Absolutely. No, I think the way to go is to cook up some kind of justification. Something that will really get the public behind the invasion ...
Feith: I know! We go to the UN, show bogus photos of Saddam's secret store of chemical and biological weapons, evidence of his nuclear weapons program. Tell the world he's planning to attack.
Cheney: No. Not emotional enough. I mean something really hot ...
Kristol: It could be a human-rights thing. Some emergency, like he's gassing Kurds again or something. That worked for Clinton in Kosovo. I mean, who gave a shit about Albanians, right? I wouldn't know an Albanian if I caught one in bed with my wife. But that whole rape-camp thing was good enough by a mile to start that war.
Cheney: No, no, that's not vivid enough, not Band of Brothers enough. We need the people all lathered up, their mouths full of spittle, howling for blood, like pit bulls. You guys need to think to scale, think big, think like Michael Bay.
Feith: Michael Bay, Jesus. Okay, okay, what, then?
Cheney: We bomb the World Trade Center.
Kristol: Perfect! And blame it on Saddam!
Cheney: No, we bomb the World Trade Center and blame it on Osama bin Laden.
Feith: Oh. How?
Cheney: Easy. First, we cultivate 19 suicidal Muslim patsies from a variety of Middle Eastern countries, I'd say mostly from Saudi Arabia. We bring them to the U.S., train them at U.S. flight schools. They should be high-profile terrorist suspects who are magically given free reign by the security agencies to travel back and forth to various terrorist training camps to study passenger jet piloting. Actually that process is already underway now. Our friends in the Clinton administration are seeing to it that four groups of Arab men are being brought along by the FBI and the CIA.
Wolfowitz: How is it that the Clinton administration is already helping us with this, when we haven't even planned this yet?
Cheney: They just are. Okay?
Wolfowitz: Okay, fine. And what do we do with these hijackers?
Cheney: We sit idly by while they plot to hijack a series of passenger jet planes and crash them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the White House.
Wolfowitz: And how do we get them to do that?
Cheney: We just do. You see, we worked with these people back in the old mujahadeen days in Afghanistan. So naturally we're still thick as thieves with them.
Feith: Oh, of course. So we get them to fly into these buildings. And the impact from the planes will bring down the World Trade Center.
Cheney: No, Doug, dammit, you're not following me. The impact from the planes most certainly won't be sufficient to knock down the Towers. We know this because we've privately conducted studies which show that the Towers will easily be able to withstand impact by two jets loaded to the gills with jet fuel. That said, the jets will likely cause skyscraper fires hot enough to kill everyone above the point of impact; we're going to have to assume, of course, that the exits from the higher floors to the lower floors will be mostly blocked after the collisions. So assuming we crash the planes about two-thirds of the way up each of the towers early on a business day, we're looking at trapping and killing a good three, four, maybe even five thousand people on the upper floors.
Feith: Fantastic. I love killing people in the finance industry. It's too bad the people on the lower floors will get to escape.
Cheney: It is too bad -- especially since we're going to blow up the rest of the building complex anyway.
Feith: We are?
Cheney: Yes. You see, the way I see it, our best course of action is to first crash planes into each the towers, trapping and killing those thousands on the upper floors of each building. After the impact, of course, the people on the lower floors will find their way out of the building and on to the street, where they will achieve relative safety -- at which point we'll finally detonate the massive network of explosive charges we've secretly hidden in the buildings in the weeks and months prior to the attacks.
Feith: Wait, why did we do that again?
Cheney: Because the buildings wouldn't have fallen down unless we did.
Wolfowitz: But why do we need the buildings to fall down?
Cheney: Because the events of the day will be insufficiently horrifying and impactful without the building collapses.
Feith: So why don't we detonate the charges earlier, so that we can kill the people on the lower floors, too?
Cheney: That's a good question. At some point we have to sacrifice effect for believability. You see, if the planes crash into the buildings and the buildings immediately collapse, everyone will be suspicious and they'll immediately be onto the presence of the explosives. So what we have to do is let the planes crash into the building, give the jet fuel time to start fires that will "soften" the building core, and then we detonate the charges. Afterwards, we'll be able to argue that the fires coupled with the impact actually caused the buildings to collapse.
