Term Paper

Submitted By kguarnieri
Words: 2341
Pages: 10

The terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 had a profound impact on this nation’s government, security and people. The incensed citizens of this country demanded action and as a result, several different laws were passed. The centerpiece of these laws was the USA PATRIOT Act. The Patriot Act infringes the Constitution by lifting restraints on governmental interference on its citizens’ privacy and should have never been signed into law. 9/11 led to the passing of laws that violate the civil liberties of the people in this country. When discussing the Patriot Act, it is best to explain how it was signed into law. The Patriot Act was enacted as a response to the attacks of 9/11. al-Qaeda was the terrorist group responsible for the attacks which were led by an exceedingly wealthy man named Osama bin Laden. By the time he was an adult, the fortune inherited from his father’s construction company (The Saudi Bin Laden Group) was nearly $250 million (Frank 110). al-Qaeda is distinguishable from most other terrorist groups because they believe their mission is their God’s will. The main target on 9/11 was the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. Each tower consisted of 110 floors, including basements and underground parking garages. The North Tower was 1,722 feet tall, while the South Tower was 1,368 feet tall. The towers were built using 200,000 tons of steel, 425,000 cubic yards of concrete, and had a total of 43,600 windows (Frank 8). The terrorists hijacked four planes from northeastern US airports, and two of which were crashed into the towers (one plane per tower). They utilized small knives and box cutters as weapons to overtake the planes by wounding, or even killing the pilots and passengers (Frank 5-6). The severe impact of the crashes caused fires to burn inside the buildings at an uncontrollable level. At the impact zone, the fires reached a temperature of 2,000 degrees Celsius, which resulted in the melting of the steel columns that supported the buildings. The fires caused the floors in the towers to sag, pulling in on the main support beams. When the beams could bend no further, structural failure occurred in the buildings, which directly led to their collapse. The two remaining planes hijacked that day were both diverted towards Washington DC. One plane crashed into the Pentagon, causing a portion of the building to collapse. The final plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the passengers banded together and attempted to retake control of the plane. United Airlines flight 93 (the one that crashed in Pennsylvania) was intended to crash into the Capitol Building (Frank 8). There were no survivors from any of the four planes. A total of 2,996 people (including the 19 hijackers) died in the attacks (Frank 12). The primary reason behind the attacks was US support of Israel in Middle Eastern disputes and conflicts. This incited hatred of Americans in parts of the Arab world, especially within militant factions containing members of the former Mujahideen rebel group (Frank 73). This attack that was of such a massive scale had far-reaching effects. The stock market never opened that day and remained closed until September 17th, 2001. Eventually, when the market did reopen, it dropped over 680 points. By the closing of the first week that it was reopened, the market lost over 1360 points (Zanders). The destruction of physical assets was estimated in the national accounts to amount to $14 billion for private businesses, $1.5 billion for state and local government enterprises and $10.7 billion for the federal government. Rescue, cleanup and related costs have been estimated to amount to at least $11 billion. Lower Manhattan lost approximately 30% of its office space and scores of businesses disappeared, close to 200,000 jobs were destroyed or relocated out of New York City (Jackson). Airlines have lost a total of $55 billion since 2001, losses in revenue was made up