What if 9/11 never happened?

Posted on 2013-09-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-26
Yesterday got me thinking about this, what if 9/11 never happened? Where would the world be in regards to fighting terrorism? Would something else have happened by now? In other words, would some kind of massive terrorist attack on the US be inevitable?
Question by:Big Monty
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I'm not sure there's much good discussion available. Certainly, some other big thing could have happened. Or not. Some new big thing might happen next year, or not; in the U.S.A., or somewhere else.

As long as various societies go along as they have been, there will be conflicts. As long as no resolutions are reached, conflicts will be ongoing. Most people just choose not to know why things like 9/11 happen.

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BigRat earned 100 total points
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kind of massive terrorist attack on the US be inevitable?

Well to be honest, there hasn't been a MASSIVE terrorist attack on the US. The last massive attack was indeed Pearl Harbor. What actually happened was a retalitory attack by a very disgruntled Osama bin Laden and a few henchmen, followed by a few copy-cat actions and an awful lot of rhetoric and wishful thinking.

The reaction should have been an intelligent response, ie: the one which eventually eliminated OBL, but instead two countries were invaded and a great deal of islamophobia generated. The effect is now that where the US should intervene (again intelligently) she hesitates.

Now, was it inevitable? I suspect the answer is yes. Sooner or later somebody would have done something, perhaps not on that scale, for OBL was a very clever man. The US has always had a sort of moralizing foreign policy where she advocates and enforces things which she does not conform to herself - free trade being the best example. Whereas after WWII the Yank and his dollar was welcomed and respected everywhere, the US Middle east policy has alienated just about everybody around the globe.

That women are segregated to the back of the bus in most of Israel would be intolerable in any state of the union. But there has been an enormous amount of vitriol pour onto the Arab states about women being forced to wear veils (which is most countries they are not). There is almost a sort of apartheid going on with respect to Arab Israelis and West bankers, again ignored by the US public, enabling huge amounts of ecomonic aide to be poured into Israel without any insistance on change. For Israel is a middle east country and as such has to fit in with it's neighbours. In fact Israel is even a member of the European Broadcasting Organisation - no Arab country is. Israel sees itself as a European or western country, although its placement is contrary.

If one takes Switzerland, it is not a member of the EU, but it has many practical treaties which make life in and around the country tolerable. This is not the case in Israel. Now I agree that the Israeli's are not wholly to blame, for the war of 1948 caused great divisions. But these divisions have not been allowed to heal, primarily because the Israeli and US governments have not wanted it. The US and Russia have also played out the Cold war there as well. But no attempt was made to rehouse the misplaced persons from the 1948 war, in fact they rotted in the Lebanon for years until the little known Palestine Liberation Organisation made itself present by terrorists attacks in the seventies.

I have just finished reading a biography of Loard Salisbury, one time Britisg foreign secretary and prime minister, covering the period of the break up of the Ottoman empire in the Balkans. It is interesting to see how the Great Powers played out their own games to the detriment of the people involved. There were terrorist activities, assassinations, kidnappings, and massacres - just like in the middle east - until the countries were more of less formed and stable. But is only after the break up of the artificially created Yougoslavia (again Great Powers after WWII) and the resulting civil war, does one see any hope though the peaceful cooperation of nations within the EU, where borders and nationality don't count.
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by:Big Monty
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i disagree BR, i do consider it a "massive" attack. when close to 3000 people die, i consider that pretty massive. when 300 people die, i still consider that massive. sure, it was only carried out by a few people, but it's effects definitely altered the world and are still being felt today on so many different levels

<<<<<Most people just choose not to know why things like 9/11 happen.
this is such a disturbing thought to me, albeit true. People SHOULD want to know why these attacks take place (whether here in the USA or elsewhere in the world). Ignorance is bliss I guess.

I'm just surprised how many people have turned back to that way of thinking, which is how most people felt before the attacks occurred. Up to that point, there was this sense of invulnerability here in the USA, thinking that we as a country couldn't be hurt. It was that line of thinking that made us lax in our security, since then security has increased at least ten fold. I'm trying to envision what our lives would be like today if we still thought that way. No full body scanners at the airport? Less restrictions on items allowed on the plane, less islamiphobia?
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People SHOULD want to know why these attacks take place...

I agree, but how pleased would the majority be if they really understood how deviously we betrayed OBL and his religion. (At least, it should be clear how OBL saw it that way; and we were pretty devious about it.)

