Talk:Motives for the September 11 attacks

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Synthesis debate[edit]

This article needs to be based on sources that explicitly link motivations to 9/11, not just collect sources that say that Osama bin Laden saw the US an an enemy for this reason or another.  Cs32en  23:48, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

  • understand your point i guess, but this is very difficult. i don't know how the sources could be any closer than his video transcripts. any ideas?Spencerk (talk) 00:21, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

many interviews mention the reason for osama 'war' on america -

here is a very explicit reason from a 1996 interview

So I shall talk to you about the story behind those events and shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken, for you to consider. I say to you, Allah knows that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers. But after it became unbearable and we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the American/Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind.

The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorised and displaced.

I couldn't forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.

The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn't include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn't respond.

In those difficult moments many hard-to-describe ideas bubbled in my soul, but in the end they produced an intense feeling of rejection of tyranny, and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.

And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.

This means the oppressing and embargoing to death of millions as Bush Sr did in Iraq in the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known, and it means the throwing of millions of pounds of bombs and explosives at millions of children - also in Iraq - as Bush Jr did, in order to remove an old agent and replace him with a new puppet to assist in the pilfering of Iraq's oil and other outrages.

So with these images and their like as their background, the events of September 11th came as a reply to those great wrongs, should a man be blamed for defending his sanctuary?

Is defending oneself and punishing the aggressor in kind, objectionable terrorism? If it is such, then it is unavoidable for us.

This is the message which I sought to communicate to you in word and deed, repeatedly, for years before September 11th. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 5 January 2010 (UTC) Seems like this page exists solely for political purposes. If not then were is a "motive for German invasion of Poland" or "motive for attack on Pearl Harbor"? Seems the info on this page should be included in the "attack on 9/11" page and not as a separate entity. Observation Station (talk)

The article has two really major problems:

  • It presents various developments in different parts of the world through the prism of 9/11, which misrepresents them. (The links to the various "main article" are just the formal aspect of this issue.)
  • The video transcripts are primary sources, of course, and we need to use published interpretations of those sources by reliable sources as a starting point. The authenticity of the primary sources would also need to be established by reliable sources.  Cs32en  14:30, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree absolutely with #2, and there are a large amount of secondary literature on this subject that will be great once they are included. This article is 10 hours old!

on #1 -when the perpetrator of an attack explicitly describes specific events as motivations, it is not original research, or a misrepresentation, to list them. - it would be different if, say, bin Laden wrote a book about cooking and one went though it looking for 9/11 motives. That would definetly be synthesis. - But the transcripts to his videos, are VERY clear that their purpose is to explain the attacks. '"So I shall talk to you about the story behind those events and shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken, for you to consider."[1] -2004 Osama bin Laden video' I support the changes you've made, (the Bosnian war reference was somewhat synthetic, as it was mentioned in a letter about the saudi government) -despite the fact that it destroys many hours of my work. Though above all, i absolutely support this page's right to exist, I have asked User:RHaworth to defend his prod. cheers Spencerk (talk) 10:02, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

What Bin Laden presents as his motivations and what the actual motivations were may be two different things. That's why we need independent secondary reliable sources. This is not an article about a subject (i.e. Bin Laden), where self-published sources can be used more freely. The different historical events were presented as if they would revolve around those aspects that are mentioned in Bin Ladens published opinions. We need to distance our presentation from this, not just by taking a different viewpoint than Bin Laden, but by putting his thoughts and themes into context. We can save a lot of arduous work if we look out for appropriate secondary sources that have been published on the issue, instead of trying to recount a large part of the history of international relations in the last 20 years without reference to such sources.  Cs32en  22:00, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
  • after a few months of development, now with 26 reputable references, i've removed this tag. The article is much better now than day 1, when the tag was added. great work everyone Spencerk (talk) 21:51, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I think it's troublesome that Cs32en presents a scenario (probably defendable under certain interpretation of wiki policy) where the factual statements that are easily verifiable cannot be presented in the article but in their place should be the spin placed on them by political pundits aka "analysts". So I recognize your point and it could even be successfully wikilawyered to stand but there is precedent in other historical events for documents presented at face value.
Related, it is a logical fallacy to reject clearly stated grievances (as stated in the 1998 fatwa) in favor of speculative ulterior motivations by the principals, since the fatwa was used to recruit supporters and operatives and was the stated platform of the group. Some say OBL wanted political power and didn't really care about a million dead Iraqis. Well since he doesn't get an ounce of political capital unless he advances the goals of his supporters whose position they believe they share, speculation about such ulterior goals is irrelevant. I think the article is pretty well done the way it is now, I don't think it would be well served to have too much "spin" content added.
Lastly, it seems OBL has written a lot of rambling manifesto style rants about this matter, even his first fatwa is in this style. other comments he made or statements in video clips do not have the weight and binding of a Shiite Fatwa by someone authorized to issue one, as he and those signatory to the 1998 document were. The 1998 version being the collective fatwa of several jihadist entities should thus be the primary rationale to be considered, though of course not exclusive. Batvette (talk) 11:42, 22 March 2011 (UTC)


im inclined to remove User:RHaworth's prod, as no defence is given Spencerk (talk) 20:32, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

I just removed the template. I do not think it is helpful if such templates are inserted without describing the concerns on the talk page in some detail. Also, I think that authors should be given appropriate time (2 weeks) to improve the article. My concerns are WP:OR, WP:SYNTH, WP:COATRACK and duplication of information that is already present elsewhere in the encyclopedia.  Cs32en  22:08, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Removed the section[edit]