Feith: Why will we be able to argue that? Didn't our studies show that impact and fire alone wouldn't have caused the buildings to collapse?
Cheney: Those were our secret, far-more-advanced studies, done with secret, far-more-advanced military technology. The vast majority of the world's civilian structural engineers, however, can be counted on after the incident to conclude that the buildings collapsed due to a combination of fire, impact, and the knocking off of fireproofing from the building beams.
Feith: Why can they be counted on to conclude that?
Cheney: Because that's what our secret research shows their not-secret research will show! Jesus Christ, work with me on this, will you?
Wolfowitz: I think I get it. We crash the planes, kill everyone above the impact of the planes, let the people underneath the impact out to safety, then collapse the buildings about an hour or so later using the explosives that we pointlessly incurred months and weeks worth of career- and life-threatening risk to covertly plant in a building complex visited by hundreds of thousands of people every week.
Cheney: Exactly! The actual deaths will mostly be caused by the planes. But we'll incur the massive additional risk simply to destroy the building, for effect, because it will look cool and scary on television.
Feith: I'm still confused about the our-studies and their-studies thing.
Cheney: (sighing) What's the matter, Doug?
Feith: If we know the planes won't collapse the buildings, isn't it possible that other people after the accident will figure out that the planes didn't collapse the buildings?
Cheney: Yes. But those other people will be a tiny minority of mostly non-scientists who'll deduce the whole plan by researching the matter on the internet. Their groundbreaking, visionary research, however, we can count on being ignored by the mainstream scientific community, which will continue to insist the planes caused the collapses.
Feith: Why can we count on that?
Cheney: Because the mainstream science community, like the whole of the corporate media, the Congress, the Democratic Party, even the mainstream leftist political opposition will naturally be in either conscious or unconscious assent with our plan. Most scientists, you know, depend in some form or another on government funding. So they'll be highly motivated to sign off on our dastardly mass-murder plot, since they know their salaries -- some of these people make almost a hundred thousand a year, you know -- ultimately depend on our ability to secure fifty billion additional barrels of oil per day by 2010 by fooling the population into invading Saddam Hussein's secular Iraq by faking a terrorist attack against the World Trade Center at the hands of a bunch of Saudi religious radicals loyal to the Afghan-supported terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
Wolfowitz: No, I get it, I really do. It all makes sense.
Cheney: Also, we have to knock down WTC-7, this very building, in order to get rid of the evidence. I think it goes without saying that we'll need a command center for these operations, and I can't think of a place that would be better or more appropriate than an office right next to the point of attack. From these very offices, gentlemen, we will coordinate the military war exercises that will be held in this region on that very morning, war exercises that will so thoroughly confuse our own military that they will be unable to identify and intercept the hijacked planes we will be sending at the towers like so many deadly guided missiles.
Kristol: But, Dick -- how can we be sure that the Air Force won't find a way to intercept the planes anyway?
Wolfowitz: I'll answer that, Dick. Irv, the best way we can guarantee that will be to issue stand-down orders in addition to implementing the war games.
Kristol: I see. We order the war games in order to stymie the Air Force intercepts we don't control, but just in case those fail, we'll control the Air Force intercepts.
Cheney: Now you're catching on.
Kristol: And the control center for those war games and for all our other plans (including the demolition) will be right here. These rooms are secret and utterly impenetrable to the general public at the moment, but after the attacks they will be vulnerable to forensic inspection by whichever city or federal agency goes through the wreckage of this doomed building.
Cheney: Exactly. That's one of the reasons I thought we should choose this space. If we chose some other spot as a base of operations -- a warehouse in Queens, say -- we might be able to keep it secure forever. But if we set up here, we can be sure some snooping official will end up poking around in the ruins. And we want that, it adds intrigue to the whole deal. Because it goes without saying that we won't be able to control all the cleanup agencies, except those that might be inclined to find our bomb fragments. Those we can count on 100%.
Kristol: Right, but still, we have to really be sure we destroy everything here. Especially all the papers and computer records of the conspiracy plans, which we will naturally leave behind, banking on the fact that they will be destroyed in the hellish conflagration.
Feith: Guys, I'm lost. You're saying we have to detonate this entire building in order to cover up the evidence of the crime?
All: Of course.
