The September 11 Attacks [History Research Paper]

Twelve years ago, on September 11, 2001, there was committed the largest terrorist attack in the history of humankind. The terrorists attacked the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington on grasped planes. The history of this tragedy started with the fact that an American Airlines plane faced the north tower of the World Trade Center. Airliner, which had been hijacked shortly after its takeoff in Boston, filled with fire several floors of the skyscraper, from the 93rd to the 99th. At 9:03, another Boeing also took off from Boston, pierced the south tower of the World Trade Center between the 77th and 85th floors. Within 102 minutes, on September 11 the number of victims reached three thousand people. This tragic day will open a new era in modern history (Langley, 2009).

A few minutes later, at 9:37, the third Boeing, Flight 77 American Airlines, split the west wall of the Pentagon in Washington. Some staff employees were in their workplaces at this point. Meanwhile, the twin towers continued to burn. People who lost all hope jumped out of the windows. At 9:59, 56 minutes after the impact, the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed by a cascade of concrete, steel, and fire. Elemental power erased people in the dust; it was impossible to detect even a trace of DNA from hundreds of people that were inside (Langley, 2009).

However, the dreadful day for America was not over yet. At 10:03, the fourth Boeing fell onto the field of Pennsylvania. It was captured after a take-off in Newark, New Jersey. After passengers had received a message about what was happening in New York, they resisted the terrorists who guided this airliner, most likely, to the White House. At 10:28, the north tower fell; it stood for an hour and forty two minutes after hitting. At 13:04, George Bush, nestled at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, announced the regime of complete combat readiness in the armed forces. Before his redeployment to the base of Offutt in Nebraska, George Bush wrote this message to the nation and the world: “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended. Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts”. Very soon, the faces of people were shown to the Americans – people who, according to the investigation seized the passenger liners and began implementing the largest attack on the United States of America since Pearl Harbor (Versluys, 2009).

Background of 9/11 is largely rooted in Islamic fundamentalism. The hostile attitude of the Muslim world towards the West is due to several of reasons. First, Western countries support the imposition of democratic regimes in Muslim countries. As a result, those in power are rich rulers supported by the West and the Parliament, which does not have the right of legislative initiative, as the laws under which the Muslim world lives can be dictated only by Allah. Secondly, considering the West, namely the USA, as a bastion of immorality, dishonesty, and moral decline, they believe that the impact of America is from “Satan” (Lurie, Magee, & Milliken, 2010).

A distinctive feature of the events of September, 11 was a terrorist use of weapons of the modern civil engineering made purely for peaceful purposes. Huge fully fueled “Boeing” turned in the hands of suicide bombers into the most powerful weapon of destruction in the history of a non-nuclear warhead – a high-precision cruise missile, which by its destructive power was greater than any modern cruise and even a ballistic missile that was not equipped with a nuclear weapon or other means of mass destruction. The first-time group of fanatics could carry out the attack, which may well be described as an act of war of annihilation. In this case, the effect of strategic surprise was achieved. As a result, political and military leadership of the United States was paralyzed for some time, and the President rushed around the country away from the alleged terrorist attack rather than explained the frightened citizens what happened. Moreover, the financial and transport system of the USA could not function normally within a few days. This has not happened even during the Pearl Harbor (Lurie, Magee, & Milliken, 2010).

Target of terrorist organizations, such as the “Al Qaeda”, “Hamas”, “Muslim Brotherhood”, is not merit of respect, but the seizure of power and the establishment of a number of Islamic theocratic states and the revival of the Muslim world. Thus, Muslims have to fight against their rulers supported by the West and against the West, the impact of which comes from “Satan”. Consequently, there is a need for huge funds for this fight on two fronts; that is why, they come to terror. Against the U.S. superperfect weapons, they oppose “human projectile” (kamikaze or suicide bomber, i.e. Shaheed). Thus, they reduce the enormous gap between the technologies. Death is the main weapon for them. In such a way, the network of transnational Islamist terrorism grew up (Feldman & Huddy, 2011).

