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Long-lasting and Profound Impact of the 9/11 Attacks on American Society: Argumentative Essay

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There have been many horrific incidents in history, especially in American history, there have been many major events, such as civil wars, assassinations, and the raid of Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during World War II times. However, in the day September 11th, 2001 an unprecedented devastation happened in American history, it also caused many changes that lead up to today’s society, the occurrence of the attacks by terrorists on September 11th, 2001 once again brought the United Stated to devastation facing an event it had never before experienced, over the course of the United States History, the country has engaged in several wars. Some of these wars were for independence, national preservation, and national defense. Other wars were far more dubious and obscure reasons such as stopping the spread of communism, “protecting America’s interests”, and the “war on terror”.

Throughout the history of the United States foreign affairs another pattern has emerged. the United States was on a peace era for quite some time, until the attacks of 9/11 struck. On September 11th, 2001, a series of attacks were committed. The September 11 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of terrorist attacks, brought out by 19 militants, who were associated with the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda, terrorist acts are intended to instill fear in people and to frighten their government into damaging their policies. al-Qaeda a terrorist group who are probably still enemies of the United States are dangerous and very impulsive. These attacks were one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil to this date.

The attacks were against New York City and Washington, D.C., all the deaths and destruction caused by the terrorist attacks triggered an enormous effort to combat terrorism, leading up to the launch of an international military campaign called “War on Terror”. Around 2,750 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, more Americans were killed in the attacks than died at Pearl Harbor or on D-Day in World War II. In New York City nineteen men hijacked four fuel-loaded United States commercial airplanes bound for west coast destinations, which among them were American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, controlled by the terrorists who intentionally crashed into the north and south towers in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, 184 people were killed when hijacked American Flight 77 crashed into the building, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 40 passengers and crew members abroad United Airlines Flight 93 died when the plane crashed into a field. It is also believed that the hijackers crashed the plane in that location rather than their unknown target after their passengers and crew attempted to retake control of the flight deck.

The victim’s age ranged all the way from 2 to 85 years, approximately 75-80% of the victims were men. Those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority. As of July 2018, 1,642 (around 60%) of around 2750 WTC (World Trade Center) victims remains have been positively identified according to the medical examiners. An estimated of $123 billion as economic loss due to the incident, $60 billion from the World Trade Center site damage, and $9.3 billion from insurance claims arising from the 9/11 attacks. On September 20, 2001, President Bush called for a War on Terror, He said, “Americans should not expect one battle but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen” (Amadeo, Kimberly). The department of homeland security was created in response to the September 11 attacks, it merged 22 governmental agencies into one, including the Customs Service the Immigrating and Naturalization Service, the United States Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (September 11 Terror Attacks Fast Facts).

The 9/11 attacks had both immediate and long-term economic impacts, the same which continue to this day. Timeline: September 11, 2001 – 8:46 a.m. ET – American Airlines Flight 11 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. – 9:03 a.m. ET – United Airlines Flight 175 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. – 9:37 a.m. ET – American Airlines Flight 77 (traveling from Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles) strikes the Pentagon Building in Washington. – 9:59 a.m. ET – South tower of WTC collapses in approximately 10 seconds. – 10:03 a.m. ET – United Airlines Flight 93 (traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco) crashes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. – 10:28 a.m. ET – North tower of WTC collapses. The time between the first attack and the collapse of both World Trade Center towers is 102 minutes. ( September 11 Terror Attacks Fast Facts)

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The attack was orchestrated by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and implemented by Mohammed Atta, who was originally studying at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and had obtained a master’s degree, he was chosen as the implementer of the attack because he had a linguistic base and was accustomed to the life of Americans. He and 18 other terrorists, most of whom were from Saudi Arabia, 15 of the 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Egypt, and one was from Lebanon, they all established themselves in the United States, Mohammed Atta trained in Florida for more than a year, receiving plenty of commercial flight training. $500,000 was the estimated amount of money it cost to plan and execute the 9/11 attacks(September 11 Terror Attacks Fast Facts). The nineteen terrorists were divided into three groups of five, and a group of four, they entered the airport, through the securities, and onto the plane as normal passengers, they hijacked the planes and began their missions to launch the horrific attacks. All 19 hijackers died in the attacks. After the events of September 11, 2001, the United States had a unique dilemma. America was engaged in what would be called a “War on Terror”.

