The 9/11 terrorist attack marked the 102 minutes that had completely changed the United States. In great horror, the whole globe looked at how the terrorists hijacked the planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City. The explosion destroyed many buildings and caused the deaths of 2,700 people. The whole event happened on the 11th of September 2001 when approximately 19 terrorists decided to execute acts of terror across the US. One of the attacks destroyed the Twin Towers, which were greatly regarded as the United States’ symbols of power and influence. Different theories tried to explain the causes of the event ranging from the secret deal inside the U.S. Government, foreign occupation, to Islam revenge. However, it has become evident that the 9/11 attack has shocked the world and changed the lives of common Americans. This paper seeks to describe and analyze the event in terms of its historic and contemporary causes, interpretations, and outcomes. It proves that the 9/11 attack has created many theories and that the direct damage has heavily influenced the United States, which witnessed the evil and despicable actions of terror.
Description of the 9/11 Attack
On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked four planes in the United States. In a few hours, the two out of four passenger planes hit the World Trade Center. The third passenger plane crashed into the building of the Pentagon in Virginia. However, the fourth aircraft did not reach its target and fell to the ground in Pennsylvania. Further research has indicated that the passengers of the fourth plane overthrew the terrorists and gained control over the aircraft. Nevertheless, the World Trade Center was severely affected, and its 110 floors collapsed. In addition, many other buildings near the site were destroyed. In a similar manner, substantial damage was caused to a single wing of the Pentagon. The number of lost lives was approximately 3,000 people, including all the hijackers involved in the attacks. Consequently, the following days witnessed significant aftereffects in the global markets, confidence, security, and defense.
It was stated that in one hour, the al-Qaeda caused more damage to the United States than the Soviet Union had done throughout the Cold War. The attack was preceded by a range of events. On September 11, Boeing 767 of the American Airlines Flight 11 a carried a total of 92 people, including the passengers, crew members, and five hijackers. The plane took off the Logan International Airport heading Los Angeles. Another Boeing 767 was to carry 65 people from Boston to Los Angeles, as well. Soon afterward, the flight attendants reported that Flight 11 had been hijacked. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was immediately notified. Another plane was reported in several minutes. It was then that Mohammed Atta, one of the attackers, made the first out of two transmissions to the ground control. At exactly 8:40 am, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) about the incidence. Soon, the hijackers deliberately crashed the plane causing numerous deaths. At exactly 10:28 am, the famous building of the World Trade Center collapsed and that was exactly 102 minutes later. At 1 pm, the President of the United States of America announced that the military forces were alerted all over the world. Meanwhile, the United States Navy released missiles to the New York City and Washington D.C. After burning for several hours, both towers of the World Trade Center collapsed. That was the end of the attack with the President declaring that the event was a cruel and ruthless terrorist attack that increased the terror level worldwide.
There have been debates concerning the reasons and contributors to the 9/11 attack. Osama bin Laden, the founder, and leader of al-Qaeda claimed that his militant organization was alone responsible for the attack. Three years afterward, in 2004, he recorded and shared a video that explained his conspiracy with another authoritative terrorist, Mohammed Atta. The biggest criminal investigation that has ever been done in history concluded that al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack proving the assertion by Bin Laden. However, the al-Qaeda’s responsibility for the terror attack brought even more questions for debate. The world community questioned the reasons that made the Islamist group to execute the act terror. It has been explained that in order to understand 9/11, one should understand the way the United States was engaged in the Middle East. Already in 1998, Osama bin Laden claimed that the United States had declared the war on God. Consequently, he demanded the Muslims to kill Americans. By that time, he was already planning the 9/11 attack. Although the U.S. Government was cautious about the warnings, it did not believe that the organization could ever attack their country.
The reasons for the attack are complex and range from the historical to contemporary ones. First of all, the Muslim religion is usually blamed for 9/11, as the Muslims believe that the suicide bombers go immediately to Jannah, the Islamic paradise. However, it is not the main reason as the attack could have been done through any other effective means. Among the historical explanations concerning the causes of the 9/11 attack, the US foreign relationships with Iraq are of primary importance. The relationship between the two countries had worsened after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990. Moreover, the US had to remove its troops from the terrorist hosts in Lebanon and Somalia after several suicide attacks were executed in the period between 1982 and 1993. The suicide bombings have increased in number since the early 1980s. In such a manner, the terrorist leaders convinced the bombers that they would be assumed into heaven once they died in such an attack. However, most Muslim leaders condemn such acts indicating that they are against true Islam. On another note, al-Qaeda strongly supported such suicides against the United States, especially during the 1990s. During those years, the U.S. army was winning against the enemies. Consequently, Bin Laden continued to call for more attacks on the United States to be executed in order to force them out of the Middle East.
