The September 11 terrorist attacks went
down in t...
The September 11 terrorist attacks went
down in the books of history as perhaps one of the most calamitous day in
United States history. Often referred to as 9/11, the crime was a series of
four related terrorist attacks perpetrated by al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist
group in the United States on a clear Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001.
The 9/11 attacks left 2, 996 people, dead and injured more than 6,000 others.
These attacks occurred in Washington, D.C, New York City and Shanksville,
Pennsylvania. The September, 11 attacks will be remembered as the deadliest
incident for law enforcement officers and firefighters in the history of the
United States having left dead 72 police officers and 343 firefighters. The
9/11 crime is said to have caused damage to property and infrastructure worth
around $ 10 billion and a total cost of $3 trillion. This extensive death and
destruction triggered major U.S initiatives to combat terrorism and would later
define the presidency of George W. Bush (9/11 Timeline).
The whole inferno started when four
passenger airliners typically operated by American Airlines and United Airlines
(which are two major U.S. passenger air carriers) were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda
terrorists. These four airliners departed from northeastern United States
airports bound for California oblivion of the fate that would soon be
unraveled. Two of these planes would be crashed into the World Trade Center
(WTC) complex in New York City. The American Airlines Boeing 767 (Flight 11)
loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel would be crashed into the North tower of
WTC. The impact of the crash left a wide open burning hole around the 80th
floor of the 110-story skyscraper. The carnage began as hundreds of civilians
were instantly killed while hundreds of others were trapped in higher floors.
Television cameras broadcasted live images of the initial gory incident as the
evacuation of the North Tower, and its twin got underway. 18 minutes later, the
second Boeing767, United Airlines Flight 175 would appear out of the sky, turn
towards the WTC and slice into the South tower near the 60th floor. A massive
explosion was caused by the collision that scattered burning debris over the
streets below as well as surrounding buildings. Within one hour and 42 minutes,
both (110 story) towers caved in in a massive cloud of smoke and dust as
resulting fires and debris caused either complete or partial collapse of all
other buildings in the WTC complex such as the 47-story 7 World Trade Center
tower. There was also significant damage to ten other large structures near the
World Trade Center. Only six people were able to survive the ordeal in the WTC
at the time they collapsed. Around 10, 000 people were treated for injuries,
many of which were severe.
As millions of shocked people focused on
watching the events that were unfolding in New York, more was yet to come from
a different spot. The third plane, American Airlines Flight 77 was targeted and
slammed into the west side of the Pentagon after circling over downtown
Washington. D.C. Pentagon was the headquarters of the United States Department
of Defense located in Arlington County, Virginia. This crash led to the
collapse of the western side of the building.
The jet fuel from the plane caused a severe inferno that led to the
structural collapse of a significant portion of the giant concrete building.
125 military personnel and civilians died in the Pentagon along with 64
passengers aboard the plane.
The fourth California- bound plane,
(United Airlines Flight 93) was hijacked 40 minutes after departing from New
Jersey’s Newark International Airport. Passengers on board had learned of the
horrifying events that had just happened in Washington and New York through
Airfone and cell phone calls to the ground since the plane had been delayed in
taking off. A group of flight attendants and passengers planned an insurrection
after learning that the airliner was not returning to the airport as the
hijackers claimed. The passengers tried to fight and overcome the four
hijackers on board and are suspected to have attacked the cockpit using a fire
extinguisher. The airliner flipped over and sped towards the ground at 500
miles per hour and crashed into a rural field in Stonycreek Township situated
near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All 45 people on board died. Although the
intended target remained unknown, theories suggest it would have been the U.S
Capitol, Maryland’s Camp David retreat, the White House or one of the nuclear
power plants in the eastern seaboard.
The timeline of the catastrophic events
of September 11, 2001, was as follows (CNN);
•At 8:46 a.m. ET: First plane (American Airlines Flight 11)
traveling from Boston to Los Angeles strikes through the north tower of New
York City’s iconic World Trade Center
•At 9: 03 a.m. ET: Second plane (United
Airlines Flight 175) traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes through the
south tower of the World Trade Center
•At 9:37 a.m. ET: Third plane (American
Airlines Flight 77) traveling from Dulles, Virginia to Los Angeles crashes
through the Pentagon Building in Washington
•At 9:59 a.m. ET: The South Tower of the
World Trade Center collapses in 10 seconds
•At 10:03 a.m. ET: Fourth plane (United
Airlines Flight 93) flying from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco crashes in
a field in western Pennsylvania.
•At 10:28 a.m. ET: World Trade Center’s North Tower collapses.
Time span between the first attack and collapse of both towers is 102 minutes
of the Crime
At the Lower Manhattan WTC site, 2,753
people perished when two hijacked American planes (United Airlines Flight 175
and American Airlines Flight 11) were intentionally crashed into both towers.
