ERROR: 'Only A Small Plane or Missile Could Have Caused Pentagon Damage'
The idea that a small plane (rather than a 757 jetliner)
crashed into the Pentagon first rose to prominence in early 2002,
following the release of
five frames of video
from a Pentagon security camera,
which appear to show a plane much smaller than a jetliner
approaching the Pentagon's west wall and then exploding on impact.
Photographic evidence of the attack scene seemed to corroborate
the small plane theory by showing a paucity of debris on the lawn
in front of the damaged facade
(which showed no signs of passengers, seats, luggage,
or large aircraft parts),
and an entry hole that was too small to accommodate
the entire profile of a 757 jetliner.
Many skeptics found it difficult or impossible to reconcile
such evidence with the crash of a jetliner,
failing to appreciate the degree to which a high-speed crash can
shred an aircraft --
and particularly one's extremities -- into small debris.
In 2002, the most prominent of the skeptics
of the official account of Flight 77's crash
was French author
who effectively promoted the theory that
the Pentagon attack involved a missile and small plane
rather than an airliner
in his well-publicized
In this book, published shortly after the release of the five video frames,
Meyssan bases his case primarily on the following conclusions:
All three conclusions are fundamentally flawed,
some because they mis-characterize the evidence,
and some because they draw unsupported inferences from it.
video: The video shows a partially hidden attack plane
whose dimensions are too small to be a 757.
facade damage: The facade's impact hole is only 15 to 18 feet
in diameter -- far to small to admit a 757.
punch-out hole: The 8-foot diameter C-ring punch-out hole
shows a penetration of six walls that could only have been caused by
a warhead, such as carried by a cruise missile.
video: Meyssan takes the video frames at face value,
failing to note their suspect source (anonymous Pentagon insiders)
or the signs of forgery evident in the imagery.
Meyssan bases his estimate of the facade hole
dimensions on the damage to the second floor only,
failing to note that
areas of punctured walls
on the first floor extend for a width of about 90 feet.
punch-out hole: Meyssan
incorrectly assumes that there are four walls
between the facade and inner C-ring wall.
Because the lightwells between the outer three rings only extend
down to the third floor, there may have been an relatively
unimpeded span between the facade and punch-out hole,
and the damage could conceivably have been caused by an engine.
Alternatively it could have been caused by explosive charges
set inside the building.
Meyssan's errors in evaluating the Pentagon attack evidence
have been widely replicated by other skeptics of the official account.
page last modified: 2010-12-18