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Talk:9-11 Attack/Archive 1

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Is this the best title for this article? Looking at the redirects already creates, other options would be "September 11th terrorist attack", or "September 11, 2001 attacks", and the plural (or singular) of the existing title or the options. My personal preference would be September 11, 2001 attack or September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda attack, but it's not a strong preference. I do think the title should be singular, as it was one coordinated effort.

There are at least a couple of naming questions: How should the group, and its leader, be referred to? The article inconsistently uses al Qaeda and al-Qaeda, and uses Usama bin Ladin, even though almost everyone other than the U.S. government uses "Osama" rather than "Usama". Anthony Argyriou 13:12, 6 July 2007 (CDT)

very good points! I prefer the "9-11" variation as more pointed than "Spetember 11" (it downplays the month -- also because 911 is the emergency phone #). Yes, "Osama" is better and I will change that. Richard Jensen 15:56, 6 July 2007 (CDT)
I'd prefer "9/11" to "9-11", but that messes with the mediawiki software. It'll be nice to see a good article here without having to constantly chase off the conspiracy theorists like they do at Wikipedia. Anthony Argyriou 16:52, 6 July 2007 (CDT)
I think the plural sounds better than the singular, but it's definitely better to use "September 11" rather than "9-11". Carl Jantzen 09:08, 12 July 2007 (CDT)


Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds of civility. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.)

Is there anyway we can clean this up to meet standards? Denis Cavanagh 04:12, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

This article requires extensive modification to several sections, including the (unintentionally hilarious) 'World Response' section. I would like to quote "...The world had been accustomed to long-winded speeches about the need for actions which everyone knew would never happen. Now there was action, and the world stood in awe of America's vast military power unleashed with cold fury..." - this section, from 12th July 2007, seems to be satire. John Stephenson 04:48, 25 July 2007 (CDT)


I like Satire with the best of them but this I feel, was not deliberate satire. It needs to be cleaned up. Denis Cavanagh 05:43, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

International Law and Iraq

Several places, this article says that the attack on Iraq was against international law. This is, at best, debateable. The United States had the authority to enforce the Gulf War ceas-fire, and an invasion of Iraq and removal of the Ba'ath regime was justified by Iraqi violations of the cease-fire. Anthony Argyriou 14:41, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Taliban and the Bush administration

I am unconvinced that the edit replacing "cordial" with "strained" in the following paragraph is justified:

Afghanistan's Taliban regime had enjoyed strained relations with U.S. prior to 9-11, but its harboring of bin Laden and his associates made military action inevitable. In late 2001, American and British planes bombed the country in support of the Afghan Northern Alliance - a coalition of warlords opposed to the Taliban. Subsequently, Allied ground forces joined the attack.

As far as I can see, the Bush administration supported the Taliban until 9/11, and Bush's links with the Taliban via a 1997 oil pipeline deal have also been noted:

BBC News: 'Taleban to Texas for pipeline talks.' December 3rd 1997.
BBC News: 'Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline.' December 4th 1997.
Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato Institute: 'How Washington Funded the Taliban.' August 2nd 2002. [Libertarian think-tank report.]

Also, I have copied the large section deleted during this edit to the Talk:Iraq War page to archive any possibly useful material there. John Stephenson 22:05, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Relations were bad between US and the Afghanistan government. Afg. wanted a pipeline but US did NOT approve it . That = strained. US gaved the UN $$$$ and the UN did provide lots of food for starving people, inside Afg. and in refugee camps outsde AFg. [1] as part of a UN humanitarian effort, and paid farmers not to grow opium, ut that was not support for the government.
OK, I think that the Taliban signed a deal with Unocol in 1998, but the agreement was withdrawn the same year. Also, the US gave the Taliban $43 million in 2001, which doesn't sound like the sort of thing you agree with a country with whom you have strained relations. John Stephenson 22:44, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Immediate response

Richard, please can you expand on the reasons why you have reverted the 'immediate response' section, including the removal of references - it has now returned to the heavily biased narrative in which we are told that there was no looting, panic, and that everyone thought Rudy Guiliani was "brilliant". This does not sound like a neutral article. John Stephenson 22:39, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds of civility. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.)

