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A number of writers have written about the September 9/11 terrorist attacks at the world trade center (WTO). Some authors have tackled the events head on but is it really too early to write a compelling story about the attacks? The paper will use the Lawrence Wright's 'Looming Tower' and the 9/11 Commission Report to assess that a narrative history of the events since 9/11 cannot yet be written, since the situation in the Middle East is very much ongoing and although a decade has passed since the attacks, Al-Qaeda is still an active transnational movement which seeks to further instigate the clash of civilizations.
Lawrence Wright’s book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 tell the story of the hard-to-eradicate conspiracy theories that linger since the September 11 attacks. The book is about conspiracy theories and leans toward the 9/11 attacks, the origins and rise of al-Qaeda and its (now deceased) leader, Osama bin Laden. The book demonstrates how far the 9/11 reality and truth are and what led to it. For conspiracy theorists’, the book highlights why the U.S. was attacked by Osama and his group, what the group wanted to accomplish and why the U.S. was blindsided.
The 9/11 Commission Report was the commission’s final report that provided full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 9/11 attacks. This includes the country’s preparedness for before the attacks and after the attacks and including recommendations designed to fend off future attacks. The commission’s report entails what happened and why it did happen, giving recommendations to what ought to be done especially on preparedness. It shows how the U.S. was transformed since the morning of September 11, 2001. Actually we will later discover that the U.S. has not just been transformed but has been undergoing some transformations.
The big question on many people’s minds was why did they attack the U.S.? Why did the U.S. government fail to prevent the attacks? How did they manage to plan and attack? And lastly, what can be done in the future to prevent such terrorist attacks? The commission agrees that the 9/11 attacks were a shock and not a surprise as terrorists had warned that they will kill Americans. The threat of terrorism has grown over the past decade. The recommendations given may not necessarily be applicable in all ways as the war with terrorists is still ongoing and we know that the U.S. has not progressed much on this war (at Afghanistan where even the al-Qaida leader was killed, and despite living there for many years without any trace of him). Although the commission was created to substantiate the federal government explanation for 9/11, it discarded some contradictory evidence. Some of the omissions from the report include the Willfill destruction of WTC, the many other war games on 9/11 and the world explosions.
Wright’s looming tower starts on historical events and how they unfold through the story of Osama Bin Laden, the al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Al-Jihad and Zawahiri and how they threaten the lives of their own people and how they unleash terror in the West. Osama is on the warfront attacking America despite the fact that he was educated and trained in the same county he is now fighting. The book sets straight the issue of whether al-Qaeda does exist with a complicated history reflecting a political and religious complexity. But the book fails to link Osama or Al-Qaeda to 9/11. Wright makes it clear the 9/11 attacks were themselves a calling card of al-Qaida philosophy and objectives. Unfortunately no solid solutions are given on how best to capture al-Qaida operatives.
It is ten years since the 9/11 attacks and the question has been whether it is possible to write a compelling history of 9/11 only ten years after the fact. Some novelists have tackled the events that led to the attacks while others have managed to use a single episode as a spur to look into the shaken Western world out of its complacency. The work done as in all areas is largely fiction and highly variable. From the two books analyzed above, there are some important reasons why it is hard to write a compelling book about 9/11. We have seen that the attack on WTC was just but a huge and overpowering event that writers may shy away from writing directly on the topic. Many authors may have taken the 9/11 event as a reason to just look at a person’s character or group that they have never thought of before as such.
I also feel that it is too soon to write anything compelling about 9/11 attacks. Ten years sounds short. I may sound pessimistic about these writers but history tells us that one of the best novels about WWII was not written until 1961. 9/11 was such an event, a day in the life of the world, and thus hard to relay personal memories on the 9/11 impressions. This does not however mean that people should not be relating to the 9/11 events, but I feel it’s rather an explanation that better books will take the event as one element rather than a whole center of the story. The above books we have seen just took a momentous day backdrop and minted a whole story about it. There is a lot to understanding terrorism activities and how they work than just summarizing the whole story on 9/11 attacks. We know that ever since the 9/11 attacks, many other world events linked to terrorism have happened; the dreaded al-Qaida is still operating in the Afghanistan mountains which seeks to further instigate the clash of civilians despite the dead of their leader mid-this year.
Wright had asserted that the West was changed by the war, but indeed the U.S. did not just wake up to the time the WTC was hit, the waking has been a gradual process. The commission about 9/11 agrees that the country has been battling with terrorists trying to bomb the WTO since 1993. But again, it may be true, and politicians and other policy stakeholders will continue to ensue war on terror, and authors will continue to dissect stories from any wreckage.