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Talk:September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack

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See also Casualties Talk, talk:Give_Blood[?], US governmental response Talk and Hijackers Talk.

Old talk archived at Talk:September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack/Archive


Can anyone think of deadlier terrorist attacks? I have trouble imagining one. Wars, battles, and government-driven massacres have killed more people in one day, but nothing that could be reasonably described as a terrorist incident. Correct? --The Cunctator

I think that it may go to the definition of "terrorist", which is notoriously problematic. Are government-driven massacres terrorist attacks? I'm inclined to say that they are, since a major purpose is to instill fear in the remaining population; "state terrorism" is not an oxymoron to me. Others will disagree, of course. So in any case, in order to be impartial on the state terrorism issue, we would have to say "deadliest non-state terrorist incident".

I made the change when I did specifically because I realised that I no longer saw US news media describing the attack as the worst ever, only as the worst in the US. Perhaps they were simply being cautious, but should we not be as cautious? Ultimately, I think that the burden of proof rests on those making the claim, and I didn't see any attempt to justify it on the talk page; if I had, I'd have added to that discussion first. But I may have missed something, so let me know.

Toby 01:55 Sep 29, 2002 (UTC)

Unless you can provide an example of a deadlier terrorist attack, I am reverting it to deadliest in the "world". --rmhermen

I can't imagine why you think the burden of proof lies with me. It would be one thing if most other sources agreed with you. But they don't; outside of right-wing literature, I usually see only phrases like "deadliest terrorist attack in US history" or "deadliest act of terrorism on US soil". It would be one thing if I were saying ‹What most people think that they know isn't necessarily so.›. But I'm not; instead, you're the one that's advocating a stronger statement than the other media are making.

In an attempt to do your research for you, I looked for historical surveys of terrorist incidents with death tolls, as well as for examples of deadlier terrorist incidents. I found nothing useful either way. So perhaps the other news media simply don't know. Well, fine, but we don't know either. We can't just make up information since we suspect that it goes one way rather than the other. Since you are advocating making claims that you don't know to be true, while I am not, I say that you should provide a reference to a comprehensive survey that ranks this attack deadliest before putting such a phrase in. This is nothing more than simple intellectual integrity, on the part of all of us.

Toby 06:02 Oct 29, 2002 (UTC)


I agree with Bryan Derksen a few comments back that, as great as a lot of it is, much of the material on 9/11 is out of place in an encyclopedia. Which only goes to show why both Britannica and World Book have issued newsy "yearbook" editions along with their standard encyc. sets for years. Look like a WikiYearbook side project is called for. -- JDG Oct. 3, 2002


On the morning of, I remember hearing one of the tv broadcasters saying that the air force had 'taken care of' the final hijacked plane still in the air. does anyone else remember anything like that? Tubby


We may want to fix edit by 211.28.96.8 (15:23 Nov 9, 2002 September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack). Comments?


"Some people claim that it was the deadliest terrorist attack in the world."

Can somebody point me to a deadlier terrorist attack that ever took place? --mav

depends on your definition of terrorism im sure...Vera Cruz

Exactly. And on what you consider a single attack. And on whether you consider indirect deaths as counting. Perhaps "many people" would be more acceptable? -Martin

Based on our own definition at terrorism. --mav

I'll go check out our definition, but for a discussion of deadlier attacks, Noam Chomsky, for example, argues (http://www.zmag.org/chomskyhitchens.htm) that the attack on the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant had a far greater death toll in total, so it depends on your definition of terrorism and how you count the deaths. (3 edit conflicts so far.) DanKeshet

"Terrorism refers to the systemic or calculated use of violence or the threat of violence, against the civilian population, to instill fear in an audience for purposes of obtaining political goals"

The holocaust would do then. Note that terrorism has an entire section on "Problems with the definition"... -Martin

Using this definition, Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing, was the greatest terrorist attacks (calculated use of violence against the civilian population, to instill fear in an audience of obtaining political goals) 62.212.110.113[?] 10:29 4 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Make it something like: "Many people claim that it was the deadliest terrorist attack in history. But this view varies based on how a terrorist attack is defined." and I'll be happy. --mav

It was the deadliest act of terrorism on US soil,

Could this also depend on definition? How big were some of the masacres of Native Americans? http://iss.k12.nc.us/schools/nms/nativeacleansing.htm talks about 4000 deaths in 'removal' from land.

The biggest argument against this is that this removal took place through and by many, many separate acts. --Daniel C. Boyer 00:40 Jan 15, 2003 (UTC)

But that wasn't terrorism. If anything that was either a war or genocide. --mav

More importantly, it wasn't on US soil: the United States not having been formed at that time....-Martin

It fits the above definition of terrorism, but I concede that the US wasn't formed. However, I have could "US soil" be taken to mean soil that is now part of the US? I have heard people say "the Romans once ocupied British soil".

Include section (linking to separate article) on philatelic history of September 11, 2001 (stamps commemorating the events, pictorial cancellations, &c.)? --Daniel C. Boyer 00:40 Jan 15, 2003 (UTC)
My bad... Need sleep :)

But shouldn't the search for "nine eleven" find it? Is it because of the capitalization? What can be done? Zocky 11:16 Jan 24, 2003 (UTC)

expletive deleted. See Wikipedia:Common words, searching for which is not possible - nine is on the list Martin


I do not understand how anyone can state this was "among the deadliest single events of asymmetric warfare in history". What about almost any colonization? The foreign power invades with more powerful technology or in the case of North America, non-native germs, and slaughters the native race. Far more asymetric are the more recent wars launched by the US against Iraq (through 1990s and now in 2003), Central America, Africa (destroying the medicine factory in Sudan, and causing the death of millions), etc etc. Wake up, there were _only_ 3000 people killed. It's terrible but happens daily around the world. The author should have said, "among the deadliest single events of asymmetric warfare in AMERICAN history". -evg -
for a definition of asymmetric warfare, see that entry. The colonisation of america wasn't asymmetric by the modern definition, though many events in it would probably qualify as genocide. Also, the entry says single events, which distinguishes 9/11 from protracted wars and battles. Given both those qualifiers, I think that's a balanced intro...

