September 11 attacks

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Should terrorists launch new attacks, we believe their preferred targets will be U.S. government facilities and national symbols, financial and transportation infrastructure nodes, or public gathering places. ~ National Intelligence Estimate

The September 11 attacks, often referred to as September 11th or 9/11 (pronounced as "nine eleven"), were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States that occurred September 11, 2001.


The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it. ~ World Islamic Front
This enemy attacked not just our people, but all freedom-loving people everywhere in the world... ~ George W. Bush
  • Should terrorists launch new attacks, we believe their preferred targets will be U.S. Government facilities and national symbols, financial and transportation infrastructure nodes, or public gathering places. Civil aviation remains a particularly attractive target in light of the fear and publicity that the downing on an airline would evoke.
  • The world that was behind me when I went into school that morning was gone forever, and the new one waiting for me that afternoon was wildly different.
  • Downtown Manhattan that day looked like exactly what it was, a war zone.
  • A layer of ash covered the streets and a cacophony of alarms refused to cease. I remember the 60 block walk home up the middle of 6th Avenue which was completely void of all traffic, except for sporadic rescue vehicles from neighboring counties with unfamiliar demarcations rushing downtown, their sirens piercing the eerie silence. Crowds of people gathered outside any establishment with a television, standing like statues in anesthetized silence.
  • From all points in Manhattan one could look to the South and see a huge plume of smoke hovering over the rubble where two towers once stood, two majestic American symbols representing both commerce in the free world and Democracy. Buildings that transcended width and height, real estate value and a prestigious office address. These towers spelled America, they spelled your name and mine.
  • The air was exceptionally thick with the smell of pungent smoke from smoldering rubble.
  • ... there was no discerning morning from afternoon, day from night. Just knowing that I was there to serve, I was there to show my gratitude, I was there to say yes, I believe.
  • I’ll never forget the acrid smell, the fearful and numbed look on people’s faces, the sounds and the sour taste in my mouth."
  • That morning terrorists gave their lives to cause those attacks. So here we stand, six years later, prepared to give ours to prevent further ones.
    • Gregory Barbaccia Combined Joint Task Force 82 9/11 Memorial Ceremony (September 11, 2007)
We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be okay. ~ Mohamed Atta
Nobody move, everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet. ~ Mohamed Atta
What do I tell the pilots to do? ~ Barbara Olson
Quotations of statements made during the events of September 11th, 2001.
  • We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be okay. We are returning to the airport. Nobody move, everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.
  • Nobody move please, we are going back to the airport, don't try to make any stupid moves.
    • Mohamed Atta, at 08:33, as quoted in Guardian Unlimited (17 October 2001).
  • We may have a hijack. We have some problems over here right now.
    • Air traffic controller, at 08:53, as quoted in Guardian Unlimited (17 October 2001).
  • Something is wrong. We are in a rapid descent... we are all over the place. … I see water. I see buildings. We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low. … Oh my God, we are way too low... Oh my God, we're —
  • [Ziad] Jarrah's objective was to crash his airliner into symbols of the American Republic, the Capitol or the White House. He was defeated by the alerted, unarmed passengers of United 93.
  • I am certain that I speak on behalf of my entire nation when I say, today we are all Americans. In grief, as in defiance.
  • I thought the brain could rule over the legs. And I thought the brain was white and the legs were yellow or brown. And I thought I could rule with my brain—and even if I cut my legs off—I would find cheap legs in other parts of the world. But now I am a mutilated body. I lost my legs in Korea. I lost my arms in Vietnam. I lost my head in Kuwait. I lost my torso in the World Trade Center.
    • Giannina Braschi, United States of Banana, AmazonCrossing, Seattle, September, 2011
    • Barney Rosset, The Evergreen Review, 50th Anniversary edition, New York, 2010. Michael Somoroff, documentary video, United States of Banana, New York, September 2011.[4].
  • Unburied bodies have unsettled matters—and they stink. The bodies of Polyneices and of Polonius and of Zarathustra’s tightrope walker and of the workers in the World Trade Centers lay stinking in the starry night. They still want to be paid, and they need retribution, vengeance, grudges, memories, teeth, the grinding of teeth, and muttering of curses. We need a legion of gravediggers, architects, and engineers with good faith to build cemeteries for these bodies in the ruins of the World Trade Center. Tony Blair and George Bush declared they would create a new world order out of the ruins of the World Trade Center. But they created chaos and anarchy because instead of burying the bodies they hold grudges of the ghost of vengeance.
    • Giannina Braschi, United States of Banana, AmazonCrossing, Seattle, September 2011.
  • After the World Trade Center was bombed by Islamic fundamentalists in 1993, the country quickly chalked it up to a zany one-time attack and five minutes later decided we were all safe again. We weren't. We aren't now. They will strike again. Perhaps they will wait another eight years. But perhaps not. The enemy is in this country right now. And any terrorists who are not already here are free to immigrate.
    • Ann Coulter, "Future Widows of America: Write your congressman," in Jewish World Review, September 2001.
The target of the terrorists was not only New York and Washington but the very values of freedom, tolerance and decency which underpin our way of life. ~ Tony Blair
The firefighters were not afraid to die for an idea. But the suicide killers belong in a different psychic category... ~ Martin Amis
Like all "acts of terrorism" (easily and unsubjectively defined as organised violence against civilians), September 11 was an attack on morality. ~ Martin Amis
America must have catharsis. We would hope that the response will be, above all, non-escalatory.