I think your comments here are mixing the edits on both 'immediate response' and the 'Iraq' section that you deleted. Here's some comments (ignoring your final, rather personal remark):
  • Discussion - I was "being bold" by supplying some references and sobering (some) of the language. What requires extensive (prior) discussion is the deletion of major sections; this is not the done thing without prior discussion and detailed justification - see CZ:Professionalism.
  • Immediate Response, Guiliani as 'brilliant' - OK, then it should be presented as the opinion of the critics, rather than being used by the article itself as a description, without qualification.
  • Immediate Response, looting - There were examples and claims of looting, as reported at the time - the article now says there was "no looting", "no panic", neither of which are true. I can remember the sounds and images of blood-curdling screams of people as they watched the planes hit, people running, etc...
  • Iraq, "concoct" - here I agree with you, but I couldn't come up with another word that adequately conveyed the idea that the US/UK had some agenda regarding Iraq.
  • Iraq, war support - your summary of what I wrote is not accurate. I edited as follows: "However, the United Kingdom was the only country whose government supplied unwavering political and military support to the USA in its plans to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein; many other countries publically supported action, but stopped short of backing an invasion." I did not say that only the UK supported the invasion. However, it is true that the UK was the only other country going in from the start, and that the world community predominantly declined to support the war. You also know that the troops send by other countries are very small - for instance, even today only the UK, Australia and South Korea have more than about 1000 troops each in the country. The Latvians, along with various others, have withdrawn.
We also now have a return to satire: "The world had been accustomed to long-winded speeches about the need for actions which everyone knew would never happen. Now there was action, and the world stood in awe of America's vast military power unleashed with cold fury." And: "(Bush) blamed al-Qaeda, whose goal was to impose its radical beliefs on the entire world... Bush issued an ultimatum: the Taliban must immediately turn over the al-Qaeda leadership to American justice, or share their fate... he promised to systematically destroy the terrorists—to hunt them down cave-by-cave and destroy them everywhere in the world. No government would be allowed to harbor them... Bush called on Congress to declare war on terrorism, and it responded enthusiastically. The nation had united." John Stephenson 23:18, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Richard, it is completely needless to describe Guliani's acts as "brilliant", and we both know full-well that all that will do is prod others to introduce contradictory authorities who disagree (and I have heard plenty), introducing a needless diversion into the article. "Brilliant" is mere opinion, since there is no objective criteria for what is and is not "brilliant". Just describe factually what the man did and let the reader make up his or her own mind. In fact, just describe factually what happened on 9-11. This, of all articles, should assiduously avoid posturing, needless adjectives, statements of opinion no matter who they are from, hyperbolic language, etc. Don't you think what I am saying is reasonable?  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 00:09, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Richard, see this edit I did. I agree that your history writing is engaging with phrases like "Bush...found his voice"; "one of the most well received speeches in a century"; "blamed"; "radical"; "The nation had united". But with this article? I tried to make it just state facts.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 00:38, 26 July 2007 (CDT)
the article deals with an extreme psychological criris and has to try to capture the mood of the people at the time. It was not an ordinary event. Statements like like "Bush...found his voice"; "one of the most well received speeches in a century"; "blamed"; "radical"; "The nation had united" are factually accurate and try to capture that mood. Richard Jensen 02:06, 8 November 2007 (CST)
See this edit - Richard has put back the bias into the 'immediate response' section, including the bit about Guiliani being "brilliant" and the assertion, which can't possibly be true, that "there was no panic, looting, or despair". [P.S. I did think you'd just re-inserted this now, Richard - sorry - but it remains in the narrative, which I think is problematic.] John Stephenson 03:31, 8 November 2007 (CST)
I think the consensus is that Guiliani's response was brilliant--he has made it a centerpiece of his presidential campaign and his critics have not challenged him on this. As opposed to above average or inept or whatever. The no panic/looting was reported over and over again by reporters looking for panic or looting. Richard Jensen 03:36, 8 November 2007 (CST)
True or not, it's biased - it is true that Guiliani was widely praised for his handling of the crisis, but talking about brilliance is journalistic, not encyclopedic. John Stephenson 03:38, 8 November 2007 (CST)
It is not "biased"--it is straight factual reporting on the consensus of experts, which is what an encyclopedia reports. Look for example at the recent ABC News retrospective: "The mayor was a powerful presence. Images of him covered in soot at ground zero were broadcast to the world, reinforcing the sense that he was in charge. Time magazine made him "Man of the Year," and he was quickly dubbed "America's Mayor." Even his harshest critics agree this was his finest moment.[2]Richard Jensen 03:43, 8 November 2007 (CST)
You are quoting journalists quoting opinion. My interepretation of the neutrality policy of CZ is that it attempts to avoid disguising subjective opinion as 'fact'. John Stephenson 03:51, 8 November 2007 (CST)
Well on a scale of 1-10 how do you rank Giuliani's performance? Here's what TIME said:
When the day of infamy came, Giuliani seized it as if he had been waiting for it all his life, taking on half a dozen critical roles and performing each masterfully. Improvising on the fly, he became America's homeland-security boss, giving calm, informative briefings about the attacks and the extraordinary response. He was the gutsy decision maker, balancing security against symbolism, overruling those who wanted to keep the city buttoned up tight, pushing key institutions--from the New York Stock Exchange to Major League Baseball--to reopen and prove that New Yorkers were getting on with life. He was the crisis manager, bringing together scores of major players from city, state and federal governments for marathon daily meetings that got everyone working together. And he was the consoler in chief, strong enough to let his voice brim with pain, compassion and love. When he said "the number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear," he showed a side of himself most people had never seen. Giuliani's performance ensures that he will be remembered as the greatest mayor in the city's [3] The CZ neutrality policy says that opposing viewpoint be fairly represented. Let's find some experts who say his performance was average or mediocre or poor and we will include them. Note the key point: "unbiased" coverage can be very favorable to a person, (as in this case). Richard Jensen 04:03, 8 November 2007 (CST)

