A devastating event that would forever alter our everyday lives. On September 11, 2001-a day that will never be forgotten- the United States experienced one of the worst terrorist attacks. 19 radicalist associated with al-Qaeda carried out a suicide attack at the world trade center, pentagon and pennsylvania killing approximately 3,000 people. (9/11 attack) Out of the three attacks, the planes that flew into the twin towers at the world trade center in New York City was the most destructive. The whole nation was in a state of shock as many watched the horrific event happening on live television. The smoke coming out of the buildings, people jumping out of windows in desperate hopes of escaping the fire, and people crying on the streets as they watch everything happen. It called for a time of togetherness and support for one another. Although it is its 16th year anniversary, we can still see its effect today. Americans perspective changed on muslims, creation of homeland security and the constant war on terror are some of the long lasting effects the 9/11 attack had on America.
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It’s no question that 9/11 changed Americans perspective on muslims in a negative way. According to Ohio State University’s nation poll, about 20% of americans said they are unwilling to have a muslim friend (Sirota). It increased by more than double from previous poll which was 9%. They have also concluded more Americans are likely to oppose restrictions on muslim Americans. Although the dictionary definition of terrorism is “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims, its connotation has changed. Now people think of terrorism as a violent act that is committed by muslims. For example the travel ban, also known as the muslim ban, is a bill that allows the president to stop “certain groups of people from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States” (Lind). According to Jennifer Williams, “Between 2001 and 2015, more Americans were killed by homegrown right-wing extremists than by Islamist terrorists”,( Lind) This shows that we automatically associate muslims with terrorists activities but when an American does a horrific act we usually oversee it as a mental issue. According to polls conducted by Reuters/Ipsos, with nearly a majority of the poll, 49 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed with the ban, while 41 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” disagreed and ten percent of them were undecided (Giaritelli). More people decide for it than against it which shows Americans view on muslims and their civil liberties.
Like the travel ban, the U.S has many agencies and bills that help with the overall safety and security of the country. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are amongst the 22 agencies under Homeland Security which was created in 2002 under president Bush. Homeland security was created as a direct aftermath of the terrorist attack. These agencies have become a part of an everyday American lives when traveling, dealing with cyber security issues or simply a natural disaster. According to Homeland security’s yearbook of immigration statistics, after 9/11 deportation doubled, from 200,000 before the attack to 400,000 (Green). The transportation Security Administration has changed the way people traveled forever. Before 9/11 and homeland security was created, liquid was allowed on flights and full body scanners were like science fiction. Now, we have occasional pat-downs, full body scans, thorough search on people and their belongings. That used to be done by private companies of the airport but now that is a federal responsibility. Now it has grown so much that not only do they try to prevent terrorist attacks but they also prepare for any man-made or natural disasters.
The most important long lasting effect of 9/11 is how the war on terror affected the country in many aspects. In 2001, same year as the attack, President Bush declared war in Afghanistan to find justice on Osama Bin Laden. A year later, he declared war on Iraq for mass destruction. This has been one of the longest wars as it only came to an end in 2011. According to a study by “The Balance”, U.S economy section, the cost of the two wars for homeland security is approximately $1.146 trillion under Bush, 807 billion under Obama, and budgeted 156 billion under Trump (Amadeo). In total it was $ 2.126 trillion, a big increase in spending, which resulted in the U.S debt crisis increase. This war on terror is still an ongoing fight as terrorism seems to be never ending. In may of 2011 the leader of the Al-Qaeda group that was behind the attack, Osama bin Laden, was confirmed dead. The U.S SEALS six team under President Obama, were able to successfully find and kill the terrorist leader. The countries deep involvement in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq have created an even bigger problem like ISIS.
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ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The creators of ISIS focused mainly on the unwanted involvement of the U.S in the middle east. They have made propaganda videos saying just that and have been able to recruit many including American citizens. According to research from the New America foundation, ISIS has claimed 7 attacks in the U.S that lead to 82 deaths. The director of counterterrorism, Nick Rasmussen, expressed his concern about the growing number of recruited ISIS American members and stated according to the U.S intelligence “150 American citizen and residents have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria’s foreign fighters”(Alfred). It’s not only people who travel to Syria that have become a concern but especially those who living on U.S soil and fully support the beliefs of ISIS. Myre of the two-way breaking news stated “Virtually all the deadly attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, have been carried out by homegrown extremists”. Now the effort is not just war on terror in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq but also to stop Americans from joining or committing such an act.
One thing we can’t forget, the soldiers. Because of this long war on terror, there have been thousands dead and many suffering physical or mental issues. In total, there were 2 million deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. According to U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, 6,000 soldiers were dead and 44,000 were wounded. (Green) From those 18% of them suffered from Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) and about 20% suffered from Traumatic brain injury(TBI). The war on terror would not just affect the veterans but their families too.
Many would have never imagined that the 9/11 attacks would still affect everyday lives 16 years later but it surely is. President Bush handled the attack well by taking action and creating Homeland Security and declaring war on terror in efforts to protect the country in the future. Security has become so much tighter at so many places especially when traveling. Many places around the country have emergency preparedness plans in place for all types of disasters because of the agencies under Homeland Security. A big accomplishment was made on Bush’s war on terror when the SEAL 6 successfully killed Osama Bin Laden under president Obama. The war on terror has been ongoing ever since the 9/11 attack and will continue until terrorism is stopped. The war on terror affected the economy negatively, changed America’s perspective on muslims and caused physical and mental injuries to many soldiers. The biggest problem it created is ISIS which doesn’t like U.S involvement in the middle east. Although 9/11 had many negative impacts, it did not break the country but unite and make it stronger.
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