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Transcript of 9/11 Project
It started like any other day, but then again, most days tend to start just like any other day.
It ended like no other day will ever end again.
At 8:46 and 9:03 AM, respectively, two passenger jets rammed into the two tall, strong main buildings of the World Trade Center, known as the Twin Towers. Eventually, both of the towers crashed to the ground. Nearly 3,000 people died, including about 750 firemen, policemen, and emergency responders.
Meanwhile, another plane hit the Pentagon in Virginia, destroying a whole section of the complex, and killing 125 people.
Yet another plane was probably heading for the White House or U.S. Capitol building, but the passengers fought the terrorists, and managed to keep the plane from reaching its destination. Unfortunately the way this was prevented was that it crashed into a field in Shanksville, PA, killing all aboard.
It was—and still is—a day that will live in infamy forever. The reaction across the United States was intense. Everywhere, all people could seem to think of was helping. Donations of all kinds poured in: ranging from cookies, to money, to blood, to blankets, to people traveling from all around the U.S. to help in New York in any way they could. One woman from the Red Cross in Portland, Oregon reported that on September 12, she came to work to find a line of people wanting to donate blood to 9/11 victims stretching around the block.
Rudolph Giuliani, mayor of New York City, was among the first to physically help the emergency responders to get people out of the towers before they collapsed. He later said this:
“Tomorrow, New York is going to be here. And we're going to rebuild, and we're going to be stronger than we were before...I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, that terrorism can't stop us.”
Okay, so we know what happened, and the knowing why will come later.
But how did life change, really, for the average American?
Short answer: A lot.
For example, my interview with John McDermott brought to light the fact that after the attacks, not only was there physical devastation and families mourning, but 40,000 people—those who had worked at the World Trade Center and surrounding buildings—were out of work.
In fact, nearly all of lower Manhattan was affected in some way by 9/11, and a pretty substantial number of buildings were made structurally unsound. Others were covered in a fine, powdery ash.
Tourism, one major industry in New York, vanished overnight. On September 10, New York city had its usual number of tourists. On September 12, there were close to none. AMERICA
Then and Now Airport security
I won't say lackluster, although that is, in essence, what airport security was before 9/11. Only after the Towers fell did they add the routine devices we see in airports today, such as screening and x-rays of most everything, including your body.
The Transportation Security Administration, otherwise known as the TSA, was established in November 2001, in direct response to the 9/11 hijackings. In years after the attacks, several attempted attacks caused new rules to be laid down:
Late 2001: Richard Reid tries to detonate a bomb concealed in his shoe, causing the TSA to create a rule that makes it so one has to remove their shoes at Security, so they may be separately scanned.
August 2006: A group of potential bombers try to detonate bombs in liquid form, causing the TSA to create a rule that makes it so all even slightly large liquids, aerosols, gels, etc. are prohibited.
December 2009: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tries to detonate a bomb hidden in his underpants, causing the TSA to create a rule that makes it so the naked scanner is mandatory—or close to it—in all airports.
And these are only a few of the rules. About a month after 9/11, the PATRIOT ACT was passed, basically giving the government more right to stick its nose into your business.
A quote from the Congressional Research Service summarizing the law:
"The Act gives federal officials greater authority to track and intercept communications, both for law enforcement and foreign intelligence gathering purposes. It vests the Secretary of the Treasury with regulatory powers to combat corruption of U.S. financial institutions for foreign money laundering purposes. It seeks to further close our borders to foreign terrorists and to detain and remove those within our borders. It creates new crimes, new penalties, and new procedural efficiencies for use against domestic and international terrorists. Although it is not without safeguards, critics contend some of its provisions go too far. Although it grants many of the enhancements sought by the Department of Justice, others are concerned that it does not go far enough."
Later, a new version allowed the FBI, CIA, NSA and other such agencies to wiretap the phones of literally anyone in America, and also to seize “any tangible things” relevant to the investigation of possible terrorists.
My personal thoughts? It was a bit over-the-top. There are more ethical ways to protect America.
POST 9/11 REACTIONS IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
The world was horrified. Affection and support poured out of the four corners of the Earth. Everybody was shocked at the apparent attack on the United States, and for a while, personal and political conflicts took a back seat to the sense of solidarity with those suffering in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. All around the world, people came together and held candlelight ceremonies to honor the dead, and left flowers and mementos on the steps on churches, outside U.S. Embassies, and in town squares across the globe.
As one French woman said, “Today, we are all Americans.” A week or two after the attack, people were still horrified, but the conflict between nations had returned, and that set up road-blocks to helping America heal.
Most countries condemned the attacks. Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq, was the only world leader who actually supported the attack, saying, “The American cowboys are reaping the fruit of their crimes against humanity.” However, in an email of October 22 to a citizen of America, he did express his condolences.
Now, be subject to a collection of sympathetic outpourings from other world leaders who did anything but support the attack.
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri: “These tragic actions contradict all human and religious values.”
Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat: “We are completely shocked. We completely condemn this very dangerous attack, and I convey my condolences to the American people...not only in my name but on behalf of the Palestinian people.”
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: “The fight against terrorism is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness.”
British Prime Minister Tony Blair: “This is not a battle between the United States of America and terrorism but between the free world and democratic world and terrorism.
“We here in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy. This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today. And we the democracies of the world are going to have to come together and fight it together.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the attacks “terrible tragedies”.
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson: “All democratic forces must form a united front.” Invading Afghanistan: the first U.S. Government reaction to the attacks
On September 19, President George W. Bush laid down his ultimatum to the Taliban, the Islamist leaders of Afghanistan. In a sentence, it was this: Give us Osama bin Laden, or we'll go get him ourselves.
Who's Osama bin Laden? Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda
Osama bin Laden was a tall, thin, soft-spoken man, born in 1957 as one of the youngest children in a huge family. In his younger days, he was just another rich kid. In his older ones, he was the most hated and feared terrorist on the globe.
How'd this happen?
He was a deeply religious man, a holy warrior, who believed that America was the supreme enemy of Allah (God) and that one day the Muslims would have to destroy it.
In the early 1980s, he and a colleague founded Al Qaeda, which means “the base,” to provide money, goods, and weapons to Islamic terrorists all over the globe. Eventually, in about 1995, he turned his attention to the US, and we all know now what Al Qaeda did to the US. Anyway, the world at large pretty much supported the invasion of Afghanistan, many countries even sending soldiers, medics, and transport to help the US's cause after the Taliban refused.
In October 2001, America started bombing Taliban hideouts in Afghanistan. In less than two months, the Taliban surrendered.
But America still didn't have bin Laden, and they wouldn't have him until President Obama ordered a strike by US forces in May 2011, when a team of SEALs found and killed Osama bin Laden. The War on Terror: Invasion of Iraq
Certain elements in the US Government had had it in for Iraq for some time, and after 9/11 people such as Donald Rumsfeld wanted to connect the attack with Iraq in some way, in order to justify an invasion, coming up with all sorts of far-fetched excuses to invade that were disproven one by one.
Finally the US Government came up with an excuse nobody could say no to, really; they would invade Iraq to weed out possible terrorists, and possible weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
WMDs which, we now know, did not exist.
And so, in 2003, America began a war that has been raging for almost a decade.
What did the rest of the world think about these decisions the US was making?
A handful of countries supported the war, such as Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and Austrailia.
However, many more, such as France, Russia, Germany, and China, did not. The support they offered the United States after 9/11 could not withstand the war-mongering of the Bush administration. THE END