I haven't read the above comments, I'm just going to state three really, really obvious things: (1) not everyone will agree with the epithet "brilliant" as applied to a current presidential candidate (duh); (2) if not everyone agrees with an epithet, our Neutrality Policy requires, yes requires, that it either be removed or qualified (e.g., attributed); and (3) there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that a suitable compromise can be reached. As editor-in-chief, I am hereby ordering you to find a mutually acceptable compromise. The way the article reads now on the issue in question is unacceptable--moreover, it's obvious that it's unacceptable. This is not the sort of thing that Citizens should have to debate at such great length. For example, instead of saying Guiliani "became a hero to the city and the nation for the brilliant way he directed rescue, relief and healing operations," you might simply say that he "was widely regarded as a hero to the city, and was lauded for..." --Larry Sanger 06:17, 8 November 2007 (CST)

needs a different title

I think this is a odd title of the article. What are some other options? Tom Kelly 01:28, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

How about September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States?--John M. Adriatico 01:41, 8 November 2007 (CST)
a short snappy title that is immediately understood will do the job. The rhetoric in recent years speaks to the "9-11 attacks" and the article reflects that. Richard Jensen 01:58, 8 November 2007 (CST)
I suggest we move it to September 11 terrorist attacks. It would be immediately understood, would not have the 'technical limitations' of '9-11 Attack' and gives more information. --Tom Morris 11:51, 12 September 2008 (CDT)

Who did it?

The 19 hijackers were all identified. Their status as Arabs was essential to the story. (the text closely follows the report of the 9-11 commission). Richard Jensen 03:27, 8 November 2007 (CST)

Their status as extremists and where they came from are essential, but calling them 'Arabs' is unacceptable: it implies they did it *because* they were Arabs. The edit you have just made is actually worse than the original, which only mentioned their ethnicity in passing. You have put it at the forefront. Another point: al-Qaeda is not a single group, directed by one man. It is a whole series of groups with different aims. It would be better to say they were "affiliated" with al-Qaeda rather than talking about membership, as though it's one organisation. John Stephenson 03:36, 8 November 2007 (CST)

There is nothing wrong in itself with calling people "Arabs"--that is an objective appellation. The idea that the current wording "implies they did it because they were Arabs" looks incorrect to me. For the sake of clarity, however--not everyone might actually have a clear idea of what "Arab" means--it might be better to use "Middle Eastern" or "mostly Saudi." The men were mostly from Saudi Arabia, but there were one each from Egypt, Lebanon, and UAE. --Larry Sanger 06:17, 8 November 2007 (CST)