I removed the section motivating that bin-laden attacked USA for her support for Israel per this book--Mbz1 (talk) 17:53, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Mbz1: could you explain the rationale for deletion? Reliable sources describe many possible, even conflicting, motivations for the attacks. Regarding "US support of Israel": there are many reliable, notable sources that say that was a motivation, including the book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer. I understand that there may be sources that say it was _not_ a motivation (perhaps that book you mention?) but that is no reason to delete that section. Instead, in that section, we could say "The source SSS in book BBB claims that support of Israel is not one of the motivations". That way all the information is given to the reader. Is it okay to restore that section with that new sentence added? --Noleander (talk) 18:35, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Any motive is a pure speculation. A normal person cannot comprehend a motive of a madman. My reason for the removal of the section was provided above. The section should not be put back.--Mbz1 (talk) 20:46, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I dont think this article is trying to comprehend anything: it is trying to capture the assertions of notable sources on the subject. I looked at that link you supplied above, but I couldn't find anything in it related to "support of Israel was not a motivation". Could you provide the relevant quote from that book? And, after we have the quote here, could you explain how that quote from the book causes the assertion in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (page 67) to be something that should be omitted from this article? Or how it makes the "Encyclopedia of Terrorism" something we cannot cite? Thanks. --Noleander (talk) 20:52, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I will not provide the quote from the book here. It cannot be copied, and I see no reason to type it. Please read it from the link.--Mbz1 (talk) 20:56, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Okay, could you name the page number and paragraph number (on the page)? Should we try an RFC to resolve this impasse? --Noleander (talk) 20:58, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
It is page 53, actually, when I hit the link, it is the very first statement I see. I believe continuing discussion here should be good enough.--Mbz1 (talk) 21:13, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
The first 2 sentences on that page are "In fact Osama Bin Laden only paid lip-service to Palestine till the end of 2001. Training to bomb the World Trade Center was initiated before the second Palestine intifadata...". Hmmm. I dont see how that means that "support of Israel was not a motivation for the attack". In fact, I dont see any mention of motivation in those sentences. Am I missing something? --Noleander (talk) 22:14, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I hope you'd agree that, if in his speeches bin laden hardly mention Palestine at all, it means that 9/11 planning had nothing to do with Israel. I believe that jihadists strike, when and where they can, as we saw it in London, Madrid, Moscow, Beslan and other places. They even kill their own people absolutely innocent Muslim women and children. That's why any so called "motives" is nothing more than speculations, "motives" without any facts to prove them even more so. I suggest we wait for few more people to comment on the issue now.--Mbz1 (talk) 22:34, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it would be nice to get input from other editors.
Here is one (of many) sources that support inclusion of "US support of Israel" is a motivation. This is from The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer.
"When the CNN reporter Peter Arnett asked him in March 1997 why he had declared jihad against the United States, bin Laden replied, 'We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal, and tryrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous, and criminal, whether directly or through its support of the Israeli occupation of [Palestine]' .... Of all these themes, the notion of payback for injustices suffered by the Palestinians is perhaps the most powerful recurrent in bin Laden's speeches".
--Noleander (talk) 22:49, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
A single quote from 1997? Good fact really, and besides what else one may expect from the book with the name "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy"? As I said let's wait for input from other users.--Mbz1 (talk) 23:05, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
There are many, many notable, reliable sources that say that "US support of Israel was a motivation". Would you like me to supply some other sources that support that? --Noleander (talk) 23:15, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I am sure there are. Israel has always been a target. I need no more sources.--Mbz1 (talk) 23:29, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Okay. I only suggested more sources because you wrote "A single quote from 1997?" implying that one notable source was not sufficient. But maybe I misunderstood what your point was. --Noleander (talk) 23:33, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Mbz1: I think your most recent edit is a decent compromise. Thanks for working with me on this. --Noleander (talk) 15:47, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
yes, good job talking it out guys. The previous section was not very well defended. Osama talks about the us and israel all the time. I don't have access to the resources cited though, Noleander, could they help to make the section 'fleshed out'? quote them and stuff? cheers:) Spencerk (talk) 21:01, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Prpose re-name to use "Motives" rather than "Motivations"[edit]

The September 11 attacks article has a section on this article's topic, and the section is named "Motive". This article uses the word "Motivations". I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile changing the words to match each other. "Motive" seems more accurate .. it is used often in connection with crimes; whereas "motivation" (a more recent word, more prominent in US than UK) is often used for positive, cheer-leading, business or entertainment-related uses. I guess Im proposing to rename this article to "Motives of ...". Alternatively, if the word "motivation" is better, I suggest re-naming that section in the September 11 attacks article. Any comments? --Noleander (talk) 13:39, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

The dictionary definitions suggest that "motive" is more accurate, so I"m formally proposing to re-name this article to "Motives for the September 11 attacks". Note the change of the preposition from "of" to "for", since "of" refers to the motives of the attack, not the motives of the attackers. Of course, a re-direct would be left at the original article title. --Noleander (talk) 14:11, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Why "Muslim Fanaticism"?[edit]

What's the reason for the section titled "Muslim fanaticism"? All it says is that Walt and Mearsheimer have asserted that one motive was the support of Israel by the United States, which is already covered in the section above, but in a much more comprehensive and neutral manner. I'm getting rid of it.Stopzionistediting (talk) 00:06, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Why does this article not even show up on the first page when you google it?[edit] This is pretty unusual, isn't it? Seems like something fishy is going on here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:12, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

First result for me... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:21, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't control Google search results, and much depends (as usual) on your search terms. Acroterion (talk) 11:33, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Irrelevant - the search terms are the same, and are included in the link. Either way, a search produces this page at the top of the results now... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:13, 18 May 2014 (UTC)