The September 11 Terrorist Attacks in the US: The Implications

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1292 Words
Date:  2022-07-01


The September 11, 2001 attacks were the worst terrorist acts ever to be directed against the United States (the U.S.). As a result, they had profound impacts on America's national security and foreign policies as well as the American views of Islam. Though the attacks took the U.S. by surprise, the President Bush administration reacted aggressively and almost instantly. Sweeping policies were implemented that forever changed the whole of America's national security and foreign policies. Additionally, the American people immediately took a different viewpoint on how they regarded Muslims and Islam at large. Among the most significant changes that came after 9/11 were the enactment of the severe anti-terrorism and restrictive immigration laws, the Patriot Act and Real ID Acts respectively, and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The social impact was the rise in interest of understanding Islam among the U.S. population albeit under an increase in Islamophobia. Indeed, the attacks formed the enabling environment for the enactment of short-term (such as the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq) and long-term national and foreign policies (Copeland, par. 7).

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Impact on National Security

The Enactment of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was one of the fundamental laws the US Congress passed only 45 days following 9-11 (McKay 284). The purposes of this legislation included the enhancement of domestic security against terrorism, increase surveillance on Americans as well as foreigners, detaining people engaged with terrorism be they citizens or aliens, use criminal procedures to implement these objectives, stop monetary support for terrorists, and offer urgent authorization and appropriations to achieve these aims (McKay 285). According to McKay, the act gave security authorities excessive powers to investigate those suspected of engaging in terrorism or anyone who is in any relationship with terrorists (285). The Act also allowed the FBI to acquire data from libraries and booksellers while prohibiting the employees from disclosing such accesses have occurred (McKay 287).

The Creation of The Department of Homeland Security. The formation of the Department of Homeland Security (the DHS), was the most significant realignment of the US the federal administration. The establishment of the DHS led to the dissolution of the "US Coast Guards, the Secret Service, the Immigration Service and the US Customs" (McKay 285). The DHS was made the biggest security agency, with a budget of about $60 billion (McKay 285). The department has sweeping powers to investigate all terrorism-related cases and has been criticized for being overly zealous to the point it engages in tactics that infringe on civil liberties (McKay 285).

Impacts on Foreign Policies

The National Security Strategy (NSS) of 2002, credits 9/11 as the primary reason the US transformed its relationships with other leading global powers (as cited in Copeland, par. 7). In fact, the 9/11 events led the government and also the American people to perceived the rest of the world as a threat to their interests (Copeland, par. 7). Given this, the US undertook various actions that have changed the world forever. The Bush administration enforced a new strategy, namely "War on Terror." It involved the following:

Cooperation allies as well countries previously perceived as rivals. The US found some shared purpose with nations such as Russia, China, and India in their corresponding fight on terror. Additionally, the joint military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq enhanced the US/UK association. The perception that 9/11 had attacked not only the US but also the whole of the western civilization contributed to these new-found relations (Copeland, par. 8).

Invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and the evolution of War on Terror to Regime change. The invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was first a case for combating terrorism and those who supported it. However, President Bush administration made its mission to enforce a broader purpose of regime change with the intention of replacing the incumbents with reliable associates. Ultimately, the administration saw that course of action as a likely move to minimize terrorism and create more stability in that region.

The restructuring of immigration policies and agencies. The Bush administration led the rearrangement of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The INS broke into the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agencies (Rudolph 13). Although these agencies were made independent of each other, they were placed under the supervision of the DHS (Rudolph 13). Initially, the INS was under the Department of Justice (Rudolph 13). The essence of this move was to put migration and border control under the national security framework. Forrest (2006) argues President Bush ignored traditional geopolitical worries and settled for a national security-first approach (as cited in Rudolph 13).

The immigration rules become even tighter after the passing of the Real ID Act in 2005. The Act provided for the construction of a fence along a 14-mile stretch of the southern border (Rudolph 21). It also directed federal agents not to accept driving licenses as identification from states that gave them to undocumented migrants and restricted asylum proceedings by letting judges have more discretion to refuse refuge applications. (Rudolph 21).

Impact on Islam

According to Bakar, the 9/11 incident had the most visible effect on Islam in the US than anywhere else in the world (Par. 6). The results are either positive or negative ones (Bakar, par. 6).

Increase interest in Islam. One of the positives impacts that 9/11 brought Islam is the extraordinary increase in the interest in Islam among non-Muslim western populations (Bakar, par. 6). This new-found interest has propelled Islam into the political realms in the US. As a result, the visibility of Islam in the public political arenas has improved. There is now a Muslim lobby in Congress that witnessed a rare case of boldness in 2006 when Keith Allison, a representative from Minnesota, chose to swear on the Qur'an (Bakar, par. 20). That gesture made Islam a significant public topic since it was revealed the Qur'an Allison used was by Thomas Jefferson's (Bakar, par. 20).

Increase in Islamophobia. Despite the somewhat positive visibility Islam got after 9/11, there has been an increase in the level of Islamophobia among many Americans as well. Citing a Today/Gallup Poll, Bakar illustrates that a substantial number of Americans are prejudiced against Islam (par. 25). In particular, 44% of Americans see Muslims as too extreme, 22% of them say they would not want a Muslim neighbor, and many others stress that Muslims are not loyal to America (Bakar, par. 25). According to Bakar, this poll was supported by the Financial Times/Harris Poll of 2007 that found that 22% of Americans believe the presence of Muslim in the US as a risk to national safety (par. 25). But the Muslim situation is not as doomed as it may appear because the poll also indicated 47% of Americans believe American Muslims are a target of baseless condemnation and bias (Bakar, par. 25.


It is evident the 9/11 terrorist attacks were a turning point in the way the US viewed national security, foreign policies, and the influence of Islam. Though the attacks came as a surprise, the US did not take time to respond ferociously. The Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, and the formation of the DHS reorganized the federal administration greatly. The Acts gave federal agencies the unlimited power to investigate terrorism cases. Moreover, strict migration regulations were implemented. The US also cooperated with other global forces in the war against terror campaigns. Interest with Islam spiked and so did Islamophobia.

Works Cited

Bakar, Osman. "Post -9/11 Islamophobia And The Future Of American Islam." Official Website of Southeast Asia Regional Centre For Counter-Terrorism, 25 July 2018, Accessed 26 July 2018.

Copeland, Eddie. "The Effects of 9/11 on US Foreign Policy." Eddie Copeland, 3 Feb. 2017, Accessed 26 July 2018.

McKay, David H. American Politics and Society. 7th ed., Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

Rudolph, Chris. National Security and Immigration in the United States after 9/11. The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, 2018. Accessed 26 July 2018.

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The September 11 Terrorist Attacks in the US: The Implications. (2022, Jul 01). Retrieved from

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