Feith: Why don't we just not leave the evidence behind and not blow up the building? Why should there be any evidence to leave behind at all?
Cheney: Doug, you're not being realistic. You always have to leave evidence of covert operations behind for the public to maybe find.
Wolfowitz: Well, except that we never have before.
Cheney: Right, except for that. (a phone in the middle of the conference table rings. Kristol picks is up.)
Kristol: Hello? Who's this? Oh, hey, Larry. A gast in shetl! I'll put you on speaker! (cups phone, presses speaker button; addresses others) It's Larry Silverstein, the WTC landlord.
Silverstein: Hey guys! Vos makht ir?
Cheney: Not bad, Larry, how goes it?
Silverstein: In dr'erd afn dek! Just awful! But we get by, you know.
Cheney: What can we do you for, Larry?
Silverstein: Oh, hey, well, a little birdie told me that you guys were planning on blowing up my building complex and blaming it on Islamic terrorists!
Cheney: We all have our hobbies, Larry.
Silverstein: Well, naturally, you have my assent. Anything to grease the wheels of international capitalism. Also, as a landlord, I love seeing my tenants burned to death and jumping out of high windows on live television and that sort of thing. Plus, I'm a Jew, you know, I have horns. Paul, how's your family?
Wolfowitz: Oh, Larry, don't ask. Clare just last week popped her bursa sac building a sukkah. But does anyone live a life without troubles these days?
Silverstein: Things just keep getting worse and worse, you're right there. Listen, fellas, about that building complex ...
Silverstein: Do you think you could make sure that the WTC-7 building goes down, too? See, the thing is, I just signed a new insurance deal with Industrial Risk Insurers, this could all work out very nicely for me ...
Cheney: Larry, it's such an amazing coincidence, we were just talking about that. As it happens, we need to destroy the building to get rid of the evidence anyway. So say no more about that, we'll take care of it.
Wolfowitz: Well, say no more until it happens. Then you might just want to casually mention near a PBS camera that you're planning on "pulling" the building.
Silverstein: What does "pulling" mean?
Cheney: Well, it's not a demolition term, but some will say it is. We're thinking you might just want to make a little admission in that direction.
Silverstein: Before my insurance investigation is concluded? At exactly the time when such an admission would cost me my entire settlement? Consider it done!
All: Thanks, Larry.
Silverstein: You bet, fellas! See you on the links. Mazel tov! Oh, hey, Paul--
Silverstein: Pull my finger, Paul! Pull it!
Wolfowitz: You bet I'll "pull it," you mensch!
Silverstein: Later!(Silverstein hangs up)
Cheney: Well, that worked out well. I guess the only things left to really worry about are the other two planes. What do you guys think?
Kristol: Well, one plane. I'm thinking with the Pentagon, we send a missile or a drone into the building, then just tell everyone it's a plane. Just to fuck with people.
Feith: Is this going to be your basic take-the-real-plane-to-a-remote-military-base, kill-the-passengers, then-fake-their-cellphone-distress-calls-using-advanced-voice-recog-technology deals?
Kristol: That's what I'm thinking. Keep it simple, in other words.
Wolfowitz: Now I'm confused. We hire patsies to fly into the World Trade Center, but for the Pentagon, we don't use patsies?
Cheney: No. We use patsies, but just not to fly the plane. See, the patsies we choose for the Pentagon job won't actually have enough piloting skill to maneuver a plane into the Pentagon. So what we'll do is take a real passenger flight, hijack it and take it to a remote location -- say, Wright Patterson Airport in Ohio -- and then kill all the passengers on board, including the patsies, with poison gas. Then, instead of using that plane, we'll either shoot a missile or use one of those GlobalHawk drone planes to crash into the Pentagon. Then we tell everyone that it was actually the missing plane that crashed into the Pentagon.
Wolfowitz: Why don't we just get patsies who can fly a plane? Isn't that what we're doing in New York?
Cheney: It's so hard to find skilled patsies these days.
Kristol: Plus, Paul, it'll be simple. All we have to do is go to the crash site afterwards and deposit pieces of airplane wreckage, landing gear and so on, at the appropriate places ...
