September 11, 2001 attacks
For in the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.Baba Dioum
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This page is for quotes related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath.
- Quotations of relevant statements made prior to the attacks.
- Should terrorists launch new attacks, we believe their preferred targets will be U.S. Government facilities and national symbols, financial and transportation infrastructure nodes, or public gathering places. Civil aviation remains a particularly attractive target in light of the fear and publicity that the downing on an airline would evoke.
- National Intelligence Estimate (1995), contained in the 9/11 Commission Report (2004) p.54
- The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.
- The pieces of the bodies of infidels were flying like dust particles. If you would have seen it with your own eyes, you would have been very pleased, and your heart would have been filled with joy.
September 11, 2001
- Quotations of statements made during the events of September 11th, 2001.
- Something is wrong. We are in a rapid descent... we are all over the place. ... I see water. I see buildings. We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low. ... Oh my God, we are way too low... Oh my God! Oh my God.
- What do I tell the pilots to do?
- Are you guys ready? Let's roll.
- They're coming.
- Translation of a statement in Arabic reportedly heard in radio transmissions at the end of United flight 93.
- Public responses of victims, officials, terrorists and commentators.
- This enemy attacked not just our people, but all freedom-loving people everywhere in the world. The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient, we will be focused, and we will be steadfast in our determination.... we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms.
- September 11 was, and remains, above all an immense human tragedy. But September 11 also posed a momentous and deliberate challenge not just to America but to the world at large. The target of the terrorists was not only New York and Washington but the very values of freedom, tolerance and decency which underpin our way of life.
- I'm fighting so I can die a martyr and go to heaven to meet God. Our fight now is against the Americans.
- It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment. Until then, America thought she was witnessing nothing more serious than the worst aviation disaster in history; now she had a sense of the fantastic vehemence ranged against her. ... For those thousands in the south tower, the second plane meant the end of everything. For us, its glint was the worldflash of a coming future.
Terrorism is political communication by other means. The message of September 11 ran as follows: America, it is time you learned how implacably you are hated. United Airlines Flight 175 was an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile aimed at her innocence. That innocence, it was here being claimed, was a luxurious and anachronistic delusion.
- A week after the attack, one is free to taste the bile of its atrocious ingenuity. It is already trite — but stringently necessary — to emphasise that such a mise en scène would have embarrassed a studio executive's storyboard or a thriller-writer's notebook ("What happened today was not credible," were the wooden words of Tom Clancy, the author of The Sum of All Fears). And yet in broad daylight and full consciousness that outline became established reality: a score or so of Stanley knives produced two million tons of rubble.
- This moment was the apotheosis of the postmodern era — the era of images and perceptions. Wind conditions were also favourable; within hours, Manhattan looked as though it had taken 10 megatons.
- The bringers of Tuesday's terror were morally "barbaric", inexpiably so, but they brought a demented sophistication to their work. They took these great American artefacts and pestled them together. Nor is it at all helpful to describe the attacks as "cowardly". Terror always has its roots in hysteria and psychotic insecurity; still, we should know our enemy. The firefighters were not afraid to die for an idea. But the suicide killers belong in a different psychic category, and their battle effectiveness has, on our side, no equivalent. Clearly, they have contempt for life. Equally clearly, they have contempt for death.
Their aim was to torture tens of thousands, and to terrify hundreds of millions. In this, they have succeeded.
- Violence must come; America must have catharsis. We would hope that the response will be, above all, non-escalatory. It should also mirror the original attack in that it should have the capacity to astonish. A utopian example: the crippled and benighted people of Afghanistan, hunkering down for a winter of famine, should not be bombarded with cruise missiles; they should be bombarded with consignments of food, firmly marked LENDLEASE — USA.
- Our best destiny, as planetary cohabitants, is the development of what has been called "species consciousness" — something over and above nationalisms, blocs, religions, ethnicities. During this week of incredulous misery, I have been trying to apply such a consciousness, and such a sensibility. Thinking of the victims, the perpetrators, and the near future, I felt species grief, then species shame, then species fear.
- If inciting people to do that is terrorism, and if killing those who kill our sons is terrorism, then let history be witness that we are terrorists.
- Not only were the media bombarding us all the time with talk about the terrorist threat; this threat was also obviously libidinally invested — just remember the series of movies from Escape from New York to Independence Day. That is the rationale of the often-mounted association of the attacks with Hollywood disaster movies: the unthinkable which happened was the object of fantasy, so that, in a way, America got what it fantasized about, and that was the biggest surprise.