I'm new here, but had a brief and minor comment on the paragraph at the end about the use of the term "nine eleven". Most other major disasters are named for their location -- Hiroshima, Waterloo, etc. I think the adoption of "nine eleven" is a simple consequence of the fact that the act took place in multiple locations, so there was no simple geographical shorthand for the enormity of it. Although the worst damage was in New York, calling it the "WTC disaster" doesn't begin to address everything that happened that day. Catherine

Good point, Catherine.
Btw, there is a discussion at Talk:September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack/Memorial wiki pages on the movement of pages to the sep11.wiki site from this one. Martin


The attacks on September 11 were not strictly speaking terrorism, for these reasons:

  • they were not focused strictly on civilian targets, but included the Pentagon and corporations and markets that vend US debt that fund the US military - by the same definitions that have always been used in war, these are military targets, albeit in the WTC's case there was also a lot of collateral damage
  • their primary impact was the physical destruction of infrastructure actually useful in war, that being, the command and financing infrastructure of the USA. if not for various precautions in offsite backup, they could have done serious damage to the US economy - thus this was a serious military attack not a fear-generating exercise
  • even with these precautions and rapid reactions on the part of traders and authorities, the overall impact was estimated at close to US$1T over the next month, and could be said to be much higher if we include present slow growth rates, economic friction introduced by 'national security' measures, and costs of new wars, not to mention risks of diplomatic alienation over same
  • the objective of the attacks, if Al Qaeda was indeed behind them (which is an assertion never proven by any judicial process, and we should note that), was to remove US troops from Saudi Arabia. This is certainly a military objective and a very clear and focused one.
  • they were coordinated so effectively as to demonstrate true military capacity.

I submit that this is exactly what is meant by asymmetric warfare, and not what is usually meant by terrorism. Thus the article title could reasonably be 'September 11, 2001, hijackings' or 'September 11, 2001, attack on the USA' but 'terrorist attack' is just biased. History will remember this as the first successful hit of a large scale war fought over normal military objectives and with normal military targets, not an isolated incident involving mostly civilians. Some even say that the Pentagon workers were 'civilians' since they did not carry weapons. This kind of nonsense absolutely boggles the mind. Nor, for the same reasons, was the attack on the U.S.S. Cole a 'terrorist' attack.

The Cole attack was not terrorism but the killing of nearly 3,000 civilians can be nothing other than terrorism. It is very silly to suggest that those people were valid military targets. I thought you were banned? --mav

Why not my new definition? -- Taku 03:54 Mar 2, 2003 (UTC)
For one it was misspelled... mav made it a little clearer. Thanks mav! -- Goatasaur

No problem - is everybody happy now? --mav

"The WTC Towers were constructed almost entirely from steel coated in asbestos, and the attacks released dense clouds of dust into the air of Manhattan. Death usually follows asbestos inhalation only after fifteen years or more - so is possible that other victims of the attacks may die over the decades to come."
I remember either the TV or newspaper specifically saying at the time that the WTC towers didn't contain asbestos, which account is incorrect?
I am quite sure that naming this article took a great deal of debate and deliberation, however shouldn't the article title be "September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks"? They may have been orchestrated and planned together, but there were distinctively separate attacks made. Kingturtle 01:36 Apr 30, 2003 (UTC)


Text moved from the Village pump

RE: September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack....shouldn't the article title be "September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks"? The attacks may have been orchestrated and planned together, but there were distinctively separate attacks made. Kingturtle 01:36 Apr 30, 2003 (UTC)

Apparently so! Googling reveals that 20,000 "September 11 Attack" pages and 200,000 "September 11 Attacks" pages. 14,000 "9 11 Attack" and 60,000 "9 11 Attacks." Time to move page? --Menchi 06:46 May 4, 2003 (UTC)

I'd suggest being conservative here - there are quite a few pages, and they're linked from all over the place, so a change of name will actually entail a fair bit of work. But if you do move, consider whether "terrorist" and "attack" need capitals... Martin

End of moved text

"September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks" looks like a better title to me -- sannse 08:33 May 12, 2003 (UTC)

I've changed it to September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks for the above mentioned reasons. Kingturtle 22:15 17 May 2003 (UTC)

But now I realize the seriousness of this change. It might be too overwhelming to change all the associated pages. I think I better changing them all now. It is probably best for me to change them back to the original name, no? Kingturtle 22:25 17 May 2003 (UTC)

Aside from which, the whole matter strikes me as being woefully pedantric.
Fortunately, this whole matter seems to have ended on the grounds of difficulty. Arno 04:01 5 Jul 2003 (UTC)
The insurance company which insured the WTC didn't think so. They tried to declare it one attack so they only had to pay one settlement while the tower owner declared it two attacks and wanted double the money. It went to court -don't know what happened, though. Rmhermen 12:27 5 Jul 2003 (UTC)

User:Rmhermen remove every links or information about 6wtc and 7wtc destruction events. (6wtc was partially destroyed by an explosion at 8;04am (I give a link to a short movie in gif) and a link on plane photography that explain the thing. 62.212.110.113[?] 17:49 5 Jul 2003 (UTC)



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