Bush’s mention of program article “Clash of Civilizations” by American political scientist Samuel Huntington was not a slip of a tongue. It was quite a specific indication of changing the geopolitical doctrine of the USA and the West. Under the Clinton administration, it was carried out in the lives of mondialist doctrine of the “new world order” when the USA, relying on the idea of “universal civilization” and using international organizations, military power, and financial resources, planted worldwide western values. They are liberalism, individualism, constitutionalism, human rights, freedom, equality, democracy, rule of law, free markets, and church separation from the state. In this case, it is quite natural that values that have paramount importance in the West are much less important for the rest of the world (primarily in the Islamic, Confucian, and Buddhist civilizations). Moreover, the unprecedented pressure from the West causes counters hostile reaction that promotes strengthening of the Islamic (or another) primordial values (Amer & Hovey, 2012).

The foundation of 9/11 was laid back in 1979 when Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. The U.S. forces came to oust Soviet troops from Afghanistan. Then, Bin Laden formed an organization Al-Qaeda and opened the Muslim front against both armies. The main causes of Islamic terrorism are:

· The presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia;

· Jerusalem (the third holiest city after Mecca and Medina);

· War in Afghanistan;

· Iraq war (Feldman & Huddy, 2011).

The first thing to keep in mind when talking about the Islamic world is its heterogeneity. It is divided by powerful ethnic alliances – Turkic-speaking (led by Turkey), Persian (led by Iran), and Arabic (led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE) ones. In some regions, the geopolitical interests of these geo-strategic centers intersect. Therefore, since the 60s of the last century, the leaders of the Islamic world have been trying to create a parallel to the “western” system of international organizations. The goal of these efforts is creation of the “unified Islamic world”. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (52 countries) is a kind of Islamic analogue of the United Nations. The Islamic Committee of the International Crescent (similar to the Red Cross) and the Islamic Development Bank (similar to the International Development Bank) have also been established. The fact that this unified, albeit virtually Islamic world can effectively resist pressure from the West if required proves the story of “Islamic nuclear bomb” created and tested in Pakistan in 1998 (Stewart & Mueller, 2013).

International association with flexible organizational links, customarily called the Wahhabi-Taliban alliance, is a unique and the most dangerous Islamic movement for the West. This movement of the heirs of the teachings of Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab (XVIII c.) was in special favor of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan when on the basis of this doctrine Islamic Expeditionary Force was created. That is why, the Wahhabi-Taliban alliance, which is inherent in particularly aggressive proselytism, is the form of association of Muslims, which is able to give the West the armed resistance with the tacit support of the “moderate” Islamic countries and organizations. Against the background of a good-natured relaxation of the West, jihadist Islam is especially impressive because it is not only ready to commit violence, but also puts it at the forefront (Amer & Hovey, 2012).

Taken together, these factors have led to these unexpected and tragic events of September 11. Such a turn could have been expected. There are two circumstances: the growing terrorist organizations and their growing capabilities. Unfortunately, there was a time when the superpowers had not taken this phenomenon seriously, hoping to use terrorist groups against each other, especially during the First World War. However, terrorist groups managed to grow and have already outgrown the scale when someone can control it (Amer & Hovey, 2012).

A mighty terrorist center is located in the Muslim states of the Middle East and is funded by Islamic fundamentalists. In the ideological sense, it is undeclared war or the sort of jihad against the “global US-Zionist conspiracy” as it is interpreted by the most radical sheikhs and imams of the states where the U.S. has long been considered as the enemy. From this perspective, it becomes apparent that the United States and the so-called “international community” face an ideological machine that combines more than one billion people in the world. In all Islamic countries, there are people who completely share the view that the words “America” and “Satan” are synonymous. Self-confidence of the United States has a bad side, which is a reduced sense of danger. There was not one accidentally captured plane, but four became “invisible” with a long interval of time (20 minutes for a modern fighter aircraft is sufficient). Just knowing about a similar hole in the national air defense system, it is possible to plan conceived operation (Markham & Abu-Rabi, 2012).

After September 11, people have started talking about the beginning of the “third world war”. Indeed, this is a war. Terrorism is a war, but of a special kind. It is not a war between the rivals operating in the space of one “world”. The terrorist war is led by those who fight against the existing “world” for its radical remaking. Such a war, of course, has “religious” nature. The most successful (in terms of terrorism) attacks are those that affect “tops” of the “hostile world” and its main symbols. For today’s Islamic terrorists, such symbol was the World Trade Center in New York (Amer & Hovey, 2012).

