Terrorism in the United States
eyears 1995 and 2001 stand out in recent U.S. history as the periods when this nation suffered from the two worst terrorist attacks that had ever occurred in the continental United States. The April 1995 bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City took the lives of 168 adults and children, and injured 850 others. Many other people were left with psychological scars. The Oklahoma City bombing was described as an act of domestic terrorism because it was attributed to two men who had no apparent connection to external enemies ofthe United States.
By contrast, external enemies (who had planted perpetrators in the United States) were believed to be . responsible for the attacks on New York' s World Trade Center, first in 1993 in the form of a bombing that killed six people and injured more than a thousand, and then in the 2001 destruction of the Trade Center's twin towers (and damage to the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C., that same morning) by suicide hijackers using passenger airplanes as lethal weapons. resulting in the deaths of almost three thousand people. Prior to the events of September I I, 2001, terrorism
in the form of biological and chemical attacks was considered by most analysts to be a remote possibility in the United States. However, with the deaths of postal workers and private citizens from the delivery of anthrax, suspicions deepened that, for the first time, terrorists- whether homegrown or international-might use germ warfare to achieve their subversive political goals. In the twenty-first century, people in the United States are confronted with threats of terrorism and problems associated with war that have been facts of life in some other countries for many years