Aftermath of the September 11 attacks

Aftermath of the September 11 attacks

September 11, 2001 was the sole day that defined the first term of President George W. Bush and led to what he has called the "Global War on Terrorism", or war against terrorism. The accuracy of describing it as a "war" and the political motivations and consequences are the topic of strenuous debate. The U.S. government increased military operations, economic measures and political pressure on groups it accused of being terrorists, as well as on governments and countries accused of sheltering them. October 2001 saw the first military action initiated by the U.S. Under this policy, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in order to remove the oppressive Taliban regime (which harbored al-Qaeda) and to capture Al-Qaeda forces. The invasion was supported by a large number of countries. Prior to the invasion, the Taliban had refused to hand over bin Laden without being shown evidence of his connection to the attacks. While the primary objective of capturing bin Laden has failed so far, the invasion did succeed in uprooting the extremely oppressive Taliban from power, enabling the implementation of a government cooperative and supportive in the search for bin Laden and the general "War on Terrorism". The invasion removed a safe haven and base of operations for al-Qaeda. [Nigel Inkster, the "Director of transnational threats and political risk" at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, and a former director of the British secret intelligence agency commonly known as MI6, said there was much debate within al-Qaida after the 9/11 attacks, which led to the invasion of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and to the removal of a safe haven in the southern part of that country. According to Mr Inkster, many al-Qaida supporters believed that the attacks were a "tactical error" for this reason. [,,2167923,00.html Guardian article] ] The U.S. government has also asserted that the U.S. invasion of Iraq is connected to 9/11. [President Bush said "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terrorism that began on September the 11, 2001..." [] , and Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that Iraq was involved in the September 11 attack during a "Meet the Press" interview: Iraq is "the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9-11" (Knight-Ridder October 3, 2003, archived at [] ). Also, the U.S. government has continued to maintain that the war on Iraq is critical to the American "War on Terrorism". "In the war on terrorism, Iraq is now the central front..." said President Bush on December 14, 2005. [] ]

Because the attacks on the United States were judged to be within the parameters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO declared section 5 of the military alliance to be met, making the US war on terror the first time since its inception that NATO would actually participate in a "hot" war.


The September 11 attacks also precipitated a focus on domestic security issues and the creation of a new cabinet-level federal agency, the Department of Homeland Security. The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 was passed soon after the attacks, giving law enforcement agencies sweeping search and surveillance powers over U.S citizens. This led to the creation in 2002 of the Information Awareness Office (IAO), led by John Poindexter. The IAO has initiated a program called Total Information Awareness, amended in May 2003 to Terrorist Information Awareness (TIA), with the aim of developing technology that would enable it to collect and process massive amounts of information about every individual in the United States, and trace patterns of behavior that could help predict terrorist activities. The information the IAO would gather includes Internet activity, credit card purchase histories, airline ticket purchases, car rentals, medical records, educational transcripts, driver's licenses, utility bills, tax returns, and other available data. Critics of the IAO believe it goes too far in the sacrifice of civil liberties and privacy, putting in place an Orwellian infrastructure prone to abuse. Many major events the United States has hosted since September 11, 2001 have been designated National Special Security Events (NSSE), because of concerns of terrorism. Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia Chief Charles Ramsey made the point clear before the state funeral of former U.S. president Ronald Reagan: "In a post 9/11 world we have to be very concerned about that and aware of the potential for something to happen."

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the United States and other countries around the world were placed on a high state of alert against potential follow-up attacks. Civilian air travel across the U.S. and Canada was — for the first time ever — almost completely suspended for three days with numerous locations and events affected by closures, postponements, cancellations, and evacuations. Other countries imposed similar security restrictions. In the United Kingdom, for instance, civilian aircraft were forbidden to fly over London for several days after the attack.

International reaction

The attacks had major world-wide political effects. Many other countries introduced tough anti-terrorism legislation and took action to cut off terrorist finances, including the freezing of bank accounts suspected of being used to fund terrorism. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies stepped up cooperation to arrest terrorist suspects and break up suspected terrorist cells around the world.