Our best destiny, as planetary cohabitants, is the development of what has been called "species consciousness" — something over and above nationalisms, blocs, religions, ethnicities. ~ Martin Amis
We come back to this place to remember the heartbreaking anniversary — and each person who died here — those known and unknown to us, whose absence is always with us. ~ Martin Amis
  • Ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for America. I, unfortunately, will be going back to Washington after my remarks. Secretary Rod Paige and the Lt. Governor will take the podium and discuss education. I do want to thank the folks here at Booker Elementary School for their hospitality.
    Today we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. I have spoken to the Vice President, to the Governor of New York, to the Director of the FBI, and have ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.
    Terrorism against our nation will not stand.
    And now if you would join me in a moment of silence. May God bless the victims, their families, and America. Thank you very much.
  • I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks. Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.
    I've been in regular contact with the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the national security team and my Cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high alert status, and we have taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government.
    We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans.
    I ask the American people to join me in saying a thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families.
  • This enemy attacked not just our people, but all freedom-loving people everywhere in the world. The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient, we will be focused, and we will be steadfast in our determination.… we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms.
    • George W. Bush, remarks following a meeting with the national security team (12 September 2001), in Public papers of the Presidents of the United States, 2001.
  • What we have here is a war--the war of matter and spirit... The war of banks and religion. Banks are the temples of America. This is a holy war. Our economy is our religion.
    • Giannina Braschi, remarks published in "United States of Banana" and discussed on New York 1 TV. NY1 TV, New York 2011 [5]. The Economist Book of Business Quotations, editor Bill Ridgers, John Wiley, New York, July 2012.
  • September 11 was, and remains, above all an immense human tragedy. But September 11 also posed a momentous and deliberate challenge not just to America but to the world at large. The target of the terrorists was not only New York and Washington but the very values of freedom, tolerance and decency which underpin our way of life.
  • We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now.
    We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.
  • We strongly condemn the events that happened in the United States at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We share the grief of all those who have lost their nearest and dearest in these incidents. All those responsible must be brought to justice. We want them to be brought to justice, and we want America to be patient and careful in their actions.
  • As to those in the World Trade Center… True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent?… They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire—the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved—and they did so both willingly and knowingly.… If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.
    • Ward Churchill in Pockets of Resistance no. 27 (September 2001) "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens".
  • Isn't the use by America and some Western governments of their fire against others in the world including, or in the forefront of whom are the Arabs and the Muslims, one of the most important reasons of the lack of stability in the world at the present time? Isn't the evil inflicted on America in the act of September 11, 2001, and nothing else, a result of this and other acts? This is the main question and this is what the American administration along with of the Western governments or the Western public opinion should answer in the first place with serenity and responsibility, without emotional reaction and without the use of the same old methods that America used against the world.
  • It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment. Until then, America thought she was witnessing nothing more serious than the worst aviation disaster in history; now she had a sense of the fantastic vehemence ranged against her. … For those thousands in the south tower, the second plane meant the end of everything. For us, its glint was the worldflash of a coming future.
    Terrorism is political communication by other means. The message of September 11 ran as follows: America, it is time you learned how implacably you are hated. United Airlines Flight 175 was an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile aimed at her innocence. That innocence, it was here being claimed, was a luxurious and anachronistic delusion.
  • Our best destiny, as planetary cohabitants, is the development of what has been called "species consciousness" — something over and above nationalisms, blocs, religions, ethnicities. During this week of incredulous misery, I have been trying to apply such a consciousness, and such a sensibility. Thinking of the victims, the perpetrators, and the near future, I felt species grief, then species shame, then species fear.
  • They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
    • George W. Bush, address to joint session of Congress (20 September 2001).
  • Now, the American people have got to go about their business. We cannot let the terrorists achieve the objective of frightening our nation to the point where we don't conduct business, where people don't shop.
    • George W. Bush, press conference (11 October 2001), in Public papers of the Presidents of the United States, 2001.
  • How do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is vitriolic hatred for America? I'll tell you how I respond: I'm amazed. I'm amazed that there is such misunderstanding of what our country is about, that people would hate us. I am like most Americans. I just can't believe it, because I know how good we are, and we've got to do a better job of making our case. We've got to do a better job of explaining to the people in the Middle East, for example, that we don't fight a war against Islam or Muslims. We don't hold any religion accountable. We're fighting evil.