How about something to the effect of "The 19 hijakers, all of Middle Eastern decent and members of the terrorist network Al-Qaeda.." Todd Coles 11:15, 8 November 2007 (CST)
I agree we should say "hijackers" - this avoids placing the ethnicity of those involved at the forefront. They can be identified as coming from the Middle East, mostly Saudi Arabia, at a later point. I disagree that the use of "Arabs" is objective; and even if it were, some readers will take it as pejorative. John Stephenson 19:31, 8 November 2007 (CST)
I'm not so sure it might be pejorative as stereotyping; you could say that "asians" bombed Pearl Harbor, but it would be accurate to say "The japanese" bombed pearl harbor. --Robert W King 20:16, 8 November 2007 (CST)
first the text follows closely the official report which says upfront the Arabs did it: "This immeasurable pain was inflicted by 19 young Arabs acting at the behest of Islamist extremists headquartered in distant Afghanistan.... Bin Ladin offers an extreme view of Islamic history designed to appeal mainly to Arabs and Sunnis." at [4] and [5] Second, Was this a random collection of Middle Eastern people who just happened to be Arabs? No serious person thinks so. And indeed, "Middle Eastern" is just as much a stereotype, but it conveys much less information. "Arab" was central to their origins, training, group identity, mission and goals, and was central to the world's understanding of the event. Will it hurt anyone's feelings to see it in CZ? Not likely. Will it hurt if that information is taken out? Yes, it will directly degrade CZs credibility.Richard Jensen 22:55, 8 November 2007 (CST)
"The Arabs did it"... this is an example of the problem we face with this article. Yes, for them, what they did was linked to their ethnicity. But 'Arab' refers to all people of Arab descent, and the language is associating the entire group with the act. You assert this will hurt no-one's feelings. That is a question that can only be answered by the public response to Citizendium and its hosting of an article that associates an ethnic group with terrorism. Just because the 9-11 Report, in more than one section, uses this term in discussing their motivations, doesn't mean we have to - especially not at the forefront of an article about a mass killing. John Stephenson 23:22, 8 November 2007 (CST)
well I'm a firm believer in bibliography and looking at the scholarly literature on the topic before writing. Perhaps there is some other formulation that is dominant in this literature? the folks with a strong interest in the topic should do some homework and provide credible examples. World Book (2004) blames it on "Saudi millionaire" Osama bin Laden, and doesn't characterize any of the hijackers. (Osama was of Yemini descent and had his Saudi citizenship stripped away years before.) Encarta 2002 says the hijackers came from "Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab states." Richard Jensen 23:48, 8 November 2007 (CST)

Richard, explain this to me, please: why not seek out a creative and suitable compromise here? Surely you could, if you wanted to, find a manner of expression that is just as accurate and precise. How about "mostly Saudi nationals"? They were mostly Saudis, or "Arabs" in that sense. There were three from other Arabic-speaking countries: Egypt, Lebanon, and UAE. That's why they were, of course, and indeed objectively, Arabs. This is a fact, based on the meaning of the word "Arab" and the actual ethnicity of the men. But there are multiple ways to express facts, some of which, rightly or wrongly, people will take offense at, and some of which they will not. "Middle Eastern" is no less precise, by the way, than "Arab," both of which are vague and only partly overlapping terms. If you really want precision, then "mostly Saudi nationals" would do the trick. --Larry Sanger 08:30, 9 November 2007 (CST)

I agree completely, Larry. Moreover, it is of great interest that they were nationals of the Arab country with which the USA had, and continues to have, the best relations. They were not Syrians, Jordanians [or even Iranians] etc. The blanket term "Arabs" is not helpful and actually can be viewed as a political expedient justifying certain subesquent decisions...--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:32, 9 November 2007 (CST)

The importance of compromise

Richard, John, Steve, I think we have forgotten something important here. It is that wikis do not work unless people on opposite sides of political (and other divisive) issues are committed to solving issues in a mutually agreeable fashion, i.e., diplomacy and compromise. Richard, you might say that facts are facts, and we do no one any favors by watering them down. This might look right at first glance, but as it turns out, this is altogether the wrong attitude. The variety of possible manner of expression of even the most basic facts is virtually infinite. Of all these ways to express things, many are likely to be acceptable to all parties--so long as they are actually committed to neutrality. But if they insist on having their own bias represented to the exclusion of all others, no compromise will ever be acceptable. Perhaps it wasn't obvious, but compromise is practically entailed by neutrality.

Not only should we accept a good compromise, we should actively work toward a compromise. Consider intransigence contrary to policy.

