There will always be skeptics and there will always be conspiracy theorists among us.
The latest to raise their heads are those who claim that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center almost five years ago were either engineered or allowed to happen by the U.S. government as a ruse for starting a war in the Middle East.
A Milwaukee man, who belongs to an organization called Scholars for 9/11 Truth, has a bumper sticker on his car that reads, "9-11 – The Big Lie."
Every major event creates enough doubting space for those who are always looking under beds. There were those who believed that President Franklin Roosevelt either caused or allowed the bombing of Pearl Harbor to happen in 1941 because he wanted the country to be pulled into World War II.
We still read today about those who believe the Holocaust — the attempted extermination of the Jews by the Nazis — was a hoax, and the pictures of concentration camp survivors was Hollywood-generated theater. A certain percentage of Americans didn't believe that Neil Armstrong really walked on the moon in 1969 but was actually doing it on the back lot of a motion picture studio.
The Sept. 11, 2001, skeptics have gained headlines because Kevin Barrett, a University of Wisconsin faculty member, has said he plans to include conspiracy theories in a class he is teaching on Islam.
While we acknowledge every citizen's First Amendment right of freedom of speech, we also claim ours. And our opinion remains steadfast that it was a terrorist attack that brought the towers down.
The conspiracy theorists claim, in part, that the twin towers collapsed because of internal explosions and not as a result of the hijacked airlines plowing into them. To back this contention, they say the government deliberately reacted slowly to the reports of hijacked planes.
U.S. government actions following 9/11 certainly fall into a political minefield with the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And there will always be challenges to government explanations of the cause of major events.
One 18-year-old man, who just graduated from high school and enlisted with the skeptics, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "It's a lot to swallow. It's definitely something people would rather not hear about."