343 New York City firefighters, 37 officers of the port authority and 23 New
York City police officers were among those who perished in the initial attacks
and the subsequent collapse of the towers. The age of the victims of the attack
ranged from 2 to 85 years, and approximately 75% to 80% of the victims were
men. At the Pentagon in Washington, 184 were left lifeless when the hijacked
American Airline Flight 77 sliced into the building. Other 40 passengers and
crew members aboard of the United Airlines Flight 93 lost their lives near
Shanksville, Pennsylvania when the plane crashed into a field. According to the
medical examiner’s office as of August 2016, the remains of 1,640 victims of
the WTC terror attack have been positively identified which translates to 60%
of 2,753 ("September 11Th Fast Facts -
Economic Impact of the attack
-The estimated amount of money that cost
the plan and execution of the 9/11 attacks is said to have been $500,000.
-The estimated cost of the WTC site
damage including damage to infrastructure, subway facilities, and surrounding
buildings is estimated to be worth $ 60 billion.
-The estimated economic loss in the next
two to four weeks after the collapse of the WTC in New York City and a decline
in airline travel over the next few years is estimated to be worth $123
-Insurance claims arising from the 9/11
attacks total to $9.3 billion
-The Aid package passed by the Congress
to bail out the airlines totals to $15 billion
-The value of the emergency
anti-terrorism package that was approved by the US Congress on the 14th of
September, 2001 cost $40 billion.
The attackers of the 9/11 attacks were Islamic
terrorists from Saudi Arabia among other Arab nations. The infamous Saudi
fugitive Osama bin Laden of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization is alleged to
have financed the attacks. Some of the terrorists had even lived in the United
States for more than a year and even attended flying lessons at American
commercial flight schools. Other terrorists had slipped into the United States
some months before 9/11 and played a significant role in the operation. The 19
terrorists were able to easily smuggle knives and box-cutters through security
at three East Coast airports before boarding four different flights bound for
California. The terrorists chose these planes because they were fully loaded
with fuel for the long transcontinental journey ahead. Soon after takeoff, the
terrorist hijacked the planes and took control, thereby transforming normal
commuter jets into missiles.
Al-Qaeda’s origin can be traced back to
1979 when Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union. Osama bin Laden traveled
to Afghanistan to help organize Arab mujahideen to resist the Soviets. Bin
Laden became more radical under the guidance of Ayman al-Zawahiri. He issued his first ‘fatwa’ (formal legal
Islamic opinion) in 1996 that called for American soldiers to depart from Saudi
Arabia. His second ‘fatwa’ in 1998 outlined his objections to the continued
presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War and the American
foreign policy in regards to Israel. Osama used Islamic texts to urge Muslims
to attack Americans until when the stated grievances would be revoked.
According to Osama bin Laden, "Muslim legal scholars have throughout
Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the
enemy destroys the Muslim countries."
• Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden initially denied but
later admitted to having been involved in orchestrating the attacks. In a
statement released by Al Jazeera on September 16, 200, bin Laden stated,
"I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been
carried out by individuals with their own motivation." However, U.S forces
recovered a useful videotape from a dilapidated house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan
in November 2001. In the video, bin Laden is seen in a conversation with Khaleb
al-Harbi, (a fellow jihadist suspected to have joined al-Qaeda) and admits
foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. On December of the same year, a second bin
Laden video was released in which he states, "It has become clear that the
West in general and America, in particular, have an unspeakable hatred for
Islam. ... It is the hatred of crusaders. Terrorism against America deserves to
be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to
stop its support for Israel, which kills our people. ... We say that the end of
the United States is imminent, whether Bin Laden or his followers are alive or
dead, for the awakening of the Muslim umma (nation) has occurred".
Bin Laden publicly admitted having been directly linked to the 9/11
attacks as well as the al-Qaeda in a taped statement shortly before the 2004
United States presidential election. He said the attacks took place because “we
are free ... and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our
security, we undermine yours." Bin Laden claimed he personally directed
his followers to target the Pentagon and the WTC. Later on in 2006, Al Jazeera
obtained a video that showed bin Laden with Ramzi bin al-Shibh and two other
hijackers Wail al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi as they make preparations for the
terror attacks. Although the United States never formally indicted Osama bin
Laden for the September 11 attacks, he was already listed on the Most Wanted
List of the FBI for orchestrating bombings of American Embassies in Nairobi,
Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Bin Laden was killed after a 10-year manhunt
by U.S Special Forces in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.
• Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
Yosri Fouda, a journalist of the Arabic
television channel Al Jazeera, reported that in April 2002, Ramzi bin al-Shibh
and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had admitted involvement in the September 11
attacks. The 9/11 Commission Report would later determine that Mohammed, the
principal architect of the terror attacks was driven by animosity towards the
United States that stemmed from U.S foreign policy that favored Israel. Moreover, Mohammed was the financier and
adviser of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the lead bomber in
the attack; Ramzi Yousef was his nephew. Mohammed was apprehended on March 1,
2003, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan by Pakistani security officials that worked
closely with the CIA. He was carried away to Guantanamo Bay where he was
interrogated using methods like waterboarding. In March 2007 during U.S
hearings at Guantanamo Bay, Mohammed confessed his involvement in the attacks
and was responsible for the September 11 terror attacks from the start to the
end and that his statement was not made up under duress
the crime occurred
The horrendous 9/11 attacks took place
because of various reasons. The following are some of the “theories” that shed
light into why the attacks were orchestrated;
•America’s intervention in the Middle
East significantly motivated the terror attacks. The al-Qaeda organization was
bitter about America’s involvement in the Persian Gulf War and its continued
military presence in the Middle East. Al Qaeda wanted to expel Westerners
especially Americans from Muslim lands because they firmly believed their
influence was the biggest impediments to establishing non-Islamic governments.
Bin Laden was particularly outraged by the presence of U.S troops that were
desecrating the two holiest places of Muslims: Medina and Mecca
•Al-Qaeda was acting in retaliation for
the U.S foreign policy that favored Israel that was allegedly killing and
oppressing Palestinians. The U.S government had also issued sanctions against
the Iraqi people.
•Bin Laden had declared a holy war
against America in 1998. During that time, bin Laden called for the murder of
American civilians in a fatwa he signed. Various Middle East scholars believe
that 9/11 was bin Laden’s way of provoking the United States into a war that
would incite Muslims worldwide to unite and oppose the West. Al-Qaeda was
willing to use force if need be to unite all Muslims and form an Islamic Nation
that would adhere to the rule of the first Caliphs
•Some blame the lax airport security by
pointing out that the terrorists were successful in smuggling box cutters and
knives onto the planes at three different airports on the East Coast
•Critics of the federal government argue
that the failure to prevent 9/11 was the result of the United States government
not sharing resourceful information among its different intelligence agencies,
several of which had prior warnings of portions of the September, 11 terrorist
attack plot. In the weeks leading up to
the terror attacks, dozens of urgent detailed warnings of attacks involving U.S
landmarks and hijacked planes came from French, German, Israeli and Russian
intelligence, several prisoners, members of New York Muslim communities and an
Arab newspaper. The CIA and FBI also had prior information and some culprits,
but little was done about this.
•Bin Laden and al-Qaeda was opposed to
the United States occupying Islamic countries, stealing their resources and imposing
agents on them. They wanted freedom, not oppression.
terrorism would have been prevented
The nefarious September 11 attacks would
have been prevented if not for the dereliction and hubris of the United States
government. The greatest focus should be placed on prevention of future attacks
and not only securing the borders. Many have already used the borders before
and gone far without the intelligence being aware of their plans which also
means the government is also failing in intelligence gathering. Prevention
encompasses a lot. First, it requires non-provocation as well as intelligence
gathering, national defense and general security. The simplest yet most
effective is to stop provoking the wrath of millions of people worldwide. It is
better to have never created a threat rather than trying to thwart it. Most
people can agree that the horrific 9/11 attacks on American civilians would not
have occurred were it not for the federal government intruding upon the Muslim
world and exercising manipulative control for the past 50 years. It is the
presence of U.S militants and all manner of interventionism by the U.S that
initially provoked bin Laden and al-Qaeda. The American government’s meddling
in the conflicts and affairs of other nations is directly responsible for
fueling animosity, hatred and subsequent violence against the United States
The United States of America would be more safe, peaceful and prosperous
if only its federal government can; eliminate all interventionist foreign
policy, end all U.S government intrusion in foreign nations and their
elections, end foreign aid, end all embargoes and sanctions, end US military
weaponry (that is taxpayer-financed), end all involvements in international
conflicts that are unrelated to the US and bring home all military troops from
all corners of the world after closing military bases of the parts of the world
that pose no direct threat to the United States (Smith).
Other major ways to counter terrorism
and radicalization worldwide include the following (Farhan);
Unemployment is among the leading causes
of terrorism. Unemployed people do not get an opportunity to support their
families, and therefore terrorism masterminds make them their pawns. These
plotters offer them huge sums of money and guarantee to support their families
if they accomplish the task. There is an acute need for creating job
opportunities so that civilians remain busy and do not go astray and start doing
illegal operations that can claim lives of innocent people.
Poverty is also another primary cause of
terrorism. Most youths result to terrorism when they lack resources to make
ends meet. Effective and strong efforts are required by governments to combat
poverty as this will significantly reduce the level of terrorism. Masterminds
target desperate teenagers from poor backgrounds and convince them to execute
The young generation is likely to be consumed
by anti-social elements if they lack education. There is dire need for
opportunities to be created so that they can take their children to school. The
probability of extremism and terrorism can be significantly reduced if
education can be provided for free or minimum costs. Governments should open up
more schools and make education available to everyone. This move would make the
world safe from current and future terrorism.
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