Terror attacks of 11 September 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon

The 11 September attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against sites in the United States on the morning of Tuesday, 11 September 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Additional people died of incident-related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks.


9/11 Could Have Been Prevented, by Sheldon Richman, 21 Apr 2004
Counters the claim that Islamists hate the U.S. because Americans love freedom
"The question now is, when will the American people understand? The crimes of 9/11 should have focused attention on the policies that made Arabs willing to commit such heinous acts here. ... The horrors at the World Trade Center could not have been prevented by actions taken between January 20 and September 11, 2001. The real issue is whether they could have been prevented had U.S. administrations followed the noninterventionist advice of the Founding Fathers."
Related Topic: Foreign Entanglements
Americans Have Lost Their Country, by Paul Craig Roberts, 1 Mar 2007
Discusses (and lists) the neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration and the rationale for their actions furthering wars in the Middle East
"Initially, the 9/11 attack was blamed on Osama bin Laden, but after an American puppet was installed in Afghanistan, the blame for 9/11 was shifted to Iraq's Saddam Hussein, who was said to have weapons of mass destruction that would be used against America. ... Neoconservatives had called for 'a new Pearl Harbor,' and 9/11 provided the propaganda event needed in order to stampede the public and Congress into war. Neoconservative Philip Zelikow was put in charge of the 9/11 Commission Report to make certain no uncomfortable facts emerged."
An Interview With David Theroux, by David J. Theroux, Strike The Root, 2 Sep 2003
Topics discussed include: the Independent Institute, Theroux's life before founding it, possible connection to Thoreau, the Vietnam War, his heroes and influencers, activism, September 11 and book recommendations
"The aftermath of 9/11 has been a textbook case of how war crises are used to expand government power for the benefit of special interests and destroy liberty in the process. The neo-conservatives who control the Bush administration have sought for over ten years for an opportunity to invade and conquer the Mideast and to further impose a worldwide U.S. military empire, and 9/11 has given them the chance to do so, regardless of the consequences. When things do not go as they have claimed, the neo-conservatives change their story and then demand even greater government power."
Another Meaning To September 11th, by Butler Shaffer, 19 Sep 2001
Reflects on the attacks of 11 Sep 2001, arguing against top-down poltical systems and in favor of "decentralized, spontaneous systems" such as the marketplace and emphasizing the need for individual responsiblity
"The shocking attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have struck far deeper into our conscious and unconscious minds than any of us has begun to imagine. The anger that has now settled into the minds of most of us is certainly understandable, deriving as it does from a fear of our vulnerability and a failure of expectations that our political systems would protect us from such harm. This anger, driven by a desire for revenge, does not subside, for the perpetrators of this crime are dead, and it is unclear to most of us who else might be implicated."
Blueprint for Dictatorship, by Justin Raimondo, 30 Apr 2007
Describes how the Defense Authorization Act, the Military Commissions Act and changes to the Insurrection Act could be used to impose martial law in the United States
"The single stroke between day [Republic] and night [Empire] can be fixed precisely in time, at 8:45 a.m. EDT on Sept. 11, 2001, and the Military Commissions Act and the disturbing changes in the U.S. Code outlined above are the closest to painted signs we are likely to get. Waiting in the wings, an infamous cabal took advantage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, moving with preternatural speed to consolidate a dictatorship of fear. With the passage of more recent legislation, they are now moving to consolidate their gains."
Do Hadithans Hate Us for Our Freedoms?, by Jacob Hornberger, 2 Jun 2006
"Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. officials announced that the terrorists were motivated by anger and hatred for American 'freedoms and values.' In other words, the terrorists hated the First Amendment and rock and roll and, therefore, decided to attack our country."
Related Topic: Haditha Massacre
Economic Lunacy, by Walter E. Williams, 15 Nov 2004
Criticizes comments made in newspaper articles after hurricanes Frances and Jeanne hit Florida, describing Bastiat's "Seen and Not Seen" and the "broken window" parable, also criticizing Paul Krugman's similar analysis after the 11 Sep 2001 attacks
"The broken-window fallacy was seen in a column written by Princeton University professor Paul Krugman after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, 'After the Horror' ... He wrote, 'Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack – like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression – could do some economic good.' He went on to point out how rebuilding the destruction would stimulate the economy through business investment and job creation. ... If Krugman is right, wouldn't the terrorists have done us a bigger economic favor if they had destroyed buildings in other cities?"
