Wednesday, May 17, 2006


A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so they say.

I wrote on this earlier, the new pictures released on American flt. 77, the one that hit the Pentagon. Captain's Quarters has a much better post on it. This small bit reminded me of something that I had discussed online about two years ago.

A few commenters (not the bloggers themselves) say this is evidence that the attack was a missile and not a fully-loaded 767, and offer by way of further proof the long-standing assertion that the damage to the Pentagon was too light to have been caused by American 77.

This is what I consider as proof that not enough knowledge can lead even normally very smart people to believe goofy things. I was commenting on what a friend from the anti-government left, (well not exactly left, but certainly not middle or right) had said. He had seen large military choppers in a civilian area near his home, from his discription, either Black Hawks or possibly Jolly Greens, but they were large heavy lift types. He kept saying they had these huge guns. About twenty feet long extending from the nose of the aircraft. Now, I'm an Air Force vet, and what he described doesn't exist. There is no helicopter with anything nearly that large mounted as a weapon.

After a second, I realized what he was trying to describe was a refueling boom. It's so long as to allow the refueling lines to clear the large rotors of the bird in question. It was that simple, and he didn't want to believe it. I talked with him for a long time beore he would part with the thought that the "black helicopters" were in his backyard. He also thought the dark color scheme, (essential for night operations) was black even though a dark green is actually the color. It became apparent that when people with no experience, no training, or no enterest in finding out about it, see something that they try to analize, they can get it terribly wrong.

You have to wonder, the people convinced that it was a missile, are they deluded, or just using a lack of knowledge to try to explain something that they know nothing about. Then getting defensive when shown they goofed and got it all wrong? So defensive that they cement themselves in a position that becomes increasingly harder to justify. So defensive that they end up looking either crazy, or worse, like they're on the other side of this war.

Maybe some of it stems from that. A stubburn refusal to admit that they don't know anything about what they're talkning about.

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