TheAl-Qaida attacks on America on September 11, 2001 remain a landmarkevent in the history of America. I interviewed two of my colleagues,Smith and Ashley, concerning their views in order to understand theimpact of the 9/11 attacks on security from different perspectives.The impact of the 9/11 attacks on America was varied depending onindividual’s outlook. Both Ashley and Smith agreed that the 9/11attacks increased American’s vulnerability. For several yearsbefore the attack, America had been the epitome of peace andtranquility. However, the attacks indicated that no citizen was safe,and the country could be attacked at any time. The massive deathsfollowing the attack raised insecurity as it instilled fear amongcitizens. Smith recalls developing phobia regarding air transportbecause of the implications of the attack.
Iwas intrigued by the varying response regarding my interviewees’view on the U. S response to the 9/11 attacks. Ashley felt that theresponse fostered a sense of unity. This is because of thetogetherness with which the Americans responded through prayers,blood donations, and fundraisers to help the afflicted. She alsostated that the move to increase security through thorough friskingand increased requirements for flying made her feel safer. Itenhanced her confidence in getting out of her house knowing that thepolice were on the lookout for her safety. Thus, she did not mindgiving up her privacy rights to enhance security. The fact that someof the suspects were captured also served to reassure her that thegovernment was handling the issue appropriately. On the other hand,Smith felt intimidated by the U.S response to the 9/11 attacks. Hefeels that the U.S was extreme in their response. For instance, theycaptured several innocent individuals and held themunconstitutionally. For several years, the suspects did not undergothe due court proceedings to determine whether they were guilty orinnocent. This was especially the case for men of Asian origin whocould be easily mistaken as Al-Qaida members or sympathizers.Further, Smith felt that the U.S response was an infringement on theconstitutional civil liberties. For instance, the increased friskingat each checkpoint abused the people’s privacy rights. This isironical since America boasts of its ability to uphold civilliberties and human rights at all times. This is irrespective of thegovernment’s justifications of the need to curtail some of theliberties (Pohlman, 2008).
Giventhese observations, it was not a surprise when Ashley cited thecreation of Homeland security as the most successful aspect of the U.S response. Ashley feels that such a department is able to protectcitizens from a repeat of 9/11 attacks by offering increasedsurveillance, providing anti-terrorism intelligence, improvingtransport security, and protecting U.S borders. Achieving these goalstranslates into lower vulnerability to attacks, and this in turnenhances security (Pohlman, 2008). Ashley believes that the term “Waron terrorism” is appropriate in this case, and all measures tocurtail terrorism are justifiable. On the other hand, Smith believesthat the only positive aspect of the U.S response to the 9/11 attackswas the instillation of a sense of unity and patriotism amongAmerican citizens.
Ashleyindicated her displeasure in the way the suspects were handled. Shecited Guantamano bay as an aspect of the U.S response that wascounterproductive. Holding the suspects indefinitely without chargingthem is inhuman and unjust. Every suspect has a constitutional rightto be tried and judged before being imprisonment. Ashley feels thatsecret prisons were counterproductive since they depicted the U.S ina negative light globally. On the other hand, Smith feels that thecreation of Homeland security was an unnecessary expenditure(Pohlman, 2008). It cost the government a lot of money to create andrun this department since it was made up of a large number of people.This increased the overall budget used to respond to the 9/11attacks, and this in turn threatened the economy of America at acritical moment in its history. Smith believes that other departmentsof the criminal justice department were already performing the dutiesperformed by homeland security. Further, he believes that homelandsecurity could not achieve all its goals due to limitations such ascivil liberties and state power. Smith also felt that the term “Waron terrorism” only serves to increase the fame of the terrorists.This was the case in the 9/11 attacks since Osama Bin Laden gained alot of fame and support following the attacks (Pohlman, 2008).
BothAshley and Smith believe that America is still vulnerable regardingsecurity. The calm and peace before the 9/11 attacks imply thatAmerica is never security proof at any pint. Increased surveillanceindicates that America is still cautious of other security attacks.The threat of terrorism has not been fully addressed and it remains amajor security concern in America. This is associated with theinability of the government to implement its reforms in a devolvednation. Thus, individuals still believe that America is vulnerable toattacks at any time. These views are representative of the differentviews of Americans regarding 2001 twin tower attacks. I believe thatthe U. S response enhanced security temporarily, but its negativeeffects outdid the positive effects. The response will remain a marin the Bush administration and the image of Americans for a longtime.
Pohlman,H. L. (2008). Terrorismand the constitution: The post-9/11 cases.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.