Elizabeth de la Vega, Bringing Bush to Court, by Elizabeth de la Vega, Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch, 27 Nov 2006
Foreword by Engelhardt, followed by excerpt from the introduction of de la Vega's United States v. George W. Bush et al, where she compares the Enron scandal to Bush's words and actions in bringing about the invasion of Iraq
"George W. Bush exploited the vulnerability of an entire populace reeling from the September 11, 2001, attacks to manipulate them into supporting a war based on false pretenses. ... By July 30, 2002, the White House Iraq Group had already begun fabricating an ominous scenario that blurred together the September 11 tragedy, mushroom clouds rising over American cities, and terrorists ... The President knew that Americans were 'particularly susceptible' in 2002. We were exhausted, and justifiably terrified, not only because of September 11 but also because of the anthrax murders and the random Washington, DC, sniper killings ..."
Fixing Airport Security, by Robert W. Poole, Jr., Intellectual Ammunition, 1 Nov 2001
Published shortly before the establishment of the Transportation Security Administration, recommends that U.S. airport security be handled the way it has been done in Europe, and Heathrow in particular, by turning airports into business enterprises
"The September 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center have forced us to rethink the issue of airport security. ... Some observers have called for creating a federal service ... But merely changing the uniforms will not change either the nature of the work or the incentives ... Although there are dedicated professionals running some U.S. airports, all too often we have positions filled by political appointees--like the former governor of Massachusetts' driver, who is the current chief of airport security at Boston's Logan Airport, where two of the doomed September 11 flights originated."
Related Topics: Business, London
Foreword to A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Ron Paul, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 15 Mar 2007
Examines the historical precedents for the Paulian view that American foreign and domestic policy both be conducted in the same non-interventionist manner
"Then 9-11 happened, and the great excuse for Leviathan again entered the picture. Never mind that, as Congressman Paul pointed out, the crime of 9-11 was motivated by retribution against ten years of killer US sanctions against Iraq, US troops on Muslim holy lands, and US subsidies for Palestinian occupation. No, the American Right bought into the same farce that led them to support the Cold War: Islamic fanaticism is a unique evil unlike anything we've ever seen, so we have to put up with Leviathan (again!) for the duration. Well, Ron Paul didn't buy into it. "
UpdFreedom, Security, and the Roots of Terrorism against the United States, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Oct 2001
Reflections on the 11 September attacks a few weeks after, discusses the reasons for the terrorist attacks and proposes certain measures to deal with the situation
"Emotion is a powerful element in the human being. A very small number of Americans and Europeans called for blood, even innocent blood if it resulted in the death of some of the terrorists and their accomplices in the process. But most of the Europeans and Americans suggested greater caution before military action was undertaken to determine whether it might not set in motion a series of consequences that would lead to even greater disaster. There was a general agreement that there was no clear-cut and simple answer or solution to ensure justice in the face of this terrible tragedy."
Government the Exploiter, Not Protector, by Sheldon Richman, 14 Jul 2006
Argues that, contrary to popular belief, the primary goal of government is not to protect the citizens but rather to exploit them though taxes and a system of privileges
"U.S. intervention ... has been portrayed as necessary for national security, but in fact has been part of the system of privilege that harms most Americans. That system brought the blowback of September 11, 2001. But instead of people's getting wise to the game, 9/11 only reinforced it by furnishing a pretext for even more government power, intrusion, and exploitation."
