by Gerald Boerner

    

Commentary

Due to injury, this commentary will be added later. Please check back. Thank you. GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2260 Words ]

      

Quotations Related to Terrorism

“We still lack a global definition of terrorism.”
— Gijs de Vries

“They were unable to stand up and say: ‘Here’s our policy. It’s Unite the world against terrorism.’ ”
— Chris Matthews

“We remain vulnerable. There is no such thing as 100 percent security against terrorism.”
— Gijs de Vries

“Mr. Speaker, I agree with those who say that the Global War on Terrorism is actually a Global War of Ideas and that terrorism is one of the tactics used in that War.”
— Mac Thornberry

“What happened to the Bush Administration regarding terrorism is that they regarded it as a secondary issue, and associated with Clinton. One of those Clinton issues.”
— Sidney Blumenthal

“This fanaticism is what feeds terrorism. And this is precisely why Muslims must play an active role in opposing hate sermons and incitement to terrorism and extremism in their mosques.”
— Otto Schily

“Any Human Rights Council reform that allows countries that sponsor terrorism to remain as members, such as Cuba, is not real reform. And in the past, countries such as Libya, Iran and Syria have participated on this council.”
— Michael McCaul

“Let me be very clear: We monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States. We don’t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence.”
— Janet Napolitano

    

Remembering 911: Motives and Aftermath

September_11_2001_just_collapsed The September 11 attacks (often referred to as September 11th or 9/11) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.

Nearly 3000 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks. According to the New York State Health Department, 836 responders, including firefighters and police personnel, have died as of June 2009. Among the 2752 victims who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center were 343 firefighters and 60 police officers from New York City and the Port Authority. 184 people were killed in the attacks on the Pentagon. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 70 countries. In addition, there was at least one secondary death – one person was ruled by a medical examiner to have died from lung disease due to exposure to dust from the World Trade Center’s collapse.

Motives

The motives for the attacks include the presence of the U.S. in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel by the U.S., and the sanctions against Iraq. These motives were explicitly stated by Al-Qaeda in proclamations before the attacks, including the fatwā of August 1996, and a shorter fatwā published in February 1998. After the attacks, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri published additional video tapes and audio tapes, some of which repeated those reasons for the attacks. Two particularly important publications were bin Laden’s 2002 "Letter to America", and a 2004 video tape by bin Laden. In addition to direct pronouncements by bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, numerous political analysts have postulated motivations for the attacks.

The continued presence of U.S. troops after the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia was one of the stated motivations behind the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Khobar Towers bombing, as well, the date chosen for the 1998 United States embassy bombings (August 7), was eight years to the day that American troops were sent to Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden interpreted the Prophet Muhammad as banning the "permanent presence of infidels in Arabia". In 1996, Bin Laden issued a fatwā, calling for American troops to get out of Saudi Arabia. In the 1998 fatwā, Al-Qaeda wrote " for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples." In the December 1999 interview with Rahimullah Yusufzai, bin Laden said he felt that Americans were "too near to Mecca" and considered this a provocation to the entire Muslim world.

In his November 2002 "Letter to America", Bin Laden described the United States’ support of Israel as a motivation: "The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its price, and pay for it heavily." In 2004 and 2010, Bin Laden again repeated the connection between the September 11 attacks and the support of Israel by the United States. Several analysts, including Mearsheimer and Walt, also claim a motivation for the attacks was the support of Israel by the United States.

In the 1998 fatwā, Al Qaeda identified the Iraq sanctions as a reason to kill Americans: "despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million… despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation….On that basis, and in compliance with Allah’s order, we issue the following fatwā to all Muslims: The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim…"

In addition to the motives published by Al Qaeda, analysts have suggested other motives, including humiliation resulting from the Islamic world falling behind the Western world – this discrepancy made especially visible due to recent globalization. Another speculated motive was the desire to provoke the U.S. into a broader war against the Islamic world, with the hope of motivating more allies to support Al Qaeda.

Aftermath

White_House_photo_by_Eric_Draper U.S. President George W. Bush is briefed
on the World Trade Center attack.

Immediate Response

The 9/11 attacks had immediate and overwhelming effects upon the American people. Many police officers and rescue workers elsewhere in the country took leaves of absence to travel to New York City to assist in the process of recovering bodies from the twisted remnants of the Twin Towers. Blood donations across the U.S. also saw a surge in the weeks after 9/11.

Over 3000 children were left without one or more parents. Children’s reactions both to these actual losses, yet also to feared losses of life and a protective environment in the aftermath of the attacks are well-documented, as were their effects on surviving caregivers.