Cheney: That's perfect. I know exactly where we can get some airplane wreckage, too. There was an American Airlines jet that crashed in Colombia in 1995; we can take pieces of that plane and just sort of drop them on the lawn when no one is looking ... You know, just like in The Great Escape â€” drop them through a pantleg while whistling and looking off into the distance, and just sort of kick them around in the burning wreckage ...
Kristol: Or even better, we can drop them on the lawn from a circling C-130 after the crash. Just have someone leaning out the cargo bay with big pieces of fuselage, dropping them strategically in between the rescue workers. We can do the same thing with the body parts; we'll just take some of the bodies, barbecue them with jet fuel, and just sort of toss bits of them here and there around the site.
Cheney: That works for me. What I like about that is that it's so simple.
Wolfowitz: Okay, let me back up. Rather than just finding some patsies who can fly -- which is exactly what we'll be doing in New York -- we instead seize an actual passenger flight and remove the passengers to a remote location and kill them, disposing of the plane later. Then we attack the Pentagon and kill 100 or so of our own people with either a missile or a Global Hawk drone plane, banking on the probability that no one will see a plane shooting a missile in broad daylight of the nation's capital. Then, after we execute this attack on the Pentagon, we go back to the site and cleverly rearrange the evidence to make it look like a plane crashed there, including planting the samples of DNA of all the people we killed in Ohio or whatever. I'm not saying it doesn't sound like a good plan, but can I ask why we're doing this? If we can't find a patsy who can fly a plane, why not just not crash a plane into the Pentagon?
Cheney: What do you mean? But a plane crashes into the Pentagon. That's part of the plan.
Wolfowitz: Right, but since it's our plan and we can change it, why don't we just scuttle the entire Pentagon operation? We've already got the money shot with the Towers -- why do we need to go through all the trouble of finding hijackers who can't fly, nurturing them in the womb of ineffective government surveillance, getting them on a plane full of passengers, and then faking the deaths of all these people, telling the world they died in a plane crash that was actually a sinister attack using our own technology? I mean, so many things can go wrong. You've got to get people to sign off on the DNA reports, you've got eyewitnesses with weird stories, you've got inconsistent radar data, you've got to put stuff there for the dogs to find ...
Cheney: Don't worry about the dogs. We've got the dogs covered.
Wolfowitz: Oh, well, okay. But still -- why not just skip the whole thing?
Cheney: Are you suggesting that instead of executing hundreds of sinister, secretive, murderous sub-plans that all must go off flawlessly to together create a single underpublicized deception, that instead of that we just blow it off and go with the much larger and more spectacular World Trade Center event?
Wolfowitz: Right. Either that or find patsies who can fly.
Cheney: Hmm. Interesting. What do you guys think?
Feith: I don't know, Dick. It seems much easier just to go with the whole fake-the-flight, kill-the-passengers, fake-the-cell-phone-calls, pass-off-the-missile-attack-as-a-plane-crash thing. I can't think of any simpler way to do this plan than that.
Kristol: Yeah, Dick, frankly, neither can I. I like your plan better. It's so much more ... cloak n' daggerier!
Cheney: Well, it's settled, then. Paul, you cool?
Wolfowitz: Hey, I trust you guys, you know that. (the phone rings again)
Feith: I'll get it. (grabs phone) Hello? Oh, hey, Ted, what's up! (whispering, to everyone else) It's Ted Olson. (into phone) I'll put you on speaker, okay, Ted?
Olson: 'Sup, fellas!
Cheney: 'Sup, counselor! How goes it? Talked to George much lately?
Olson: As Governor Bush's attorney, you know I can't discuss that -- even with you assholes.(everyone laughs)
Cheney: Fair enough, What can we do you for, counselor?
Olson: Well, I don't mean to be a pest ...
Cheney: Speak up, speak up.
Olson: Well, a little birdie told me that you guys were planning on faking an airplane hijacking and shooting a drone into the Pentagon, blaming it all on Islamic terrorists!
Cheney: Sure are a lot of little birdies around these days!
Olson: I was just wondering if you could stick my wife on the plane you're thinking of hijacking.
Olson: Right, Babs.
Cheney: That's no problem. Consider it done. But you've got to get her on the plane.
Olson: Shit, that won't be hard. I'll tell her I dropped a dollar in the other airport. She'll catch the first fucking flight.