Related Topic: Government
How Did We Get Here?, by Justin Raimondo, 24 Oct 2007
Recapitulates the actions of various media outlets and "semi-credible sources" in making the case for the Iraqi invasion and supporting its continuation after the 2007 "surge"
"The al-Qaeda connection was a subset of the master narrative, which conjured a frightening vision of a nuclear apocalypse as the price we would pay for inaction in Iraq. ... The main connecting thread between al-Qaeda and Iraq was reported as an alleged meeting between an Iraqi intelligence agent and Mohammed Atta that supposedly took place at the Prague airport ... The years of constantly repeating this theme – that Iraq planned and carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks – either implicitly or explicitly took their toll on the truth: until very recently, substantial majorities believed Iraq had been behind the attacks."
Related Topic: Iraq War (2003)
How It All Began, by Charley Reese, 15 Jan 2007
"It all began with one faulty premise. The attack on the World Trade Center was carried out by a single organization, al-Qaida. Hamas had not attacked us; Islamic Jihad had not attacked us; the Taliban had not attacked us; the guerrillas in the Philippines, Somalia, Colombia and wherever else in the world they exist had not attacked us."
Related Topic: Terrorism
Improve the CIA? Better to abolish it, by Chalmers Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Feb 2004
Lists countries where the CIA conducted subversive operations and recommends abolishing the agency.
"These operations have generated numerous terrorist attacks and other forms of retaliation -- what the CIA calls "blowback" -- against the United States by peoples on the receiving end. Because covert operations are secret from the people of the United States (if not their targets), when retaliation hits, as it did so spectacularly on Sept. 11, 2001, Americans do not have the information to put it into context or understand it."
Iraqi Sanctions: Were They Worth It?, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jan 2004
Analyzes the sanctions imposed on Iraq during the 1990's, and Madeleine Albright's attempt to recant, in her memoirs, on her statement that the sanctions were "worth it"
"Albright now writes that her answer to Stahl was 'crazy' and that she regretted it 'as soon as [she] had spoken.' Yet she did not take back her words between 1996 and September 11, 2001. ... in a speech ... shortly after 9/11 she 'quietly' expressed regret for her statement, claiming it had been taken out of context. (She does not make that point in her book.) But neither her office nor the Clinton administration issued a prominent retraction to the American people or the world. ... We can be sure of one thing: word of her original response spread throughout the Arab world. Maybe even among some of the 9/11 terrorists."
Related Topics: Ethics, Iraq
Killing Iraqi Children, by Jacob Hornberger, 19 Jun 2006
Comments on a Detroit News editorial condoning the bombing, rather than the arrest and prosecution, of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the "collateral" death of a five-year old girl
"The attack on Iraq was akin to, say, attacking Bolivia or Uruguay or Mongolia, after 9/11. Those countries also had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks and so it would have been illegal and immoral for President Bush to have ordered an invasion and occupation of those countries as well. To belabor the obvious, the fact that some people attacked the United States on 9/11 didn't give the United States the right to attack countries that didn't have anything to do with the 9/11 attacks."
More Bush Insults, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Oct 2005
Comments on George W. Bush's nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court and on his speech asking for support on the "war on terror"
"Bush’s second insult to our intelligence came in his big speech ... He said, 'Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq ... I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001 — and al-Qaeda attacked us anyway. ...' ... For Muslims, Arabs, and many Americans, U.S. intervention in Iraq had been an issue for 10 years before September 11, 2001. The U.S. air force routinely bombed the country and killed innocent people, while a U.S.-led embargo took hundreds of thousands of children's lives and created great hardship."
Q & A with Karen Kwiatkowski, by Karen Kwiatkowski, Brian Lamb, Q&A, 2 Apr 2006
Video and transcript of the C-SPAN program; Lamb interviews Kwiatkowski about the 2003 invasion of Iraq and her participation in the 2005 film Why We Fight
"Q: Where were you on 9/11?
A: In the Pentagon, in our office. We were actually - at the moment that the Pentagon was struck, we were in my boss's office watching television, and we were looking at one tower that was damaged and burning, and then - and we actually witnessed on television, it was very surreal. I'm sure many, many millions of people who watched that felt very surreal. We saw it on TV and then, within minutes, it seemed we heard a huge boom and looked out over our window into the interior of the Pentagon. Pentagon roof looked like it had a huge fireball on it. I mean, we saw the fireball."
