It was 8:44 am on the 11th of September 2001, a regular Tuesday morning. A date no one would even think of if it had not been marked red and black with the series of events that went down after 8:45 am. 9/11, a date too familiar; the day when 4 planes were hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorist groups as they targeted and attacked the United States. Don’t we all ask ourselves, “Why did this happen?”, “How could we have prevented this?”, “How could we have saved 3000 innocent lives?”, and perhaps even “What if this never happened?” What if 9/11 never happened?

The most obvious thought that comes to mind when one wonders if 9/11 never happened, is that the world would have been a better place. No innocent lives lost, no families destroyed and no one living in fear. The events that took place on 9/11 involved 19 extremist Al Qaeda terrorists carrying out suicide attacks and hijacking four passenger airlines – American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93, and United Airlines Flight 175. Two planes crashed into the 80th and 60th floor of the World Trade Centre one after the other. The third one crashed into the headquarters of the US Department of Defence, the Pentagon, and the last one was aimed to crash somewhere in Washington DC, the suspected target being the White House or some nuclear power plant (remains unidentified), but ended up crashing into a rural area in Pennsylvania. 

Well if 9/11 never happened, the twin buildings of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon would still be standing structures in the US, the rural area of Shanksville would not have been compromised and left in a pile of debris, 3000 people would not have died, 25000 people would not have been left injured, and a 10 billion dollars’ worth of money could have been directed towards better spending instead of trying to salvage the attacks. The attacks of September 11 didn’t just leave its impact till 2001 or 2002, but left behind months of repairs to be done, empty families, and a world full of terror.

But, even if 9/11 never happened, there would have been a terrorist attack elsewhere at another point of time. The Al Qaeda group would have targeted the US, planning some other sequence of events and the calendar would have been marked on some other date. Who’s to say if something similar were to have happened in the near future, how better or worse the situation could have been. The Islamic terrorist group, led by Osama Bin Laden, would have planned to terrorize the world on a 4/15 or a 6/21. Then the number nine-one-one would just be the emergency line in the US. But, what else would have been different if 9/11 never happened?

It was a complete shock to the world how a group of just 19 men were able to take over 4 flights in one of the most protected and resourceful countries. The possibility and ease of flight hijacks were brought to light due to 9/11. The terrorists were able to carry heavy weaponry to the hijacked planes to control the passengers and crew members, and they were neither caught at the airport nor did they fail within the flights. It was after 9/11 that the US changed the entire security system for airlines and airports. Analysing everything that happened during the terrorist attacks, airport security was increased by leaps and bounds, ensuring luggage as well as full-body security searches with identification proof check. Airport security was not only increased in the US but adopted by various countries around the world. The most significant change is the increase in the number of air marshals. The main damage was done because of what happened within the flights. Air Marshals are officials who are present on almost every passenger flight; they are allowed to carry a gun and arrest anyone whom they find suspicious enough. If there had been someone who could have stopped or incapacitated those terrorists in the flight, things would have gone differently. The air marshal’s identity is kept anonymous to ensure he isn’t targeted by criminals; no one knows who the air marshal is in the flight. It was after the attacks of 9/11 that the number of air marshals was increased, trying to ensure there was at least one on every passenger flight. If 9/11 never happened, the airlines and airports would still have been left vulnerable to attacks to a much later date than September 2001. 

Trucks, courier services, postal services, etc. were used to transport weaponry on land and make it available to the 19 terrorists. If 9/11 never happened, the logistics wouldn’t have been renewed and strengthened, security checks wouldn’t have been imposed and the cargoes would not have been bothered to check for bombs and weaponry. With the check on the cargo, there has been a significant reduction in not only terrorism but also drug consumption and violence. And well lastly, if 9/11 never happened, the killing of Osama Bin Laden would have happened much later or perhaps, never. Being the leader of the Al Qaeda group that was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, Bin Laden had become the prime target of the US government forces and it was about 10 years later in 2011, that Osama was killed in a CIA led operation. 

The attacks of 9/11 and the ones that were happening since before that were all result of terrorism spread by Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. This particular attack on the US met with revolts against such activities. Prevention and caution were not the actions that were to be taken after 9/11, there was a dire need to eradicate such terrorist groups and criminals. Not only did the US increase and improve homeland security, but they were also determined to end such terrible possibilities in the future. It was after the 9/11 attacks that the UN Security Council included tasks to eradicate terrorism and saw terrorism as a major problem. If 9/11 never happened, the UN would not have been involved in aiming to incapacitate the training and funding of international terrorist groups and their activities. 

Yes, the attacks of 9/11 were a symbol of terrorism and one of the deadliest attacks in history. But if 9/11 never happened, the reduction in terrorism, later on, would perhaps not have been possible to the same extent. We can never undo what’s been done in the past, but we can learn from history and attempt to make the future brighter.

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Article published by History.com on 25/08/2015 – September 11 Attacks – https://www.history.com/topics/21st-century/9-11-attacks 
  2. Article published by The Washington Post on 11/09/11 – A world without 9/11 – https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-world-without-911-no-president-obama-more-china-trouble-same-debt-crisis/2011/08/29/gIQA8VkuCK_story.html
  3. Article published by The Heritage Foundation on 13/11/19 – What if 9/11 Never Happened? – https://www.heritage.org/terrorism/commentary/what-if-911-never-happened 

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