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Pearl harbor was a "massive" attack, counting on the number of Japanese that took part. The response to it was, unlike 9/11, intelligent, in that not having the heavy navy but a few carriers, the strategy of using these upfront supplied by jeep carriers revolutionised the war and lead ultimately to success. The post 9/11 strategy of making Afghanistan and then Iraq somehow "responsible" was literally a disaster.

Syria is another example of unintelligent handling. Instead of simply and quietly taking out Assad (or paying him into retirement) we make loud noises about retaliation and then stand there with egg on our faces when that all turns into huff and puff.

The US has had some appalling foreign policy gaffs in its history, things which the average American would be ashamed about, and that is probably why people surpress memories. My own opinion is that this stems from the system, where the State Department is effectively run by the executive and not the legisature. The responsibilty for foreign policy is in the hands of an essentially non-elected secretary of state, who reports solely to the president. Whereas in all the other G8 countries (and more) the "foreign minister" is an elected member of parlement. Foreign policy then tends to become a party matter and is therefore less whimsical.
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tliotta earned 100 total points
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...and that is probably why people surpress memories.

I have a personal 'pet' theory that I often go by. I generally feel that the vast majority of people in the Western 'civilized' parts of the world believe that the things that happened during their lifetimes (i.e., within their living memories) are the things that are real. And things that happened before then are just 'stories', not actually worth rational consideration. Many parts of the world have more of a feeling of connection to past generations and tend to consider the 'stories' more real.

That means that such historical periods as the terrorist actions by Jewish 'freedom fighters' before the modern establishment of the State of Israel are not relevant to how the current status came to be in Israel, Lebanon, 'Palestine, etc. It means that the earlier British, and later also American, treatment of Iran with its oil industry is not relevant to today. It means that Pearl Harbor was totally unjustified, while U.S.A. treatment of Japan, and other nations' treatments of the region in general, prior to that are not relevant.

It already seems that the cooperation between the U.S.A. and OBL in Afghanistan during the Afghani resistance of Soviet forces and the parallel buildup of non-Saudi military forces in and around Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia and related items are not seen as connected. Those all 'happened earlier' than 9/11, so they can't be relevant. (Of course, those evil Iraqis were to blame for that anyway.) It might be that it'll all soon be effectively forgotten if not already.

I.e., if it didn't happen in my lifetime, it essentially didn't happen.

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The responsibilty for foreign policy is in the hands of an essentially non-elected secretary of state...

Since few voters could make a reasoned choice, it seems almost certain that popular election would be worse. I can't imagine who voters might choose.

Regardless, essentially none of the G8 are any more 'elected' to the position than the U.S.A. Secretary of State. The fact that choices are limited to elected officials should pretty much guarantee a drastically reduced pool of talent and skill. The U.S.A. position has generally been more stable and predictable than any of the others.

And technically, foreign policy is the responsibility of the President. The Secretary of State can't do much without the President's agreement. The Secretary does the work of putting the (President's) Administration's policy into words, on paper and in speeches or testimonies before Congress.  And the Secretary of State is always approved by at least two-thirds of the Senators, i.e., by the representatives of the 50 States that make up the union. (If we could get away again from having Senators be popularly elected, we might get back to having decent Senators.)

The Secretary of State is often taken from some elected office, but the higher requirement is competency. There's no reason to think that being elected is related to competency in foreign policy. It could even be seen as counter-indicated, especially when better choices are not among active politicians.

Whereas in all the other G8 countries (and more) the "foreign minister" is an elected member of parlement. Foreign policy then tends to become a party matter and is therefore less whimsical.

I haven't seen evidence of that, the 'whimsy' element, that is. I see it more that the whimsy in policies of some other G8 nations acts more as a brake. Policies don't tend to build as much momentum. Swings tend to cancel each other out. In the U.S.A., the two-thirds requirement results in somewhat more of a consensus among all elected parties and of all States in the Union.

In the U.S.A., history has tended to keep much of foreign policy in reasonably steady directions, with obvious lurches such as the World Wars where specific changes were needed. It tends to follow profit. There is less whimsy to it. Regardless of the major party in power, behavior in and towards foreign nations stays fairly constant.

Rhetoric, especially during campaigns, might be subject to whimsy; but actual policy actions tend to remain fairly constant.

Except perhaps for Russia in the most recent decades and Japan, the other G8 nations haven't seemed to maintain any consistent foreign policy during the past 50 years. And if we go back much more than that, it's much more radical.

The U.S.A., though, seems about the same over much of the past century.

That's hardly saying that foreign policy has been particularly good. It's just been more consistent for good or bad.


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