There is a tendency to give the 9-11 hijackings and their terrorist attack too much credibility in regards to their brilliance and their audacity for their planned attacks on their intended American targets. While, there was definitely pre-planning and serious preparation made by Osama Bin Ladin’s al Qaeda faction, the plan itself perhaps in retrospect and also because of its awesome success appears stunning, but upon further careful reflection and contemplation seems more like that long shot, or lucky shot coming home to fruition.
In order for al Qaeda’s plan to succeed you needed the following major items to go off without a hitch:
1. Hijackers entry into America without any real notice
2. Hijackers successful completion of pilot training without any real notice
3. Hijackers successfully boarding each of the airplanes on 9-11
4. Hijackers not backing down or aborting the implementation of the plan on 9-11
5. Hijackers successful in taking control of all of the airplanes (though lost control or were compromised on United 93)
6. Hijackers successful in reaching and hitting their target in 3 out of the 4 airplanes
7. The utter destruction of the World Trade Center and other peripheral buildings.
First off, and critically, the hijackers were fortunate that our hijacking training scenario was such that airline personnel had previously learned the “common strategy” tactic for which the crew members were advised to comply with the hijacker’s demands and thereby not try to escalate the tension or to thwart the hijacker perpetrators. The belief at that time was that by getting the plane back on the ground safely and thereby allowing security forces and a negotiation team to work with the hijackers, that more lives would be saved. Obviously, this strategy had a fatal flaw when dealing with hijackers who mistakenly believed that by committing suicide, that they would reach martyrdom and paradise.
Unfortunately, for America, we had not updated our hijacking policies despite the fact that al Qaeda had made it previously clear that they were actively engaging in suicide missions, although at that time, none were of the airplane variety. It was this fatal misconception which contributed to the success of this terrorist attack on September 11, as America was woefully unprepared for this new line of thinking.
Additionally, and this is very important, despite the fact that the terrorists who had taken over the airplanes, had never flown a commercial airliner, but had instead simply and primarily been trained with flight simulators, yet consequently they were able to target the world trade center buildings and the pentagon in which they then incredibly hit their targets is simply amazing. Now maybe I have it all wrong, maybe it’s easy to hit a specific building while flying a plane that is traveling at 400 miles per hour but I seriously doubt that this is easy to accomplish for an inexperienced pilot, yet somehow these hijackers were able to hit their targets.
The other problem with the airplanes, that hadn’t previously been taken into consideration, was that the high flammability of their fuel had tremendous destructive power because of the high heat component of that fuel being burned, and in addition the massive quantity of fuel in these nearly full tanks of the airplanes itself. Still, I did not think, nor do I suspect that most people thought, that these great edifices of the sky would in fact burned so intensely that these structures would end up “pan-caking” uponthemselves, yet they did.
So the terrorist attacks were far more successful, they were far most destructive, than even the most optimistic man at al Qaeda could have envisioned. Al Qaeda was lucky, it was their lucky shot that came to fruition, in which just about everything worked out ideally, and had to, for this day to go down in infamy.
History has invoked a lot of criticism of what America should or shouldn’t have done, known or should have known, but in actuality, on that day, the gods simply did not favor us, something or somebody favored them.