hunting bin laden
Links: A Selection of Background Reading
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Is It the U.S. v. Islam?
This section was compiled and published on the Web for FRONTLINE's original 1999 report on Osama bin Laden. It explores the fears and concerns of one Muslim-American community in Texas following the 1998 U.S. embassy terrorist bombings in East Africa. It also links to articles by the eminent scholar of Islamic civilization, Bernard Lewis, and offers a book excerpt written by foreign policy expert Samuel P. Huntington, which examines Islam's worldwide revival.

Countering the Changing Threat of International Terrorism
This is the 2000 report of the National Commission on Terrorism, which was set up by Congress in the aftermath of the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Recent commentators have called the report prescient--the commission predicted that there would be a terrorist attack on the United States on the scale of Pearl Harbor. It also noted that our multibillion dollar counterterrorism effort designed to thwart and warn against such an attack is plagued by procedures that have made it difficult for the CIA to employ "the services of clandestine informants" while the FBI "suffers from bureaucratic and cultural obstacles in obtaining terrorism information." (PDF version)

Coming to Grips With Jihad
A collection of three articles from The Atlantic Monthly explores the origins and consequences of the Islamic fundamentalist "struggle," or jihad, against the U.S. Historian Bernard Lewis, in "The Roots of Muslim Rage" (September 1990), addresses the question of "why so many Muslims deeply resent the West"; journalist Mary Anne Weaver, in "Blowback" (May 1996), traces how the CIA's operations in Afghanistan contributed to the rise of Osama bin Laden; and correspondent Robert D. Kaplan, in "The Lawless Frontier" (September 2000), reports from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and describes the Taliban's destabilizing influence on the region.

The Counterterrorist Myth
Also from The Atlantic Monthly, this July 2001 article by Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former official in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, argues that the U.S. counterterrorism program in the Middle East and its environs is virtually nonexistent.

The Biggest Foundation
"The Biggest Foundation," written by Edith Iglauer for The New Yorker in 1972, chronicles the challenges that engineers faced in constructing the twin towers of the World Trade Center, which were, at the time, the two largest buildings in the world. Part of a package of articles and profiles that The New Yorker has posted online, Iglauer's piece is accompanied by a profile of Osama bin Laden, written in 2000 by Mary Anne Weaver, and reporting by Michael Specter on the events of September 11, 2001.

REPORTING ON THE TERRORIST ATTACK OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

Time: Exclusive Photo Essay, Shattered
Along with its continuously updated coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Time posted this collection of 14 photos by award-winning photojournalist James Nachtwey.

Commission Warned Bush
Salon.com's Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, reports on the findings of the Hart-Rudman Commission. The commission, a bipartisan entity chaired by two former U.S. senators, Gary Hart (D-Colo.) and Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), studied issues of national security for over two years and issued its findings in January 2001. According to Tapper, both the White House and the national news media paid little attention to the commission's recommendations for dealing with domestic terrorism. He quotes Hart as saying, "We predicted it. We said Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers."

EDITORIAL RESPONSES

It Happened Here
The editors of The New Republic call for rethinking America's place in the world, starting with the "recognition that we are living in a new era of anti-Americanism."

Terror in America
Middle East reporter Robert Fisk writes in The Nation that we have to examine the idea of "mindless" terrorism if we are ever to realize just how hated America has become. There are reasons, he says, for anti-American sentiment.

THE EMBASSY BOMBINGS AND TRIALS

CNN.com Law Center
CNN offers extensive materials relating to the U.S. embassy bombings trial, including transcripts of testimony, court documents, analysis, and commentary.

RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN

Teachers' Guide to the Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.
The Online NewsHour has assembled a forum space for students to discuss the terrorist attacks, along with a detailed background report. In "A World At Peace," a lesson plan designed for students in grades 2-6, students are encouraged to explore the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights and then use photo galleries and other resources to imagine and write about a world at peace. There are also links to sites that are designed to help students deal with violence and death, such as "Sesame Street's 'Tragic Times, Healing Words.'"
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