US Foreign Policy in the Post-9/11 World

Authored by: Robert J. Pauly

The Ashgate Research Companion to US Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  December  2009
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754648628
eBook ISBN: 9781315613727
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041177

10.4324/9781315613727.ch13

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Abstract

On 11 September 2001, American perceptions of security threats within the territory of the United States underwent a change as fundamental as it was devastating. That morning, the al-Qaeda transnational terrorist organization prosecuted the costliest attack against the United States at home in American history. At the behest of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, 19 Middle Eastern men hijacked four US commercial airliners, which they then directed into targets in New York City and near Washington, DC. Two of the planes flew into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center in New York, causing the eventual collapse of those structures, a third hit the Pentagon on the outskirts of Washington in Arlington, Virginia, and a fourth crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after a heroic group of crew members and passengers attempted to retake the aircraft from the hijackers. Collectively, the attacks resulted in the loss of nearly 3,000 lives, the vast majority of which were those of civilians from the United States and other countries around the world.

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