    • George W. Bush, press conference (11 October 2001), in Public papers of the Presidents of the United States, 2001.
  • We have entered the third millennium through a gate of fire. If today, after the horror of 11 September, we see better, and we see further — we will realize that humanity is indivisible. New threats make no distinction between races, nations or regions. A new insecurity has entered every mind, regardless of wealth or status. A deeper awareness of the bonds that bind us all — in pain as in prosperity — has gripped young and old.
  • If inciting people to do that is terrorism, and if killing those who kill our sons is terrorism, then let history be witness that we are terrorists.
  • Not only were the media bombarding us all the time with talk about the terrorist threat; this threat was also obviously libidinally invested — just remember the series of movies from Escape from New York to Independence Day. That is the rationale of the often-mounted association of the attacks with Hollywood disaster movies: the unthinkable which happened was the object of fantasy, so that, in a way, America got what it fantasized about, and that was the biggest surprise.
    • Slavoj Žižek (2002). Welcome to the Desert of the Real!: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates. London: Verso, p. 15. ISBN 1859844219.
  • September 11 was a day of de-Enlightenment. Politics stood revealed as a veritable Walpurgis Night of the irrational. And such old, old stuff. The conflicts we now face or fear involve opposed geographical arenas, but also opposed centuries or even millennia. It is a landscape of ferocious anachronisms: nuclear jihad in the Indian subcontinent; the medieval agonism of Islam; the Bronze Age blunderings of the Middle East. … The champions of militant Islam are, of course, misogynists, woman-haters; they are also misologists — haters of reason. Their armed doctrine is little more than a chaotic penal code underscored by impotent dreams of genocide. And, like all religions, it is a massive agglutination of stock response, of cliches, of inherited and unexamined formulations.
  • My last vestige of "hands-off religion" respect disappeared in the smoke and choking dust of September 11, 2001, followed by the "National Day of Prayer", when prelates and pastors did their tremulous Martin Luther King impersonation and urged people of mutually incompatible faiths to hold hands, united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place.
  • Like all "acts of terrorism" (easily and unsubjectively defined as organised violence against civilians), September 11 was an attack on morality: we felt a general deficit. Who, on September 10, was expecting by Christmastime to be reading unscandalised editorials in the Herald Tribune about the pros and cons of using torture on captured "enemy combatants"? Who expected Britain to renounce the doctrine of nuclear no-first-use? Terrorism undermines morality. Then, too, it undermines reason. … No, you wouldn't expect such a massive world-historical jolt, which will reverberate for centuries, to be effortlessly absorbed. But the suspicion remains that America is not behaving rationally — that America is behaving like someone still in shock.
  • What happened on September 11? On September 11 — what happened? Picture this: two upended matchboxes, knocked over by the sheer force of paper-darts.
    Only it was much, much worse than that. In fact, words alone cannot adduce how much worse it was than that. September 11 was an attack on words: we felt a general deficit. And with words destroyed, we had to make do, we had to bolster truth with colons and repetition: not only repetition: but repetition and: colons. This is what we adduce.
  • Watching the towers fall in New York, with civilians incinerated on the planes and in the buildings, I felt something that I couldn't analyze at first and didn't fully grasp … until the day itself was nearly over. I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that this was a feeling of exhilaration. Here we are then, I was thinking, in a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate. Fine. We will win and they will lose. A pity that we let them pick the time and place of the challenge, but we can and we will make up for that.
  • This 'zeal for secrecy' I am talking about – and I have barely touched the surface – adds up to a victory for the terrorists. When they plunged those hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon three years ago this morning, they were out to hijack our Gross National Psychology. If they could fill our psyche with fear – as if the imagination of each one of us were Afghanistan and they were the Taliban – they could deprive us of the trust and confidence required for a free society to work. They could prevent us from ever again believing in a safe, decent or just world and from working to bring it about. By pillaging and plundering our peace of mind they could panic us into abandoning those unique freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of the press – that constitute the ability of democracy to self-correct and turn the ship of state before it hits the iceberg.
    • Bill Moyers, Speech to the Society of Professional Journalists, September 11, 2004. [6]
  • The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not "cowards," as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense. They were men of faith—perfect faith, as it turns out—and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be.
  • When those two towers fell, I felt a dentist had pulled out my two front teeth. I could not laugh anymore. And I have the smile of a smiling damned villain. But I also felt the hole in my mouth became a garage, and entering that garage were terrorists in trucks full of explosives and French diplomats—to fuck us more with other nations—to run over our dead bodies.
  • Every Muslim, from the moment they realize the distinction in their hearts, hates Americans, hates Jews and hates Christians. For as long as I can remember, I have felt tormented and at war, and have felt hatred and animosity for Americans.
  • Thank God for 9/11. Thank God that, five years ago, the wrath of God was poured out upon this evil nation. America, land of the sodomite damned... The deadly events of 9/11 were direct outpourings of divine retribution, the immediate visitation of God's wrath and vengeance and punishment for America's horrendous sodomite sins.
    • Fred Phelps, leader of Westboro Baptist Church, in "9/11: God's Wrath Revealed" - WBC Video News. Westboro Baptist Church (8 September 2006).