September 11 and the Anti-Capitalistic Mentality: An Interview with Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., for Frontpagemag.com, by Lew Rockwell, Myles Kantor, FrontPage Magazine, 12 Mar 2002
Discusses the insights of Mises' The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality particularly with regard to the attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 Sep 2001
"Think about the people who worked at the WTC: traders, insurers, speculators, ... financial experts whose contributions are essential to our daily lives. They labored every day to overcome linguistic, cultural, and regulatory barriers to unite the world in a great commercial project to improve the lot of mankind. But public schools teach that they are exploiters ... When the hijackers were choosing targets, they figured that they would smash these buildings because they somehow represented the 'money power.' ... The attack on the WTC put into action what millions of students are taught every day in their college classrooms ..."
The 9/11 Servility Reflex, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Dec 2007
Discusses how the general American public reacted after the 9/11 attacks and how the 9/11 Commission and the mainstream media helped reinforce that reaction
"The naive response to politicians triumphed in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks. By the end of September 2001, almost two-thirds of Americans said they 'trust the government in Washington to do what is right' either 'just about always' or 'most of the time.' Amazingly, the attacks even boosted Americans' confidence that government would protect them against terrorists. ... The 9/11 attackers were mass murderers who had no right to kill Americans. But to pretend that the attacks originated out of nowhere or out of hatred for freedom fraudulently exonerates the U.S. government."
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Government
The Case for Optimism, by Butler Shaffer, 19 Oct 2001
Relates the change in people's behavior after the September 2001 attacks, some standing up for principle whereas others followed the herd, but in the end finding some cause for optimism
"One positive feature of the post-September 11th mess has been the discovery of who is, and who is not, devoted to individual liberty. ... In the aftermath of the WTC attack, as well as the government's attack on our liberties, I have had occasion to learn a great deal about people I have regarded as my friends, ... most of it quite favorable, some not so favorable. As I told one of my colleagues who could not understand my unwillingness to join in the war fervor, I do not take kindly to people whose sense of patriotism consists in helping to create an environment that threatens the lives of my family!"
Related Topics: Individual Liberty, Terrorism
The Critical Dilemma Facing Pro-War Libertarians, by Jacob Hornberger, 14 Feb 2007
Discusses the contradictions faced by U.S. libertarians and conservatives who endorsed or encouraged imperial and interventionist foreign policies
"The 9/11 attacks exposed a major fault line in the libertarian movement. On one side of the divide were those libertarians who contended that the 9/11 attacks were a direct consequence of U.S. foreign policy, specifically the bad things that the federal government had done to people overseas ... On the other side of the divide were those libertarians who ... aligned themselves with conservatives. Viewing the attacks as an act of war, they favored giving the president full authority to wage the global war on terror."
The Endless War on Terrorism, by Jacob Hornberger, 1 Sep 2004
Reflects on President George W. Bush response ("I don't think we can win it") when asked about the War on Terror
"When Americans were killed on 9/11, the response of most Americans was deep anger and a thirst for revenge over the loss of innocent life. ... So, the argument goes, the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with the U.S. government's killings of foreigners overseas because foreigners don't care when their friends, relatives, and countrymen are killed. ... Thus, the 9/11 attacks, the argument goes, were instead motivated by hatred of America's 'freedom and values,' i.e., the First Amendment, religious freedom, Wal-Mart, and rock and roll, not by the loss of their loved ones at the hands of the U.S. government. How logical is that?"
The George W. Bush 'What Me Worry?' Quiz, by Jim Cox, 2 Apr 2007
Twenty questions on what was George W. Bush's response to various situations; the answers provide links to supporting information
"When Congress called for a full independent investigation of the 9/11 tragedy to prepare the U.S. against future terrorist attacks, the reaction of George W. Bush was to: a. support the effort and pledge to fully cooperate with the investigating committee. b. do a 'What Me Worry?' and first refuse the request, then under pressure agree to an investigation of a limited nature only, then appoint Condi Rice underling Phillip Zelikow to effectively investigate himself."