- September 11 was a day of de-Enlightenment. Politics stood revealed as a veritable Walpurgis Night of the irrational. And such old, old stuff. The conflicts we now face or fear involve opposed geographical arenas, but also opposed centuries or even millennia. It is a landscape of ferocious anachronisms: nuclear jihad in the Indian subcontinent; the medieval agonism of Islam; the Bronze Age blunderings of the Middle East. ... The champions of militant Islam are, of course, misogynists, woman-haters; they are also misologists — haters of reason. Their armed doctrine is little more than a chaotic penal code underscored by impotent dreams of genocide. And, like all religions, it is a massive agglutination of stock response, of cliches, of inherited and unexamined formulations.
- Like all "acts of terrorism" (easily and unsubjectively defined as organised violence against civilians), September 11 was an attack on morality: we felt a general deficit. Who, on September 10, was expecting by Christmastime to be reading unscandalised editorials in the Herald Tribune about the pros and cons of using torture on captured "enemy combatants"? Who expected Britain to renounce the doctrine of nuclear no-first-use? Terrorism undermines morality. Then, too, it undermines reason. ... No, you wouldn't expect such a massive world-historical jolt, which will reverberate for centuries, to be effortlessly absorbed. But the suspicion remains that America is not behaving rationally — that America is behaving like someone still in shock.
- What happened on September 11? On September 11 — what happened? Picture this: two upended matchboxes, knocked over by the sheer force of paper-darts.
Only it was much, much worse than that. In fact, words alone cannot adduce how much worse it was than that. September 11 was an attack on words: we felt a general deficit. And with words destroyed, we had to make do, we had to bolster truth with colons and repetition: not only repetition: but repetition and: colons. This is what we adduce.
- Every Muslim, from the moment they realize the distinction in their hearts, hates Americans, hates Jews and hates Christians. For as long as I can remember, I have felt tormented and at war, and have felt hatred and animosity for Americans.
- As quoted in Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden (2005) by Bruce Lawrence ISBN 1844670457
- Five years have come, and five years have gone, and still we stand together as one. We come back to this place to remember the heartbreaking anniversary — and each person who died here — those known and unknown to us, whose absence is always with us.
- Michael Bloomberg, NYC Mayor (September 11, 2006) Sept. 11, 5 years later: 'We stand together'
- 9-11Commission.gov - 'National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States' (Official Website – archived)
- 911DigitalArchive.org - 'September 11 Digital Archive: Saving the Histories of September 11th, 2001' (in partnership with the Library of Congress)
- 911 Investigations - Repository of documents relating to the 9/11 attacks and War on Terrorism
- BBC News - 'America's Day of Terror'
- Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding 9/11
- Memory.loc.gov - 'September 11, 2001, Documentary Project', The Library of Congress
- TheMemoryHole.org - New York Fire Department audio tapes from September 11 2001.
- WCBS-TV September 11th Remembered
- NY1.com - New York One News Television, 'World Trade Center Special Section' (June 7, 2005)
- September 11, 2001 Newspaper Articles Archive - More than 15,000 free newspaper articles related to the 9/11/2001 attacks.
- Washington Post - 'Terrorists Unleash Assault on US'
- Open Directory - September 11, 2001
- Plane Hits Pentagon
- 9/11 Timeline - Chronology of events according to 9/11 Commission Report presented in 4-way split screen.
- CNN.com - Video archive, including the first and second planes.
- Inside 9/11 - National Geographic
- Defense Department Releases Two Videos of Flight 77 Crashing Into Pentagon. Retrieved on 2006-07-30.
- New York 1 channel coverage
- Time.com - 'Shattered: a remarkable collection photographs', James Nachtwey
- Various TV news coverage on Putfile.com
- Memories of the attack (see flashbulb memory)
- Slate's The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón
- CNN September 11 memorial - List of victims, and photos.
- CNN.com - 'In-Depth Special: War Against Terror Damage report from the city of New York'
- MemoryArchive - 9/11 Memoirs
- NewYorkMetro.com - 9/11 by the Numbers: Death, destruction, charity, salvation, war, money, real estate, spouses, babies, and other September 11 statistics', New York Times
- Why the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Won't Go Away, Turns out, we need grand theories to make sense of grand events, or the world just seems too random – TIME, Sunday, Sep. 3, 2006
- Setting the Record Straight, A lack of identifiable plane wreckage, among other anomalies, has helped fuel skepticism about the official explanation of Sept. 11 damage to the Pentagon, left. Here's more on that debate and a few other Internet-fueled conspiracy theories that still thrive – TIME, Sunday, Sep. 3, 2006
- Conspiracy theories at PrisonPlanet.com
- Rumors of War - Reality checks on elements of conspiracy theories at Snopes.com