On the other hand, the contemporary causes of the attack can be explained by the plausible although somewhat flawed theories. These causes include the weakness of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to deal with the failing nations. There is a popular belief that Bin Laden was a creation of the Agency. Bin Laden was one of the Jihadists, who studied the CIA’s operations in Afghanistan in 1979. Most importantly, the real scandal was caused not by the fact that the CIA could assist the terrorist during the 1980s, but the fact that the Agency was not aware of Bin Laden’s great influence in the Muslim world. The other contemporary explanation considers weak and incorporative nations. It had become clear that the weak and underdeveloped nations were an attractive site for criminal and terrorist activities. It has been recorded that the 9/11 attack was initially planned in Sudan, a weak state that supported al-Qaeda. In this case, the failed Afghanistan became the home for terrorists.
Research has mentioned that the al-Qaeda developed from the incompetent group known as the Taliban. It is recorded that most of the plots concerning the 9/11 were made in Hamburg. That was the place where most terrorists and plotters became radical. They managed to unite and become stronger than they could have ever been if staying in their home countries. Afghanistan played a vital role in strengthening the al-Qaeda. The members of this organization were experienced militants; they received additional education and were strongly equipped in order to execute the 9/11 attack. Furthermore, the alienation of the immigrants from the Islam community across the West also contributed to the 9/11 attack. It is now clear that the three pilots and two main planners of the attack developed intro radical militants when staying in the West. More contemporary explanations state that the support by the US to the Israelites especially in attacking the South of Lebanon in 1982 provoked the anti-American attitudes spread and supported by the famous terrorist, Bin Laden. It became evident in the wide boycott of goods from the United States during the 1980s. Therefore, the 9/11 terrorist attack was a result of both historical and contemporary causes.
Historical Explanations of the Events
There are various historical explanations of the 9/11 attack. The clash of civilizations is among the most popular theories. Samuel Huntington is among the people who have predicted that certain civilizations possess the power to replace the superpowers of the Cold War. It is explained that the 9/11 was a major vindication of that theory. It has also been reported that the suicide bombings of the terrorist attacks were a response to the foreign occupation by the US. However, it was concluded that the attack was driven by the historical religious zeal of the attackers rather than the foreign occupations. This fact can explain the reason why most of the attackers were Saudis. Moreover, the 9/11 attack has been associated with the historical diversity in ideologies of the cultures. It has been explained as a war between the ideologies of liberalism and phantasmagorical associations that rose against the civilization after the World War I. The attack is also associated with the death rattle of the Islamic political regime. Some arguments have indicated that the attack could be the final gasp of the radical Islamists. The attack on the United States can be explained as a desperate sign of the isolation and decline of the Islamic associations. The explanations given above are only a few theories concerning the 9/11 attack.
Positive and Negative Impacts of the 9/11 Attack
One of the immediate and most important negative impacts of the attack was that many innocent lives were lost. It has been reported that approximately 3,000 people died on that day. Moreover, many others were injured and had to suffer from the long-term effects including the traumas, breathing problems, as well as mental health conditions associated with their involvement in the tragedy. In addition, air travel demand has declined after the attack as people were afraid of traveling by plane. However, that was just a minor issue. The attack caused major economic challenges to the United States and world markets. In such a manner, the foreign exchange market was greatly affected, and the profits declined immensely.
However, there were some positive effects of the 9/11 attack. In that case, the scale and nature of this act of terror indicated that many nations and world institutions had to come together in order to ensure effectiveness in fighting against terrorism and ensuring global security. The attack revealed problems of the United States in terms of security, communication, culture, emergency services, and cooperation of different agencies. Today, such difficulties are effectively handled as the main emergency services have been improved in order to ensure the prediction of such tragedies. Security in the aviation industry has been also improved. Nowadays, transportation of certain items by planes including blades is prohibited. Moreover, people have acquired a deep understanding and awareness of terrorism in order to predict such happenings and take necessary actions if required. Most importantly, both the U.S. home and global security levels were significantly improved.
In conclusion, the 9/11 attack has been caused by a range of historical and contemporary factors identified in this paper. This act of terror was the greatest tragedy that had ever occurred on American soil. It caused the death of thousands of people and massive damage to property. After an in-depth investigation, it became clear that the attack had been executed by the al-Qaeda group led by Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden himself claimed the responsibility for the attack. The causes of this tragedy are rather complex with a strong association with Bin Laden, who possessed vital knowledge concerning the CIA operations. Some critics point out the role of Islam as the religion that promises paradise for such acts of terror. It is also evident that the attack caused both positive and negative impacts on the United States and the world in general.