The death of Osama bin Laden[edit]

Remarks of Barack Obama on the death of Osama bin Laden - Whitehouse transcript and video (1 May 2011)
  • Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
  • On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
    We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
  • Last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
    Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
  • For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
    Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort.
    There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must — and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.
    As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
  • The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
    So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.

10th Anniversary[edit]

  • Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then, we've lived in sunshine and in shadow, and although we can never unsee what happened here, we can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost.
  • Never before in our history has America asked so much over such a sustained period of an all-volunteer force. So I can say without fear of contradiction or being accused of exaggeration, the 9/11 generation ranks among the greatest our nation has ever produced, and it was born — it was born — it was born right here on 9/11.
  • America has always been very visible... I'm still proud to be from the country that I'm from, I still love the country that I'm from. I'm still able to achieve great things here and I'm doing my best to do so. But, it's amazing. When we came together like that, when we put our differences aside and we declared war on the people that harmed us... When we got together to help the people and the families of the people that died on 9/11 it made me feel amazing. It made me feel patriotic, it made me feel strong, it made me love this country in a way that in all my years I'd never really loved it. You know? Because that's the America we all dream of. That's the America that we all want, this America that's strong, and powerful and strikes back when necessary. The sleeping giant that we were taught about in our history books, ready to just to just be the super-power that we need to be and having the best army in the world and wow. Wow. A congress and a president that'll work together, and what have we become? Eleven years later? Eleven years later we don't have those answers that we wanted from 9/11. We have most. We know who did it, we know why they did it. We know how they did it. There's conspiracy theories abound; the proof is pretty much there. But, we've done so much to gut ourselves. We've done so much to gut our freedoms... At the end of the day, the America that we could have been had we stayed on that path, the America that we could have been had we stayed together, had we worked hard to rebuild, to be better to be stronger, is a dream again. You know, and that's really sad... We're more divided than we've ever been, and that? That breaks my heart... You? If you're under the age of eighteen, you've never lived in an America like ours. You know? You've lived in a good country, don't get me wrong. You've lived in a fantastic country, one that's ailing right now, there's no arguing that. But, so close and yet? So far... I remember that American dream, and I just wonder. I wonder if America can ever be the same again. We'll see.

External links[edit]

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Conspiracy theories[edit]