I'm going to make this into a new CZ policy. --Larry Sanger 06:30, 8 November 2007 (CST)

what are the issues? Is 9-11 a good title (it is widely used by scholars, editors and publishers); should CZ writing be bold "Bush found his voice" or "encyclopedic" ("Bush made a speech"); is a favorable treatment of someone (Giuliani) "bias" or is bias defined by the CZ guidelines as giving due attention to all serious perspectives? Should CZ be vague ("all of Middle Eastern descent") or exact ("Arabs"). Richard Jensen 14:44, 8 November 2007 (CST)
I have no problems with the title myself. The favorable treatment given to Giuliani is the problem--that is, quitely clearly and obviously, biased. Many would deny offering the epithet "brilliant" to Giuliani. Please see CZ:Compromise. --Larry Sanger 15:55, 8 November 2007 (CST)

Para. 3: "The American response was near-unanimous support for President George W. Bush's angry response that this was an act of war".

Not only is this poor English, but it contradicts the facts. There was no initial response from Bush: it was quite delayed. I suggest avoiding the word "response", which implies rapid cause and effect, and completely rephrasing this.

The section on World Response is really quite incoherent and filled with controversial claims. It is obvious to any reader that it supports a particular position,. which means that it breaches the Neutrality Policy.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:01, 8 November 2007 (CST)

the "near unanimous support" is endorsed by all the experts on the subject and the people at the time, including all of Bush's main political opponents. Bush Hillary Clinton to Bush: "we stand with you united in Congress and united as a nation."[Gerth and van Natta Her Way (2007) p 231] I'd like to see some evidence to the contrary, please. The timing is made explicit: President George W. Bush, after a few hours of embarrassing confusion on September 11, found his voice. In one of the most well received speeches in a century, Bush told Congress on September 20, 2001, that this was war. As for the world response, the criticism will have to be more specific. Richard Jensen 15:12, 8 November 2007 (CST)

Again, please discuss and edit this in the spirit of diplomacy, not animosity. Richard did not write that Bush responded immediately. He wrote that there was support for Bush's angry response that the attacks were an act of war. This, anyway, is not particularly controversial. What the U.S. government did after that was controversial, of course. --Larry Sanger 15:55, 8 November 2007 (CST)

To identify them with a counrty like Saudi Arabia or Egypt suggests that country was partly responsible. Many people believe that--but (I think) that line of argument is rejected by the experts. Egypt and Saudi Arabia aggressively opposed these folks. We can call them "radical Islam" but that's just as heavily freighted (it's also false: Osama did NOT include any of his people from Bosnia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Chechnya. only Arabs. The world has heatedly debated the issue for 6 years and it is not true that CZ will worsen the problem by saying exactly what happened.Richard Jensen 15:47, 9 November 2007 (CST)
No, that's not the case. Identifying someone by their nationality does in no way implicate the entire country; that is absurd to think so. And yes, CZ will suffer as a result of simply labeling them as "arabs" because it will be interpreted as our blind ignorance to assume that anyone (by definition of the term "arab") from that region is responsible for what happened. It is our duty to specifically identify those who were responsible for the 9/11 events; wherever they came from or what they believed in. It's simply not fair to label them all as "arabs" or "islamic", but we should identify them according to what they believed in and who they followed and most importantly why they did what they did from that perspective. Were they martyrs? Were they anti-capitalists? Were they followers of Osama Bin-Laden? These are the things we should focus on identifying, not blanketing these people with generalities. --Robert W King 22:17, 9 November 2007 (CST)
I agree completely. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:08, 10 November 2007 (CST)
"Identifying someone by their nationality does in no way implicate the entire country; that is absurd to think so." yes, and also "Identifying someone by their ethnicity does in no way implicate the entire ethnic group; that is absurd to think so." The statements are equally true. The problem with country-of-origin is that it is highly misleading--the folks involved had been repudiated by their countries of origin. All the analysts agree that the "muscle men" did not make policy--that was made by Bin Laden and a couple others. Richard Jensen 19:38, 10 November 2007 (CST)
So state that as well. Nobody is objecting to accuracy here. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 04:28, 11 November 2007 (CST)