The attack prompted numerous memorials and services all over the world. In Berlin, 200,000 Germans marched to show their solidarity with America. The French newspaper of record, "Le Monde", ran a front-page headline reading "Nous sommes tous Américains", or "We are all Americans". A national day of mourning was held in Ireland on Friday, September 14, the only country other than the U.S.A. to do so. In London, the U.S. national anthem was played at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. (To mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee, New York City lit the Empire State Building in purple and gold, to say "thank you" for this action.) In the immediate aftermath, support for the United States' right to defend itself was expressed across the world, and by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1368. [ [ UN Security Council Resolution 1368 (2001) ] ]

Reaction to the attacks in the Muslim world was mixed. The great majority of Muslim political and religious leaders condemned the attacks — virtually the only significant exception was Saddam Hussein, then president of Iraq. Also, shortly after the attack, the media picked up on a number of celebrations of the attacks in the Middle East with images of these celebrations being broadcast on television and published in print. Less publicized were public displays of sympathy, including candlelight vigils in countries like Iran. [ [ Scholars of Islam & the Tragedy of Sept. 11th ] ]

Public response in the United States

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, George W. Bush's job approval rating soared to 86% [cite news|url= |title=Poll finds a united nation |date=2001, September 16 |publisher=USA Today |author=Benedetto, Richard and Patrick O'Driscoll] . On September 20, 2001, the president spoke before the nation and a joint-session of 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 the speech, he characterized the speech itself as being akin to the President's customary State of the Union address.

The attacks also had immediate and overwhelming effects upon the United States population. People began rallying around the popularized phrase, "United We Stand," in hopes of being resilient and keeping the American spirit alive in the face of a devastating attack. Many people joined together to help the victims. Gratitude toward uniformed public-safety workers, and especially toward firefighters, was widely expressed in light of both the drama of the risks taken on the scene and the high death toll among the workers. Many people paid tribute to the police officers and fire fighters by wearing NYPD and FDNY hats. The number of casualties among the emergency service personnel was unprecedented. The highly visible role played by Rudy Giuliani, the Mayor of New York City, won him high praise nationally and in New York City. [cite news|title=Rudolph Giuliani Rudy the Rock |publisher=The Scotsman |date=2001, September 22 |page=14] He was named Person of the Year by "Time" magazine for 2001, and at times had a higher profile in the U.S. than President George W. Bush.

Blood donations saw a surge in the weeks after 9/11. According to a report by the Journal of the American Medical Association, "...the number of blood donations in the weeks after the September 11, 2001, attacks was markedly greater than in the corresponding weeks of 2000 (2.5 times greater in the first week after the attacks; 1.3–1.4 times greater in the second to fourth weeks after the attack)." [Glynn, Simone A. " [ Effect of a National Disaster on Blood Supply and Safety: The September 11 Experience] ." "Journal of the American Medical Association", 289, 2246-2253.]

Two major public reactions to the attacks were a surge of public expressions of patriotism not seen since World War II, marked most often by displays of the American flag; and an unprecedented level of respect, sympathy, and admiration for New York City and New Yorkers as a group by Americans in other parts of the United States. Some criticized this particular reaction, noting that not everyone who died was from New York (for example, some of the passengers on the planes), and that the Arlington, Virginia community also suffered in the attacks. At the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show that took place in New York in February 2002, a touching tribute was paid to the search and rescue dogs who not only assisted in locating survivors and bodies from the rubble, but were also inside the World Trade Center buildings before they collapsed.

Backlash and hate crimes

In the weeks following the attacks, there was a surge in incidents of harassment and hate crimes against Middle Easterners and others thought to be "Middle Eastern-looking" people — particularly Sikhs, due to the fact that Sikh males usually wear turbans, which are stereotypically associated with Muslims by many Americans. In many cities there were reports of vandalism against mosques and other Islamic institutions, including some cases of arson.

Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh man, was one of the first victims of this backlash; he was shot dead on September 15 at the gas station he owned in Mesa, Arizona. A total of nine people were murdered within the United States as part of the backlash.Fact|date=April 2007

Economic aftermath

The attacks had significant economic repercussions for the United States and world markets. The New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and NASDAQ did not open on September 11 and remained closed until September 17. New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) facilities and remote data processing sites were not damaged by the attack, but member firms, customers and markets were unable to communicate due to major damage to the telephone exchange facility near the World Trade Center. When the stock markets reopened on September 17, 2001, after the longest closure since the Great Depression in 1933, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (“DJIA”) stock market index fell 684 points, or 7.1%, to 8920, its biggest-ever one-day point decline. By the end of the week, the DJIA had fallen 1369.7 points (14.3%), its largest one-week point drop in history. U.S. stocks lost $1.2 trillion in value for the week.

The attacks led to decreased travel, and as of 2008, the U.S. airline industry has not fully recovered , however, many point towards high energy costs to be a part of the problem.

