News and events are updated regularly
|North America's First|
Vol. I Number 4
THE TRAGEDY IN AMERICA
Attack on America… USA under Attack… The Siege of America … A Day of
Infamy… America’s Day of Terror
… America under Siege…- these have been on TV screens all over the world
since September 11, 2001 8.45 a.m. EST. This
was to be the day of the biggest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
minutes before the first jet slammed into the World Trade Center, United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement that September 11 marked the
20th anniversary of the UN's International Day of Peace. "The International
Day of Peace should be a day of global ceasefire and non-violence," he
day on which we try to imagine a world quite different from the one we know”.
this was not what Mr. Annan intended. A
day of peace? However, we
did learn the world is different -- scarier and more evil. An hour or so after
that, the UN's workforce of 12,000 was
being evacuated from its New York headquarters.
a beautiful autumn day in New York, the havoc of war made its most spectacular
appearance on the American mainland since the 1860s.
World Trade Center was demolished by two hijacked planes, the third crashed into
the Pentagon, and the fourth in the countryside – with thousands dead.
streets looked as if they had been dressed for a scene for the movie “The Day
After”, which during the height of the cold war, told of the aftermath of a
nuclear attack on the United States. The windows of stores facing the towers
were smashed in. Around the corner on Broadway, the spire of St. Paul's Chapel
protruded defiantly, as had the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral during the London
Blitz, in the movie.
only notable attack on the United States at home took place during the War of
1812, when British troops burned down the White House. The
only time continental USA was attacked from the air before September 11 was in
1942 during World War II. A Japanese plane managed to drop incendiary bombs near
Brookings, Oregon, in an attempt to set fire to the forests. The plane, piloted
by Nobuo Fujita, dropped more bombs 20 days later. Both raids were unsuccessful.
is only one event in modern American history comparable in scale and impact to
the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon: that is the
bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, when Japan attacked the American
Pacific Fleet and sank many ships.
attack of this scale on the American homeland is something new in U.S. history.
Unlike the Europeans, the Chinese, the Russians and the Japanese, Americans came
out of the calamitous 20th century without suffering a single major attack on
their cities and towns.
peculiar blessing of this continent is that terrible disasters have always been
what happen in distant lands. War and famine and pestilence are the stuff of far
away. With rare exception, we have been sheltered.
years after Pearl Harbor, the United States may finally find that it cannot
always beat the world's horrors back to other shores,” wrote John
Gray in The Globe and Mail.
senseless slaughter of civilians, until now, had always happened somewhere else.
Now the horror has hit home. Henceforth, America will also bear those scars that
have always been the burden of others. Whatever we may eventually learn about
the catastrophes that were visited on the United States, we know that has all
Age of Irony died yesterday. Some events change history, some change lives. This
will change us. We will be different people from this day; our values, our
attitudes; our very personalities will change, as happens with survivors of
disasters. For we are all survivors today, all of us, in every part of the free
world”, wrote Andrew Coyne in the National Post.
the deed was so painstakingly planned, the date chosen had to be symbolic.
September 11 marked the day in 1996 when the man who assassinated Israel Premier
Itzhak Rabin at a Tel Aviv peace rally was convicted. It was the date that
Chile's Communist leader Salvadore Allende was overthrown and murdered with the
help of Washington's CIA. On this day in 1940, that the Germans scored a direct
hit on Britain's ultimate symbol, Buckingham Palace. It was also on September
11, 1922 that
a British mandate was proclaimed in Palestine, over the protests of Arabs.
11, 2001 will mark the day that shook the confidence of many Americans who
believed that they lived in the greatest, strongest and most powerful nation on
former New York police commissioner, Ray Kelly, remarked "We have relied
for years on the relative lack of sophistication of terrorists." America
has the assumption that the industrially successful are superior in all ways has
across Canada stood in shock and watched the terrorist chaos unfold in the
United States. Fear of the unknown -- and the fear that more devastation was to
come -- became so powerful that many people simply stood rooted in front of any
available television set or radio to glean information. Will it lead to Third
World War? Will there be conscription?
one knew yesterday how many were killed or injured, but given that 50,000 people
work in the World Trade Center on any given day -- not including visiting
tourists -- the toll could surpass Pearl Harbor's 3,500.
a worst case, it might even surpass the worst death toll in U.S. military
history. That day was Sept. 17, 1862, when 20,000 died in the Civil War's Battle
of Antietam. That, of course, was a fight among Americans.
is the obituary of the World Trade Center (1970-2001). Minoru Yamasaki, the
Seattle-born architect, who designed the World Trade Center, said this about his
master work: "The World Trade Center buildings in New York . . . had a
bigger purpose than just to provide room for tenants. The World Trade Center is
a living symbol of man's dedication to world peace.”
hindsight, the World Trade Center's vulnerability is obvious. What could be a
more effective bomb than a giant kamikaze plane, attacking with a split second's
notice, killing the crew and passengers too? Isn’t it ironic that the
terrorists' airline of choice was American Airlines and United Airlines?
drives home the point that civil aviation is still one of the most vulnerable
entry routes for terrorists to engage in mass attacks," said Paul Wilkinson
at the Center for Studies in Terrorism in Washington, adding this is the first
time the flying bomb suicide weapon has been used since the Second World War
when Japanese kamikaze pilots crashed their planes into U.S. warships.
Wark, a professor of international relations specializing in intelligence
services at the University of Toronto, called the attacks the worst intelligence
failure in history. He immediately compared them to the Japanese surprise attack
on Pearl Harbor in 1941, but he said there was one important difference.
1941 [the United States] had a handful of agencies and a small budget. Nowadays
they have the largest intelligence community in the world with a budget of about
Central Intelligence Agency, the Defence Intelligence Agency and the National
Security Agency, Prof Wark said, will be asked why they didn't know about the
attack in advance. “Was it so secret they just didn't know? Or did they have
information and not believe it? The U.S. will pore over this issue and I think
they will come to the conclusion they should have known.”
is not just a day of infamy, this is a tragedy,” said Dana Rohrabacher, a
Californian Republican, echoing the words of President Roosevelt, used after the
surprise 1941 Japanese attack. “It’s probably the biggest intelligence
blunder in any of our lifetimes”.
Aurel Braun, at U of T, said the United States is not used to being attacked.
“They mistakenly assumed immunity to such a threat,” he said. “It's not
arrogance. It's a human type of feeling. No one wants to believe someone else
wishes to totally destroy them.”
am not surprised there was an attack… I am surprised at the size of the
attack”, said Bob Graham, Chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee.
is a total war. I think this is a wake-up call for America”, said Sen Richard
Shelby of Alabama.
This attack has emphasised the vulnerability of all modern societies. Almost all aspects of the infrastructure are open to attack. Skyscrapers, in Milan or Hong Kong as much as in London or New York, are inherently vulnerable buildings. Even teenage computer hackers can disrupt the Internet.
US treated counter-terrorism as a local concern, not a global policy. The
fight against terrorism can succeed only if it is sustained, coordinated and on
a global scale. At the end of the day, any distinction between ‘‘good’’
terrorism and ‘‘bad’’ terrorism is untenable. Terrorism of any kind is
world's response must be to grow adamant that terrorism cannot triumph. It is
every nation's duty to strike back by joining an anti-terrorism campaign beyond
anything previously mounted. All countries must join, and all must condemn those
who do not. With this act of horror, terrorists have cemented their demise.