Why Are We Afraid To Be Free?, by Butler Shaffer, 27 Nov 2001
Examines the question of how to bring about freedom in individuals' lives, discussing how government influences people to be in conflicted states and how one must look within oneself and act accordingly to begin to be "free"
"... observe the Draconian measures already put in place in this country by the Bush Administration ... Echoing the mantras of various government officials, 71% of persons alleged to have been polled expressed support for the 'assassination' of Osama bin Laden, rather than a public trial. A trial might, after all, reveal that bin Laden had no involvement with the September 11th attacks, and to simply assassinate the man would save the Bush Administration untold embarrassment. Like any lynch mob, those who have whooped themselves into a mass-minded frenzy don't wish their prejudices confused by factual disputes!"
Why We Fight, by Justin Raimondo, 1 Feb 2006
Detailed review of the 2005 documentary Why We Fight
"On Sept. 11, 2001, Wilton Sekzer was on an elevated subway train coming into downtown New York when the car made an abrupt turn around the bend and the passengers were suddenly confronted with the sight of the World Trade Center on fire. Sekzer, a retired NYPD officer, clearly remembers his first thoughts ... and he details his mental narrative here ... as a kind of personal link to the catalytic event that started the Iraq ball rolling ... He describes his anger at the sight of the burning building, and his hope – processed as certain knowledge – that his son, who worked in the Towers, had somehow gotten out of there."
Will the Democrats Become Part of the Problem?, by Paul Craig Roberts, 10 Nov 2006
Discusses the outcome of the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections and offers recommendations primarily for congressional Democrats
"9/11, if it was actually an act of Muslim terrorism, was the direct consequence of US one-sided meddling in Middle Eastern affairs. ... The 9/11 Commission Report has too many problems and shortcomings to be believable. Recent polls show that 36 percent of the American people do not believe the report. Such a deficient report is unacceptable. 9/11 became the excuse for the neoconservative Bush regime to launch illegal wars of aggression in the Middle East. The 9/11 Commission Report is nothing but a public relations justification for the 'war on terror,' which in truth is a war on American liberty."
With Enemies Like This, Who Needs Friends?, by Kevin Carson, 23 Aug 2013
Reflects on the actions taken by the U.S. government in response to threats, such as from bad actors like Al Qaeda, or disclosures from whistleblowers such as Snowden and Manning
"Al Qaeda has followed a consistent business model of goading Uncle Sam into doing utterly stupid things — a business model that never fails. AQ spent a relatively minor amount preparing and carrying out the 9/11 hijackings. In response, the United States became bogged down in two regional wars in South Asia and the Middle East that alienated public sentiment in the Islamic world, and embarked on a general policy ... that did irreparable damage to its reputation around the world. Entirely through its own responses to 9/11, the U.S. government has run up $1.5 trillion dollars in war debt ..."
Related Topic: United States

Cartoons and Comic Strips

A Nation Remembers III, by Mark Fiore, 8 Sep 2004
It's Because of 9/11!, by Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader, 20 Jun 2006
Tonight, Kiddies, My Story About Iraq ..., by Tony Auth, 30 Jun 2005
We Must Stay the Course in Iraq, by Stuart Carlson, 29 Jun 2005
What might have happened on Sept. 11 if this were truly The Land of the Free, by Scott Bieser, 2001


Fahrenheit 9/11, by Michael Moore (Director), 2004
Best Picture, 2004 Cannes Film Festival


The Cato Institute at 40, by Trevor Burrus, Peter Goettler, Aaron Ross Powell, 10 Mar 2017
Interview with Peter Goettler, President and CEO of the Cato Institute since March 2015
"The building I was in was the closest one to Ground Zero that actually wasn't structurally damaged in the attack. ... And, David [Boaz], we both talked about the concern about terrorism. David also mentioned being very concerned about what was going to happen to civil liberties in the United States in the wake of the attack. At the time I thought, 'Man, that's just not even in my frame of reference.' Boy, looking back on it, it was quite a prescient comment or prescient concern because when you think of the way our country has changed in the last 15, 16 years since the attack, clearly there's been much higher risk profile for civil liberties of all types. "

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "September 11 attacks" as of 19 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.