Health effects

The pulverized concrete which filled the streets with voluminous dust has led through time to serious lung and cardiovascular disorders. These are covered in a recent article, [ Tracing Lung Ailments That Rose With 9/11 Dust, May 13, 2006.] Although at the time of the tower collapses the EPA advised that there was no danger from air contamination, it has subsequently come to light that toxic fumes were very much in evidence. In February 2006, under pressure from New York's congressional delegation, the Bush administration appointed Dr. John Howard (not to be confused with former Australian Prime Minister John Howard), the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to coordinate the screening and treatment of the rescue personnel who were exposed to toxic fumes at Ground Zero. []

Insurance claims and claims against the airlines

The attack on the World Trade Center led to huge insurance claims, with many insurance companies throughout the world having to disclose the impact of the attack in their financial statements. In April 2004, a jury of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected claims by World Trade Center leaseholder, Larry Silverstein, that two planes hitting the Twin Towers should, within the terms of his insurance policies, be considered two separate incidents, which would have entitled him to $7 billion in insurance reimbursements. The insurers, Swiss Reinsurance Co. and others, initially argued successfully that the attacks in New York were one incident and that Silverstein was only entitled to $3.5 billion. In December 2004, a federal jury decided that the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center was, for insurance purposes, two occurrences, which means that Silverstein stands to collect up to $4.6 billion. []

In 2003, Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York agreed to hear a consolidated master case against three airlines, ICTS International NV and Pinkerton's airport security firms, the World Trade Center owners, and Boeing Co., the aircraft manufacturer. The case was brought by people injured in the attacks, representatives of those who died, and entities that suffered property damage. In September 2004, just before the three-year statute of limitations expired, the insurers for the World Trade Center filed suit against American Airlines, United Airlines, and Pinkerton's airport security firm, alleging their negligence allowed the planes to be hijacked. Because the Air Transportation Act, which was passed after September 11, limits the liability of airlines aircraft manufacturers, and airports to the amount of their insurance coverage, this case will likely be combined with the consolidated master case filed in 2003.

Market Activity Investigations

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the "9/11 Commission") investigated these rumors and found that although some unusual (and initially seemingly suspicious) trading activity did occur in the days prior to September 11, it was all coincidentally innocuous and not the result of insider trading by parties with foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks:

Highly publicized allegations of insider trading in advance of 9/11 generally rest on reports of unusual pre-9/11 trading activity in companies whose stock plummeted after the attacks. Some unusual trading did in fact occur, but each such trade proved to have an innocuous explanation. For example, the volume of put options — instruments that pay off only when a stock drops in price — surged in the parent companies of United Airlines on September 6 and American Airlines on September 10 — highly suspicious trading on its face. Yet, further investigation has revealed that the trading had no connection with 9/11. A single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda purchased 95 percent of the UAL puts on September 6 as part of a trading strategy that also included buying 115,000 shares of American on September 10. Similarly, much of the seemingly suspicious trading in American on September 10 was traced to a specific U.S.-based options trading newsletter, faxed to its subscribers on Sunday, September 9, which recommended these trades. The SEC and FBI, aided by other agencies and the securities industry, devoted enormous resources to investigating this issue, including securing the cooperation of many foreign governments. These investigators have found that the apparently suspicious consistently proved innocuous.
9/11 Commission Report [ [ The 9/11 Commission Report (p. 499)] ]

Rescue and recovery

Rescue and recovery efforts took months to complete. It took weeks simply to put out the fires burning in the rubble of the WTC, and the clean-up was not completed until May 2002. Many relief funds were immediately set up to assist victims of the attacks. The task of providing financial assistance to the survivors and the families of victims is still ongoing. posted a video online which showed there was a large military prescense in New York City shortly after the attacks, and that U.S. troops took part in the clean-up operations [] .

A small number of survivors and surprisingly few intact victims' remains were found in the rubble of the WTC. The forces unleashed by the towers' disintegration were so great that many of those trapped in the buildings were pulverized in the collapse. Some victims had to be identified by a few scraps of flesh or individual teeth. Most bodies were never found, presumably because the heat of the fires incinerated them. On January 18, 2002, the last hospitalized survivor of the World Trade Center attack was released from the hospital. As late as April 2006 [] , small fragments of human remains were still being found on adjacent buildings in New York. Over 1.5 million tons of debris produced by the collapse of the WTC posed unique problems for the cleanup effort. A fully occupied skyscraper had never collapsed before, and the environmental and health consequences of such an event were unknown. About 100 tons of asbestos used in the construction of the WTC had not yet been fully removed. The attacks released dense clouds of dust containing pulverized cement, glass fibers, asbestos, and other airborne contaminants.

By 2004, nearly half of more than 1,000 screened rescue-and-recovery workers and volunteers reported new and persistent respiratory problems, and more than half reported persistent psychological symptoms. [] Because of the long latency period between exposure and development of asbestos-related diseases, exposed Manhattan residents, especially rescue-and-recovery workers, may suffer future adverse health effects. The January 6,2006 death of NYPD James Zadroga was ruled by a New Jersey coroner as directly due to clean-up at the WTC site. [] This ruling was unequivocally rejected in October 2007 by the New York City Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Charles Hirsch, and Medical Examiner Michele Slone. []

Six months after the attack, the 1.5 million tons of debris had been removed from the WTC site, and work continued below ground level, despite concerns that the slurry wall encompassing the site foundation — known as the Bathtub — might collapse. Ceremonies marking the completion of debris removal took place at the end of May 2002.

