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September 11, 2001 was the day that the main two buildings of the World Trade Center in New York City and part of the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. were destroyed by three passenger airliners hijacked by terrorists from the Islamist militant group Al-Qaeda. A fourth hijacked passenger airliner, which was intended to strike the United States Capitol, crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The death toll has been established at 2,996 people, including the 19 hijackers, making it the worst terrorist attack in United States history.
|Some dare call it|
While the international community condemned the attacks, some Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East viewed them as part of a legitimate jihad. As a result of 9/11, the United States invaded Afghanistan to destroy Al-Qaeda and hunt down its leader Osama bin Laden. It has been occupying that country for the last 12 years, making it the longest war in U.S. history.
Sadly, 9/11 has become a magnet for conspiracy theorists.
 What really happened
The story as pieced together by government and civilian authorities was that 9/11 was a followup to the failed Bojinka plot, created by al-Qaeda under the auspices of founder Osama bin Laden. On the morning of September 11, 19 men, mostly from Saudi Arabia, hijacked four planes out of Boston, New York City, and Washington, DC, and without giving away their intentions redirected the planes on kamikaze missions towards four American landmarks on the east coast — the Twin Towers of the WTC in New York, the Pentagon, and an unknown fourth location theorized by some to have been the White House or the Capitol building (the last plane was brought down through passenger interference, in an open field outside of Shanksville). The attacks resulted in the complete collapse of the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City (now known as Ground Zero) and heavy damage to one side of the Pentagon, and the deaths of just under 3000 people, some 400 of whom were police, firefighters (with 3/4 of the responder casualties) and EMS workers in and around New York City alone.
Later analysis showed that the World Trade Center towers, constructed as a stack of floors anchored between the building's facade and a central steel girder cage, had much of their steel structure weakened (not melted) by large amounts of burning jet fuel, a lot of which had been atomized on impact; a third tower on the site, WTC 7, was badly damaged by falling debris from the tower collapses and was on fire, and collapsed several hours later of its own accord. The Pentagon, where the impact site was in an area of the building that had been recently renovated and not fully reoccupied, had heavy but highly compartmentalized damage and comparably light casualties.
The cleanup took many months, complicated by the jet fuel fire under the WTC debris and the need to recover the bodies of the dead.
In the wake of 9/11, much criticism surrounded the actions of President George W. Bush, who, after being informed of the attack, had returned to reading a children's book to a classroom in a Florida elementary school before boarding Air Force One for a complex and poorly-explained series of flights to random locations, and Vice President Dick Cheney, who was evacuated to an "undisclosed location" (which quickly became a cliché of political comedy).
Such criticism eventually gave rise to conspiracy theories, especially after Bush announced plans to intervene in Afghanistan (which at the time was harboring Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda's leadership) and later Iraq (which had no involvement at all in 9/11). This group of conspiracies, known collectively as the 9/11 "Truth" movement, makes varying assertions, most of which lay the culpability on Bush as either a plotter or enabler of the attack, and some of which implicitly or explicitly claim Jewish involvement in the attack, sometimes as part of an International Jewish conspiracy.
 Painful irony department
In a 2011 survey of 15- to 30-year-old men in Afghanistan's Kandahar and Helmand provinces by the International Council on Security and Development, 92% of those interviewed said that they had never heard of "this event which the foreigners call 9/11."
 Thirteen years later
There are 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 that are still classified; it is said that among the information contained in the documents (by those who viewed them) is which country played a role in complicity to the attacks. A bi-partisan bill, House Resolution 428, proposes to declassify these documents. It would be overdue by President Obama who promised this to the victim's families back in 2008.
What's likely holding it up is the foreign policy repercussions. It should not be surprising to anyone which country it is.
 Other events that happened on September 11
- The Battle of Vienna[wp] was fought between 11-12 September 1683, between the Ottoman Empire and a Christian alliance led by the Holy Roman Empire. Andrew Schlafly of all people suggests that this is directly related to the events of September 2001, but fails to explain why the apparent Muslim conspiracy took 318 years to materialise.
- It was on this day in 1973 that the military dictator Augusto Pinochet seized power in Chile from the democratically elected Salvador Allende. Arguably just as major an event, but hey, it was so long ago, and not in America, so nobody cares.
- A number of people were born. It depresses many of them to have their birthday fall on the same day as the anniversary of a large-scale terrorist attack.
- Protests against World Economic Forum, at Melbourne Crown Casino, September 11-13, 2000 (known at the time as S11).
- Nickelback's breakthrough album Silver Side Up,[wp] widely regarded as one of history's greatest atrocities, was released September 11, 2001.
- September 11th, 1957 saw a major plutonium fire at the Rocky Flats plant in Colorado. Plutonium dust caught fire and supposedly firefighters poured water on the fire, heedless of the danger of criticality (but there was no criticality).
 See also
- See the Wikipedia article on the Bojinka plot.
- See the Wikipedia article on the September 11, 2001 attacks.
- The Encyclopedia of 9/11, New York Magazine
- StoryCorps September 11th Initiative
- ↑ Some Palestinians celebrated the attack in refugee camps in Lebanon. Images of celebration from the BBC
- ↑ The remainder of the Pentagon held up quite well, because at the time it was constructed it was intended for use as a library, which requires a sturdier structure than an office building.
- ↑ WTC 7 contained several large tanks of diesel fuel stockpiled by New York City's emergency management agency, and the main towers were still on fire at the time of their collapses.
- ↑ Afghans Unfamiliar With 9/11, Survey Suggests, Huffington Post
- ↑ 9/11's secret 28-page history, Al Jazeera
- ↑ The Twenty-Eight Pages, The New Yorker