Cheney: That's great. Hey, maybe, actually you could help us. After we take Babs to a military base and dispose of her fat body, can you tell the press that she called you, weeping, on her cell phone during the hijacking? It'll add verisimilitude to the whole thing.
Olson: You mean like, "Oh, my poor wife, she called me in those last dire minutes before those terrorist bastards took her life, blah blah blah," that sort of thing?
Olson: Hey, I'm a lawyer, I lie for a living. Consider it done. Of course, the pain of losing Babs would be easier if ...
Cheney: You want to be Solicitor General, right?
Olson: Well, if you haven't picked one out yet.
Cheney: Ted, you can count on us.
Olson: Thanks, man. Tell your other evil plotter buddies there that I love them.
All: We love you, too, Ted.
Olson: Later!(Olson hangs up)
Feith: Well, that worked out well.
Kristol: That only leaves the last plane, I guess.
Cheney: Right. This one -- this one I think is going to be tricky.
Feith: How so?
Cheney: Okay, bear with me on this, okay? The plane takes off. Passengers, patsies, the whole deal. The hijackers take over the plane and start steering it toward the White House. But fuck them, okay? We step in, our jets scrambled, and we blow those fuckers out of the sky.
Cheney: Of course, we can't exactly admit that we killed American passengers, even for a good reason like this would be. So we'll dream up a story about passengers overpowering the hijackers and downing the plane themselves. "Let's roll," a wife will hear her husband say on his cell phone, as he and his brave party of vigilantes storms the cockpit ...
Wolfowitz: Oh, I see, right. Because they learned from their families, by talking with them on their cell phones, the terrible fate of the World Trade Center. So they give their lives to save the White House ...
Feith: Wow. I'm going to cry, that's so beautiful.
Cheney: In reality, though, it'll be us downing the plane with an F-16 or something. The pilots will never talk, never. Nor will the air traffic controllers ...
Kristol: Oh, I like that. It's patriotic. So why do we shoot the plane down, though?
Cheney: Well, because otherwise the hijackers will crash into the White House. But we can't admit that to the public, they'll be horrified.
Kristol: But they're not real hijackers, are they? Aren't they patsies?
Cheney: Oh, right. Shit! Man, I'm getting confused. We should probably break for lunch soon.
Wolfowitz: No, Dick, I've got that one. You see, here's the thing. Maybe the passengers really will overpower the hijackers. If that happens, it goes without saying that we have to shoot the plane down. We can't let them land, because then the hijackers will talk, and our whole evil plan will be exposed.
Cheney: Right, right, that's exactly what might happen. So it goes without saying that we have to be prepared to fake a crash site to make it look like a crash, even though it'll really be us shooting the plane down.
Kristol: But how can we prepare a phony crash site in advance if we don't even know for sure right now that the passengers will overpower the hijacker-patsies? Or where or when that will happen? That shouldn't even be entering our minds at this point.
Cheney: Well, um ... fuck. Right again. Paul?
Wolfowitz: I don't know, man, I'm getting tired at this point. But I'm down with the general idea of shooting that plane down.
Cheney: If we have to.
Wolfowitz: Right, if we have to.
Kristol: But, wait -- also, don't we want the plane to crash into the White House?
Cheney: What, are you crazy? And kill innocent Americans?
Wolfowitz: Irv, come on, now.
Kristol: Guys, we've just decided to blow up the World Trade Center. Like five minutes ago.
Cheney: Well, but the White House.
Wolfowitz: Irv, the White House. You're talking about the White House.
Kristol: Okay, whatever. You know I'm all for it, whatever we do.
Cheney: Look, the point is, we do the Towers and pin it on bin Laden. That leads us to invade Afghanistan. A year and a half later, we invade Iraq.
Feith: And we blame the whole WTC thing on Saddam.
Cheney: Right, and ... wait, what? No! No, actually we never make that connection, because none exists. I figure we can just say he's in violation of his UN restrictions, and that will be a good enough reason to invade. He is anyway, right? In violation, I mean?
Wolfowitz: I think you're right, he is!
Adapted from "The Great Derangement" by Matt Taibbi.
Copyright 2008 by Matt Taibbi. Published by Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House Inc. Reprinted with permission.