I hope that Richard does not take offence at any of the above. I still insist that the lede needs to be much better written, although it is not actually controversial. Insofar as the section on world response is concerned, there is so much to disagree about. First, nobody really disputes that the real threat was from Afganistan, but that was not what Bush said. He chose to target Iraq [in the so-called Axis of Evil] as the principal culprit, hence the justification of its invasion. {Why is there a sentence about the now-defunct EU constitution here? No EU member state was attacked, so it is not even theoretically relevant.} The rest of this paragraph fails to convey the very real dispute which split Europe initially into the UK versus France and Germany, although later became more complex. It also fails to convey the 50-50 split in public support for Blair's actions in supporting the USA military adventures. The whole debacle with the UN and the weapons of mass destruction issue is completely sidestepped here, and I think most political analysts that I know would, like me, have some difficulty in recognising what happened from this account. Within a few months, world support for the USA in Iraq had dwindled to the Anglophone countries, with some new East European countries playing the field in order to improve their negotiating power in the EU.
the article barely mentions the UK, but its vote was decisive, not close: MP's voted 396 to 217 to defeat an amendment that case for war "has not yet been established." Blair won a 412 to 149 vote to approve the government's resolution supporting the use of "all means necessary" to ensure Iraq's disarmament. Votes of 412 to 149 are considered decisive in parliamentary democracies. CNN news report Richard Jensen 16:53, 8 November 2007 (CST)
A political commentator is obliged to point out that when a ruling party has a massive majority in the parliament, the resulting vote on any major issue shows the government's determnation to force through that vote and is not necessarily an indicator of popular support. This is precisely what happened, and it is highly misleading to pretend otherwise. Of course, it reveals the farce of parliamentary democracy, but that was not my point. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:06, 8 November 2007 (CST)
well if you support democracy you take the results. Blair is gone but Brits are still in Iraq 6 years later and the NATO countries are still in Afghanistan.Richard Jensen 18:01, 8 November 2007 (CST)
Not at all. That would be what a politician does, not an independent academic commentator. It is much easier to go into a war than to get out, and the UK is struggling to get out... Afghanistan has more support, it is true. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 18:06, 8 November 2007 (CST)
We also need a section on how the event reshaped conceptions of managing terrorism, particularly vis-a-vis human rights issues and habeas corpus. I realise that we have an article on terrorism, but something needs to be included here, as it was the proximal cause. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:24, 8 November 2007 (CST)
In that regard, I would look up Bruce Schneier and some of his entries at Wired he has written extensively on this subject (managing security details in the post 9/11 world); his commentary column "Security Matters" can be found here. --Robert W King 16:39, 8 November 2007 (CST)

'Overthrow of Taliban in Afghanistan' section

I have added a link to the actual transcript of the GWB speech on 20th September 2001, and modified it to clarify that the stated goal of al Qaeda as wishing to impose its radical beliefs on everyone was what Bush said. As far as I know, al Qaeda themselves have stated that the want non-Muslims out of current and former "Muslim lands". John Stephenson 19:43, 8 November 2007 (CST)

Also, the last sentence, in my view, is unnecessary. ("The nation had united.") John Stephenson 19:43, 8 November 2007 (CST)

Yes, a lot of these attributed aims and statements concerning Al-Quaida and Iran etc are completely one-sided and unreliable when they come from the West. It is important to maintain the Neutrality Policy properly here, including representation of views which are never heard in the USA.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:01, 9 November 2007 (CST)

Wasted energy

First, for the record, in my view there *is* some bias here that needs to be removed. But that's not the real issue, because that can be sorted quite simply and easily. What's bothering me in reading through these comments is the time and energy that is being absolutely wasted, when it could be put into something more constructive--like making this a really good, really comprehensive and compelling cluster.

In reading the arguments dispassionately, the first thing that struck me was that we already have mechanisms in place for dealing with some of these issues effectively. Where we have debatable points, why can't those interested persons work on a discussion subpage, a debate subpage if it comes to it--seems to me there is plenty of room for more than one. Richard, rather than a debate on this or that particular word or set of words, could you consider a signed article. Having said that, I do feel that there is room for eloquent prose in the actual article, this is not just any other issue, it was an extraordinary event and needs extraordinary language to do it justice, but that language should not be hackneyed, excessive, maudlin or inflammatory. I don't read "Arabs" used at the beginning as a problem, but if other people do, can an explanatory footnote (as long or short as necessary) with a link to an article Arab do? Or is it truly such a problem that the word needs changing? Richard, can you consider that impartially instead of being so entrenched in the defense of the use of that particular word?

