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Subject: Book Report/Review, History and Political Science Date: Topic: The Looming Tower - Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 Introduction: Lawrence Wright in “The Looming Tower” discusses certain towering personalities whose shadow has been looming large over America, for quite some time…
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Download file to see previous pages... He articulates many indications ignored by U.S. intelligence that ultimately paves the way for the ghastly incidents of 9/11. They ignore the obvious warnings. After introducing hardcore Muslim leaders like Sayyid Qutb, Ayman al-Zawahiri he mentions for the first time in Chapter three Osama bin Laden, the seventeenth of the 57 sons of Muhammad bin Laden. America’s action in “occupying” Saudi Arabia, the land of two holy mosques, antagonizes Laden, and the country becomes his enemy number one. Wright provides detailed explanations as to why it is tough for America to defend against al Qaeda. Terrorists now are an enlightened lot. They can strike anywhere at the most unsuspected time because the network has attained international dimensions. Al Qaeda has the capacity to initiate a series of suicide attacks simultaneously at important targets. The radical ideology appeals to the combustible younger generation of Muslims. Wright’s narratives are personality driven, and hero worship is one of the aspects of the fundamentalism of Muslims. A well-researched historical novel: Wright makes two important observations. Al Qaeda is a strong organization and it continues to grow and America should not misread its strength. Various agencies dealing in security in America, do not have a serious working understanding, and he thinks that 9/11 attacks could have been prevented. America fails to take into account possible grave threat to which again agency infightings and personality conflicts are responsible. Voluminous literature is available relating to the 9/11 incidents. Lawrence Wright has availed this opportunity to write a historical novel, and holds mirror of the Muslim mind. To be complacent about al Qaeda is a fatal error on the part of America, he cautions. It is a character-driven synthesis, and the details are well-researched. His storytelling is like that of an able fiction writer. The facts tendered by him are difficult to reject. The story is told through his characters, the ones who have direct experience of the events and maintains the narrative quality. He is not a passive onlooker for the narration by the concerned character, but remains directly involved. His arduous task in the accomplishment of this book is the outcome of six hundred interviews, traveling without intermission for about 5 years, and reference library of 150 books, besides many thousands of documents. Bin Laden as a person: What sort of a character Bin Laden is? He is both human and demon. When Fatima wishes to get some tapes, Zaynab advises her that she will do so on the condition that Bin Laden should not listen to them, because he is very stubborn. But the children do not share this view. To them, he is simply a human being, like any other father. Bin Laden as the leader of jihad movement: To Wright, motivation behind the 9/11 attack is more important than the attack itself. He wants to reveal the true Muslim mind, its incorrigible aspect. Those planning and implementing the counter-terrorism mechanisms need to take this as a serious warning. The defeat of Soviet Union is the victory of jihad, Bin Laden gloats and he takes the entire credit for that success and thinks that it is a great shot in the arm for al Qaeda. As Wright argues, "[Bin Laden] actually believed the fable, promoted by the Saudi press, that his Arab legion had brought down the mighty superpower," (165) Now jihad owns the expanded cause of challenging America. He sees ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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