The tragedy has shaken the American economy. The business center of New York City was destroyed, the losses were incurred on large companies, the normal activities of urban infrastructure and services were being restored for a long time. The insurance companies had to pay the owners of the destroyed World Trade Center towers several billion dollars. During these days, the stock index fell by 14%, which became the biggest weekly drop in the history, surpassing even the Great Depression era figures. At the same time, ratings of President George W. Bush skyrocketed up to 86% (Streatfeild, 2011).

The reply of the United States was the activation of the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East region. This “war on terrorism” was not limited to only search for “Al-Qaeda”, it turned to be the large-scale action in the Middle East. When it was announced that Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders were hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan and cooperated with the Taliban regime, there began “Operation Enduring Freedom” aimed at the invasion of Afghanistan. Then, under the pretext of being involved in the tragedy of Saddam Hussein, the invasion to Iraq started. The military and the U.S. intelligence services began to urgently strengthen and prepare to similar tragedies. It is estimated that in the ten years since September 11 the military budget of the United States has increased by more than two times and during this time the state has spent more than $ 7 trillion on military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Ministry of Defense and intelligence agencies (Streatfeild, 2011).

After the tragedy of September 11, many new laws were adopted. For example, the authority of the president has been expanded. Now, he could use military force without submitting to the Congress. Special services received the right to interfere with private lives of the Americans without charge or trial. For example, since 2002, intelligence agencies can listen to telephone conversations and view e-mails of people in the case the authorities “have reason” to believe that it will help protect national security. Since September 11, 2001, the tension in the relations with the Muslim world has begun to increase (Markham & Abu-Rabi, 2012). Muslims are seen as potential terrorists without delving into their belonging to one or another course of Islam. So, in 2001, more than 80,000 Muslims living in the United States were subjected to mandatory registration and fingerprinting (Amer & Hovey, 2012). After the September 11 terrorist attacks, some parts of the United States issued anti-Arab and anti-Muslim statements. The organization of the “Council on American-Islamic Relations” (CAIR) issued a report on more than 300 incidents of anti-Islamic orientation. FBI Director Robert Mueller told to institute 40 cases to investigate crimes committed on the basis of ethnic hatred, including attacks on Arab-American citizens and institutions (Markham & Abu-Rabi, 2012). In the atmosphere of suspicion and intolerance, many Arabs living in the United States were forced to return to their homeland. Among them, there were hundreds of students enrolled in American universities and colleges. It was no coincidence that on September 14 President Bush was forced to call publicly for contact with the Arabs and all Muslims “with the respect they deserve”. On September 17, Bush visited the Islamic Center in Washington where he expressed his negative attitude to the actions against American Muslims taken in response to the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York (Trevino, Kanso, & Nelson, 2012).

In late October 2001, the House of Representatives passed a bill on combating terrorism with 357 votes against 66. Bill facilitated receiving information from law enforcement and intelligence agencies and updated laws on surveillance with new information tools, such as e-mail and cell phones. 211 Republicans and 145 Democrats voted for this law against 62 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 1 independent congressman. Thus, one third of the members of the democratic faction opposed the bill. The bill, which was called the Patriot Act, the Protection of the United States, unity around the Stars & Stripes, was discussed in the most undemocratic manner. The Act slipped through Congress in record time without the usual procedures of discussion in the committees, which scared the supporters of civil rights. Thus, the September 11 terrorist attacks had a major impact on the perceived public opinion about the role of civil rights and freedoms, the functions of the state, and the very essence of the “American way of life” (Bernstein, 2013).

Changes that the world faced after 9/11 are:

· The threat to the division of the world into Muslims and non-Muslims;

· There was a growth of separatism;

· There was a need for the settlement of regional conflicts, particularly in the Middle East;

· The increased practice of unilateral decisions, especially in the United States;

· The United States withdrew from the ABM Treaty, confirming the course for the creation of a national missile defense system;

· There has started the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and there was the opportunity to continue it in Iraq.