This new conflict was unlike any in American history. Previously, in the context of war, the United States had always fought a nation or group that had defined boundaries as to where they resided. This new conflict went away from these rules of the past. Terrorist groups were not bound to a region but were instead united by an ideal. September 11 marked the first time in which terrorism would rise to the forefront of the nation’s agenda. This emergent wave of conflict required a different strategy than those of the past because of the unorthodox nature of the opponent. One of the major innovations fostered by the “War on Terror” was the expansion of torture. The dramatic rise in terrorism sparked the unethical advancement of interrogation techniques in order to more effectively acquire information.

The emergence of the “War on Terror” required government officials acquire intelligence in a new way thus spawning the emergence of “enhanced interrogation” methods, however, the morality of these techniques would come into question as they were revealed to the public. Terrorism was a new threat, unlike the United States, had ever experienced. Hundreds of terrorist groups banded together with the common goal of destroying America which was a feat that previously had never been accomplished to that scale. Before the attacks, the U.S. Government’s National Security Agency were not really aware of the Terrorist movements, there were reports claiming “9/11 was shocking, but shouldn’t be a surprise, Islamist extremists had given plenty of warnings to attack and kill Americans.” (Kean, Thomas H. and Lee H. Hamilton.), the reason Middle Easter terrorists have targeted Americans can be traced back to events early in the twentieth century, American support at Israel also angered many in the Middle East (The War on Terrorism). On March 21, 2003, President Bush sent troops into Iraq, President Bush also launched the war in Afghanistan to find and bring to justice Osama bin Laden (Amadeo, Kimberly). Congress appropriated $36.7 billion in funding for the war in Iraq in its first year (Amadeo, Kimberly), only a few months after the 9/11 attacks, American troops located Osama Bin Laden in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan, close to the Pakistani border, yet he was able to escape alive, President Bush announced that he wanted Osama bin Laden captured, dead, or alive-and an upwards of $25 million of a bounty (Peter L. Bergen), President Bush also asked Congress to pass legislation to help law enforcement agencies track down terrorist suspects.

The September 11 attacks were enormous tactical successes for al-Qaeda, the strikes were well-coordinated and hit multiple targets in the heart of their enemy, the attacks were also magnified by being broadcasted around the world to an audience of untold millions, family members and close friends of the victims were deeply hurt, leaving irremediable deep wounds for them and the people who had gone through the tragic event. Almost eighteen years ago George W Bush stood in front of Congress and declared a war on terror. Unlike World War II, the War on Terror never ended. ‘What would have happened if the 9/11 attacks never happened?’ The United States would remain militarily isolationist while supporting its allies, Iraq would remain uninvaded. Without the thoughts and fears caused by 9/11, there would be no War on Terror for President Bush to use as support when wanting the military to take action against Iraq. It will all be fine until around 2008, 2008 would be a great catastrophe to America even if 9/11 would not have happened. Even in a world without the 9/11attacks, the Great Recession or a situation similar happens anyway. The financial crisis affects everywhere on earth, including the Middle East. Saddam Hussein rules Iraq, Iraq is no longer the powerful military force it was in the early 90s, but Hussein is still a great enemy, like Iran or North Korea.

The economy still declines and protests and revolutions still breakout, a Civil war might explode in Iraq, Islamic extremism keeps on growing, due to an explosion of new extremist groups, Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda still exist in the 2000s, without 9/11 they still become a threat to the United States like North Korea. The United States might deal with terrorist operatives with new drone technology instead of military invasion. Without the 9/11 attack, a full-on invasion might be avoided. However terrorist attacks and failed states in the Middle East will still be dealt with by the United States. The only changes that happen are the amount of time it passes before everything explodes, and the problems the United States is dealing with currently also happens even if the 9/11 events don’t happen. The only reason why the 9/11 attacks are still so prominent in the minds of Americans today is that the attacks are seen as the start of the world that the United States is currently in, the reason people like to imagine a world without the 9/11 attacks is to think of a world that would have been better because the towers never fell. It’s cathartic to believe that if the United States had prevented the 9/11 attacks, the issues Americans face today wouldn’t have happened, but after much research and deep understanding of the case, it’s difficult to see it that way. Instead of the world being an exception because of dramatic terrorist attacks, the current world really was just something that it was going to happen anyway. If the 9/11 attacks never happened then the world would have about an extra decade of peace before the events being faced today occur, due to events that happened centuries ago, that was entirely out of people’s controls. The attacks and the reaction to them have shaped the United States policy for more than 15 years, learning a nation that is far more vigilant and jittery about terrorism. What’s more ominous? The fact that 9/11 caused the world that people live in now? Or an attack like 9/11 being Inevitable?

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Long-lasting and Profound Impact of the 9/11 Attacks on American Society: Argumentative Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
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