|Topics:||🗣️ Interview, Media Analysis, Terrorism, 🔫 Gun Control, 🔫 Gun Violence, 🚸 Public Policy|
The terror attacks in September 11, 2001 famously the 9/11 prompted the ‘War on Terror’ under George Bush’s administration. Four airlines that were hijacked by the nineteen terrorists, headed by Mohammed Atta were used to destroy the Twin Towers and other buildings in the World Trade Centre, as well as the Pentagon. This has created a great impact on security in the country particularly in airports. The 9/11 attacks led to the invasion of Afghanistan in an aim to destroy the Al Qaeda and oust the Taliban. After two years, the United States attacked Iraq and overthrew President Saddam Hussein. Subsequently, a detention center in Cuba called Guantanamo Bay was opened. Suspected terrorists were held indefinitely and denied trial and legal representation, and were subjected to torture.
In addition, there was massive deportation facilitated by the U.S Immigration and Customs Department which was formerly The Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S Customs Service. Security at the airport has been tightened. Passengers undergo through walk through detectors, and pat down searches. They are also required to carry a photo ID to pass through the screening checkpoints. The government also increased surveillance on phone and web in an effort to curb terrorism. This paper is an interview analysis of interviews conducted on five people to establish their views and perspectives on impact of 9/11.
The attack which left many people dead and several injured created a sense of fear among many Americans. All respondents agreed that they felt vulnerable. They grew skeptical of their neighbors, friends and even collogues at work. The attacks were a proof of the poor security in the country. In that view, most respondents were in agreement with the U.S response towards the attacks. A few years have passed and some noted the laxity in the security system and recommended that Americans need to be educated on how to respond to terrorist attacks. They felt that Invasion of the U. S military in Afghanistan and Iraq was a means to destroy the root cause of the attacks and eliminate them. The country budgets for defense agencies as well as the Border Patrol, Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration has increased exponentially.
However, few respondents were unsatisfied with the response and considered them tragic. According to the responses, the most effective and successful reaction has been increased security at the airports. Compliance through security checks to ensure safety despite the long queues and additional time has been witnessed. Consequently, several weapons, such as firearms, knives and box cutters have been confiscated. Most respondents orated that the least counterproductive measure was attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan with several innocent civilians especially children being killed or injured as a result.
Furthermore, the skyrocketed budget to fund the war would have been used to improve other services including health care and education. Thousands of military officers have been killed, injured or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Ironically, Americans agree on the term ‘War on Terror’. The definition of the term is general to the fight against terrorism rather than the actual war in Afghanistan and Iraq. A few respondents dissatisfied with the term suggested “Global war against terrorism’, because it seemed like a fight against humanity and not the terrorists that carried out the heinous crime. It is clear to most people that the ‘War on Terror’ cannot be terminated completely. Throughout history, there have been great wars in a bid to gain power, or influence certain political, social or religious ideologies. Terrorism is an evolution of such wars, thus, cannot be absolutely be won. As the terrorist leaders are eliminated, others arise to spread the same agenda.
The increased vigilance on people through the phone has raised concerns over the right to privacy and its violation. Several interviewees criticized the approach as bureaucratic and contravention of civil liberties. A few people found the approach necessary to protect Americans from potential terrorist attacks. Pertaining civil liberties, most agreed that it was also necessary to detain suspected terrorists because it would prevent them from spreading their agenda further. However, some felt that the detainees not only had a right to fair trial but also proper legal representation before conviction.
U.S has been put in the spotlight for that the conditions at Guantanamo Bay do not meet fair trial standards by the United Nations Committee. The U.S allies such as the United Kingdom has also criticized U.S that the rights of the detainees are being breached. Some organizations are calling upon the administration to close down the institution, conduct fair trials for the prisoners and ensure that the crimes against them are investigated and accounted for.
After 9/11, the government promptly put measures that made the interviewers feel that they safer. However, they are filled with paranoia, anxiety and suspicion. People were attacked while carrying out their daily activities, when they least expected. Regardless of the strict mechanisms put in place to prevent similar attacks, respondents felt there is still a gap in the security. There are individuals in society who are driven by the same political agenda and may promote domestic terrorism. The current gun laws seem less stringent.
U.S is known as a country of immigrants. In light of the interview conducted, it was established that the country is rich with people from different races, religion, culture and beliefs. However, most Americans do not believe that different religious practices would enrich the cultural practices of the country. Most admit that they feared Muslims. In that view, the events of 9/11 has decreased the interaction with Muslims. One respondent, a Muslim, expressed the discrimination faced in his daily life. Many Muslims are now targeted and are vulnerable to hate crimes.
In summary, this interview shed light on the challenges faced by most Americans post the 9/11 attacks. Personally I knew that many were paranoid but the magnitude is more intense than I anticipated. The terrorist attacks led to about 3000 deaths and injuries, destruction of infrastructure and economic loss. I understand the measures taken by the government to increase security in the country. The measures taken at the border of the country and airports were necessary to ensure safety not only against terrorism but also other forms of crime. During the overhaul, it was established that the number of air marshals were reduced and incompetent workers were in charge of screening passengers at the airport. The security officers need to be trained because they get into first contact with the terrorists.
This interview was an eye opener that innocent civilians particularly children are the major casualties of the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ‘War on Terror’ has led to a wave of criticism from other countries called ‘Anti-Americanism’. A lot of money has been pumped in funding the war leading to destabilization of the world economy. Despite many troops being killed or injured, and others suffering from mental illness, the war has created employment opportunities and withdrawing them from is likely to lead to poverty. Crime carried out by highly trained people is also likely to escalate from such a scenario.
The interview also enlightened me on the level of discrimination faced by Muslims. They are hurled insults and profanities by the community. After the attacks, people perception about Islam changed and view it as a religion of terror. I am sympathetic to American Muslims and the hate they face every day. I believe more interaction with them, educating other citizens on the importance of tolerance would be a solution to the problem.
As most of my respondents I also disagree with the unlawful detention of suspected terrorists. This is against the human rights. The criminals should be allowed fair trial and legal representation. Officers in charge that involve themselves in torture to retrieve information and held accountable of their actions.
- Taylor, A. and Steedman, S. (2017). The Evolution of Airline Security Since 9/11 – International Foundation for Protection Officers. [online] International Foundation for Protection Officers. Available at: http://www.ifpo.org/resource-links/articles-and-reports/protection-of-specific-environments/the-evolution-of-airline-security-since-911/ [Accessed 8 Oct. 2017].