Effects on children

The attacks were regarded by some as particularly disturbing to children, in part because of the frequency with which the images were replayed on television. Many schools closed early, especially those with children whose parents worked in Washington, D.C. and NYC. In Sarasota, Florida, Emma E. Booker Elementary School became a part of history because President George W. Bush was reading to a classroom of children when the attacks happened.

When asked for her thoughts on the attacks, the first lady, Laura Bush, a former school librarian, gave a very strong warning to parents: don't let your children see the pictures over and over, especially with young children, but even elementary school-aged children shouldn't be watching it all the time. She felt it was too frightening for them and warned parents to turn off the televisions so that children don't see the replays over and over. [] She gave the warning based on how children reacted to the bombing in Oklahoma City. She also composed open letters to children, which she distributed through state education officials. A "Dear Students" letter went to middle and high school students [] , while elementary school students received one beginning "Dear Children." []

Conspiracy theories

With the U.S. government initially unwilling to fully investigate the attacks, and due to some discrepancies between the evidence and the official explanations, some victim's family members and other concerned citizens created the 9/11 Truth Movement. A variety of conspiracy theories have emerged as an alternative explanation for the events of 9/11.

Various 9/11 opinion polls have shown that doubts about whether Al Qaeda were truly behind the attacks are prevalent and increasing in the United States and in other countries of the world. A poll in 2008 found that on average, only 46% of the world believe Al Qaeda were responsible, with 15% saying the U.S. government were behind the attacks, 7% saying Isreal and another 7% naming some other country. One in four responded that they do not know. []

ee also

*9/11 Commission Report
*9/11 conspiracy theories
*Fahrenheit 9/11 — a documentary by Michael Moore
*Health effects of September 11, 2001 attacks
*September 11, 2001 attacks
*War games in progress on September 11, 2001

External links

* [ The Arab and Iranian Reaction to 911]
* [ "Complete 911 Timeline" from Nov. 2001 through present] - Provided by the "Center for Cooperative Research".
* [ "Environmental impact of 911 attacks"] - Provided by the "Center for Cooperative Research".
*cite web
year = 2006
url =
title = How 9/11 changed America: In statistics
work = 11 September: Five years on
publisher = BBC
accessdate = 2006-09-06


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Outline of the September 11 attacks — The following outline is an overview of and topical guide to the September 11 attacks and their consequences: The September 11 attacks – series of four coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C.,… …   Wikipedia

  • Detentions following the September 11 attacks — Soon after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States Government began detaining people who fit the profile of the suspected hijackers: mostly male, Arabic or Muslim noncitizens. By late November 2001, more than 1,200 people had been… …   Wikipedia

  • Reactions to the September 11 attacks — The Reactions to the September 11, 2001 attacks included condemnation from world leaders, other political and religious representatives and the international media, as well as numerous memorials and services all over the world. The attacks were… …   Wikipedia

  • Casualties of the September 11 attacks — The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by Al Qaeda resulted in 2,996 immediate (attack time) deaths, including the 19 hijackers and 2,977 victims.[1] 372 foreign nationals (excluding the 19 perpetrators) perished in the attacks, representing …   Wikipedia

  • Hijackers in the September 11 attacks — The September 11 attacks were carried out by 19 hijackers affiliated with al Qaeda. The hijackers were organized into four teams, each led by a pilot trained hijacker with four muscle hijackers , who were trained to help subdue the pilots,… …   Wikipedia

  • Motives for the September 11 attacks — The 9/11 attacks have been described as a global symbolic event [1] The September 11th attacks were an organized terrorist act carried out by 19 hijackers, and organized by numerous members of al …   Wikipedia

  • Communication during the September 11 attacks — Communication problems and successes played an important role in the September 11, 2001 attacks and their aftermath. Contents 1 Attackers 2 Federal government 3 First responders 4 Victims …   Wikipedia

  • Closings and cancellations following the September 11 attacks — Many closings and cancellations followed the September 11th attacks, including major landmarks, buildings, restrictions on access to Lower Manhattan, and postponement or cancellation of major sporting and other events. Landmarks were closed… …   Wikipedia

  • Memorials and services for the September 11 attacks — This article is about multiple 9/11 memorials. For other uses, see 9/11 memorial (disambiguation). The 2004 Tribute in Light memorial. The first memorials to the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks began to take shape online, as hundreds… …   Wikipedia

  • Health effects arising from the September 11 attacks — There has been growing concern over the health effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. Within seconds of the collapse of the twin towers and Building 7 of the World Trade Center, pulverized building …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”