I'd so much rather we threw the majority of effort into fixing what obviously needs to be fixed; this is relatively simple copy editing. Like, right at the beginning with The Plot. Okay, the man who 'concocted' the scheme hated...what? College? America? American colleges? He helped his nephew...but I thought we just said he himself was the one who concocted the plan? And who was the nephew? I don't see where he was already named, place a name there. That sort of thing.

The section titled Immediate Response needs an overhaul, as that is not what is being described. And yes, I would know.

Aleta Curry 21:26, 11 November 2007 (CST)

I made one of Aleta's suggestions (re hating US) Richard Jensen 21:48, 11 November 2007 (CST)


I read this article with interest and enjoyment, I think it's a fluent, lively and informative piece. I did however balk severely at the mention of Arabs in the lead. I removed it, after reading the talk page, for a reason not covered already. I accept Richard's point that in the aftermath of the attack, the fact that they were all Arabs was seen as highly significant. But this is a judgement that surely has changed somewhat; here in the UK we suffered a subsequent, related attack on London transport systems, and in that case the attackers were not Arabs. Thus in retrospect it seems that the fact that the 9/11 attackers were Arabs, though true, is incidental - the terrorist movement is multi-national, comprising Islamic fundamentalist extremists of many nationalities. The nationalities are mentioned in the body of the article, but insofar as the article lead attributes blame, the blame belongs to a terrorist movement that is composed of many nationalities and ethnic groups. The judgement that there was significance to the fact that they were all Arabs seems less well founded in retrospect than it once may have been.Gareth Leng 12:16, 14 January 2008 (CST)

the article does not deal with the British case at all. Clearly another article is needed. In 9-11 the decision was made by the top al-queda leadership to use only Arabs, at a time they had, as Gareth points out, a wide variety of nationalities to choose from. The text follows closely the official US report, which stresses the Arab factor. Richard Jensen 13:16, 14 January 2008 (CST)
I am inclined to agree with Gareth here. We have moved on in our understanding of Al-Qaida since that report. If you want to emphasise that Arab nationalities were chosen, then you might also mention other factors, such as their statuses in America -- that many were enrolled in aviation schools, etc. All of these things are probably more relevant than their nationalities, and it is likely that Arabs were used because they were better positioned to carry out the attack. It is not enough to say that this was the conclusion of a time-specific official report; if we wrote the history of WWII based entirely on intelligence reports of 1945, nobody would take it seriously.Martin Baldwin-Edwards 14:37, 14 January 2008 (CST)
I have not yet seen a better analysis than the 9-11 report of 2004. Martin says "We have moved on in our understanding of Al-Qaida since that report" but that claim needs a citation to these superior studies, which are not listed in our bibliography.Richard Jensen 14:51, 14 January 2008 (CST)

I've looked at that 9-11 report with interest, and have no doubt that Richard is right that it is an excellent report. But the word "arab" is rather hard to find there. In the main body, it first appears as (Arab)ic newspaper on page 46. The public summary doesn't use it, that talks of 19 men, not 19 arabs. Only the Executive summary uses it, and then only once, and in a fuller context: "19 young arabs acting at the behest of Islamic extremists headquartered in distant Afghanistan." I'd be happier with that, given as a quote, with a citation to the report.Gareth Leng 03:55, 15 January 2008 (CST)

Gareth makes a very good point; i'm off to bed (it's 3:40am in Denver) and will look into it tomorrow. Richard Jensen 04:38, 15 January 2008 (CST)
I reread the Report and rephrased the treatment of Arabs. You can't draw 19 people at random from a mixed bag and get all Arabs, so it needs explanation. What seems to have happened was the need to speak a common language (Arabic), plus the advantage a Saudi passport gave in getting into the US, plus the Saudi-Arabian interests of the two key leaders. (bin Laden talked endlessly about the desecration of holy Saudi Arabia. He was from a Yemini family that moved to Saudi Arabia when he was young and made a big fortune; the family disowned him.) I tried to include a couple main points.Richard Jensen 15:41, 15 January 2008 (CST)
I think this is a good outcome, the fact is included with a balanced and reasonable analysis, avoiding any impression of damning an ethnic group by association. Thanks.Gareth Leng 05:01, 16 January 2008 (CST)