The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 dashed the hopes of many nations and peoples of the world in the usual course of human evolution in a new XXIst century. It seems that the “Black Tuesday” crossed out some models and doctrines, concepts and hypotheses of the future world order. The international community has responded on 9/11 by the reception of the resolution № 1368 of the UN Security Council. It condemned the acts of terror committed on September 11, 2001, which were considered as a threat to international peace and security, and called on all states to work together urgently to bring perpetrators, organizers, and sponsors of these terrorist attacks to justice.

Annotated Bibliography

Amer, M. M., & Hovey, J. D. (2012). Anxiety and depression in a post-September 11 sample of Arabs in the USA. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47(3), 409-418.

This study is basically about mental health complications that the American Muslims got due to their persecution and harassment after September 11 events. However, this research has many useful facts about background of terrorist attacks, how terrorist groups managed to grow, and what potentially dangerous international organizations the Islam world has.

Feldman, L., & Huddy, L. (2011). Americans respond politically to 9/11: Understanding the impact of the terrorist attacks and their aftermath. American Psychologist, 66(6), 455-467.

In this study, Stanley Feldman and Leonie Huddy explain how profoundly September 11 events affect the legislative system of the USA and how the September 11 events relate to domestic and foreign security policy. The authors explain the main causes of Islamic terrorism and determine the main targets of terroristic groups.

Magee, J. C., Milliken, F. J., & Lurie, A. R. (2010). Power differences in the construal of a crisis: The immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001. PSPB, 36(3), 354-370.

This study describes the events that happen in the aftermath of September 11 terrorist attacks. The authors analyze relationships between power and society after 9/11, explain why Islamic fundamentalism has a background in the September 11 tragic events, what the distinctive feature of September 11 terrorist attacks is, and why Islamic countries have such a negative attitude to the West.

Stewart, M.G., & Mueller, J. (2013). The terrorism delusion: America’s overwrought response to September 11. International Security, 37(1), 81-110.

The authors show what the reaction of Americans to September 11 terrorist attacks was, and how ill-conceived and remarkably unreflective their efforts to react were. This study explains why heterogeneity should be firmly associated with the Islamic world, how and why the Islamic world can effectively resist pressure from the West, and what purpose the Islamic world had in the creation of the system of international organizations.

Trevino, M., Kanso, A. M., & Nelson, Alan R. (2010). Islam through editorial lenses: How American elite newspapers portrayed Muslims before and after September 11, 2001. Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, 3(1), 3-17.

The authors show us misconceptions about Islam and its followers after the terrorist attack on September 11. They explain what laws were adopted after September 11 terrorist attacks, how widely the capabilities of President and intelligence agencies extended, how abruptly average U.S. citizens changed their attitude towards Muslims, and how much Muslims have suffered from this. The authors show that the events of September 11 affected the American Muslims more than the representatives of other faiths.


Amer, M. M., & Hovey, J. D. (2012). Anxiety and depression in a post-September 11 sample of Arabs in the USA. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47(3), 409-418.

Bernstein, R. (2013). Out of the blue: A narrative of September 11, 2001. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Feldman, L., & Huddy, L. (2011). Americans respond politically to 9/11: Understanding the impact of the terrorist attacks and their aftermath. American Psychologist, 66(6), 455-467.

Langley, A. (2009). September 11 Attack on America. New York: Paw Prints Publishing.

Magee, J. C., Milliken, F. J., & Lurie, A. R. (2010). Power differences in the construal of a crisis: The immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001. PSPB, 36(3), 354-370.

Markham, I., & Abu-Rabi, I. M. (Eds.). (2012). September 11: Religious perspectives on the causes and consequences. London, UK: Oneworld.

Stewart, M. G., & Mueller, J. (2013). The terrorism delusion: America’s overwrought response to September 11. International Security, 37(1), 81-110.

Streatfeild, D. (2011). A history of the world since 9/11. New York: Atlantic Books Ltd.

Trevino, M., Kanso, A. M., & Nelson, Alan R. (2010). Islam through editorial lenses: How American elite newspapers portrayed Muslims before and after September 11, 2001. Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, 3(1), 3-17.

Versluys, K. (2009). Out of the blue: September 11 and the novel. New York: Columbia University Press.