For the first time in history, SCATANA was invoked forcing all non-emergency civilian aircraft in the United States and several other countries including Canada to be immediately grounded, stranding tens of thousands of passengers across the world. Any international flights were closed to American airspace by the Federal Aviation Administration, causing about five hundred flights to be turned back or redirected to other countries. Canada received 226 of the diverted flights and launched Operation Yellow Ribbon to deal with the large numbers of grounded planes and stranded passengers.

Military Operations Following the Attacks

At 2:40 p.m. in the afternoon of September 11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was issuing rapid orders to his aides to look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, according to notes taken by senior policy official Stephen Cambone. "Best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." — meaning Saddam Hussein — "at same time. Not only UBL" (Osama bin Laden), Cambone’s notes quoted Rumsfeld as saying. "Need to move swiftly — Near term target needs — go massive — sweep it all up. Things related and not."

The NATO council declared that the attacks on the United States were considered an attack on all NATO nations and, as such, satisfied Article 5 of the NATO charter. Upon returning to Australia having been on an official visit to the U.S. at the time of the attacks, Australian Prime Minister John Howard invoked Article IV of the ANZUS treaty. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the Bush administration announced a war on terror, with the stated goals of bringing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to justice and preventing the emergence of other terrorist networks. These goals would be accomplished by means including economic and military sanctions against states perceived as harboring terrorists and increasing global surveillance and intelligence sharing.

The second-biggest operation of the U.S. Global War on Terrorism outside of the United States, and the largest directly connected to terrorism, was the overthrow of the Taliban rule of Afghanistan by a U.S.-led coalition. The United States was not the only nation to increase its military readiness, with other notable examples being the Philippines and Indonesia, countries that have their own internal conflicts with Islamic terrorism.

Domestic Response

President_George_W_Bush_joint_session_of_Congress_Sept__20 President Bush addresses a joint session
of Congress on September 20, 2001

Following the attacks, President Bush’s job approval rating soared to 90%. On September 20, 2001, the U.S. president spoke before the nation and a joint session of the United States Congress, regarding the events of that day, the intervening nine days of rescue and recovery efforts, and his intent in response to those events. In addition, the highly visible role played by New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani won him high praise nationally and in New York.

Many relief funds were immediately set up to assist victims of the attacks, with the task of providing financial assistance to the survivors of the attacks and to the families of victims, such as the Coalition of 9/11 Families. By the deadline for victim’s compensation, September 11, 2003, 2,833 applications had been received from the families of those who were killed.

Contingency plans for the continuity of government and the evacuation of leaders were also implemented almost immediately after the attacks. Congress, however, was not told that the United States was under a continuity of government status until February 2002.

Within the United States, Congress passed and President Bush signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, creating the Department of Homeland Security, representing the largest restructuring of the U.S. government in contemporary history. Congress also passed the USA PATRIOT Act, stating that it would help detect and prosecute terrorism and other crimes.

Civil liberties groups have criticized the PATRIOT Act, saying that it allows law enforcement to invade the privacy of citizens and eliminates judicial oversight of law-enforcement and domestic intelligence gathering. The Bush Administration also invoked 9/11 as the reason to initiate a secret National Security Agency operation, "to eavesdrop on telephone and e-mail communications between the United States and people overseas without a warrant".

Hate Crimes

Numerous incidents of harassment and hate crimes were reported against Middle Easterners and other "Middle Eastern-looking" people in the days following the 9/11 attacks. Sikhs were also targeted because Sikh males usually wear turbans, which are stereotypically associated with Muslims. There were reports of verbal abuse, attacks on mosques and other religious buildings (including the firebombing of a Hindu temple and assaults on people, including one murder: Balbir Singh Sodhi was fatally shot on September 15, 2001. He, like others, was a Sikh who was mistaken for a Muslim.)

According to a study by Ball State University, people perceived to be Middle Eastern were as likely to be victims of hate crimes as followers of Islam during this time. The study also found a similar increase in hate crimes against people who may have been perceived as members of Islam, Arabs and others thought to be of Middle Eastern origin.

A report by South Asian American advocacy group SAALT documented media coverage of 645 bias incidents against Americans of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent between September 11 and September 17, including vandalism, arson, assault, shootings, harassment, and threats.

Muslim American Reaction

Top Muslim organizations in the United States were swift to condemn the attacks on 9/11 and called "upon Muslim Americans to come forward with their skills and resources to help alleviate the sufferings of the affected people and their families". Top organizations included the Islamic Society of North America, American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Circle of North America, and the Shari’a Scholars Association of North America. Along with massive monetary donations, many Islamic organizations launched blood drives and provided medical assistance, food, and shelter for victims.

          

References

Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: September 11 Attacks…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks

Brainy Quote: Terrorism Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/terrorism_8.html