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Terrorist Calculus Behind 9-11: A Model for Future Terrorism?

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Volume: 26 Issue: 1 Dated: January-February 2003 Pages: 1-16
Brigitte L. Nacos
Bruce Hoffman
Date Published
January 2003
16 pages
This article investigates the question of whether the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside of Washington, DC in 2001 were successful from the perspective of bin Laden and the Al Qaeda group.
Terrorists have used suicide attacks long before the senseless September 11 killing of about 3,000 Americans and foreign nationals in New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. However, it is not far fetched to think that the idea of the calculus behind the September 11 attack serves as a model for future terrorism, if the operation was and continues to be deemed successful by groups and individuals already involved in or considering political violence. This article explores whether the terror of September 11 was successful from the terrorist perspective and to what extent did bin Laden and his followers realize or further their various objectives or fail at their objectives. From a terrorists’ point of view the attack on America was a perfectly choreographed production aimed at American and international audiences. Those behind the September 11 attack were successful in exploiting the news media for their publicity goals and somewhat in advancing some of their short-term political objectives. However, they did not realize their ultimate desire to provoke a cataclysmic clash between Muslims and Americans. Nevertheless, it is argued that from the terrorist perspective the suicide terror of September 11 was successful in many ways and could become an attractive model for future terrorism. 38 Notes