Attacks’ effects felt everywhere

Valerie Dennis

The deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history took place Tuesday in New York City and Washington, D.C., but the effects are felt throughout the entire world.

“This is the biggest thing that has happened since the bombing of Pearl Harbor,” said Steffen Schmidt, university professor of political science. “During World War II, we were never attacked by enemy forces. This is an attack on the mainland, and the civilian casualties are huge.”

The U.S. government is paralyzed by the attack, because all the attention is on it and everything is shut down, Schmidt said.

“I see some serious military action taking place,” he said. “In the meantime, everything will be disrupted. We have no government, because all the buildings are evacuated. We have to re-establish our government. Bush has to show unbelievable leadership. We need someone to inspire us and say everything is OK.”

Matthias Kaelberer, assistant professor of political science who lived in New York for a number of years, said he was shocked when he heard the news.

“I always thought the [World Trade Center] buildings to be vulnerable,” he said. “It’s unbelievable someone could coordinate something of this nature. It’s a highly coordinated group. It looks like it was a deliberate attempt to kill people.”

The World Trade Center was hit for a number of reasons, Kaelberer said.

“The trade towers are a symbol of the U.S. and capitalism,” he said. “There are a lot of people there and there’s a lot of power within the building. If you want to damage both symbolism and power at the same time, there is no better place than this.”

The United States should wait to blame anyone before it can link a group to the terrorist acts, Kaelberer said.

“If it’s an international terrorist group, it’s going to be hard to find them and punish them,” he said. “Many people involved are already dead. It will be hard to find the mastermind.”

The attempt was to kill as many people as possible, Kaelberer said. Some types of terrorist groups try to kill as many people as possible, but that doesn’t give much of a clue as to who might have done this, he said.

“The [World Trade Center] is a symbol of New York and a center of the financial world,” Kaelberer said. “The Pentagon is the center for military power. It has symbolic reasons and lots of casualties.”

The stock market closed Tuesday morning in response to the attacks.

Peter Orazem, professor of economics, said the stock market doesn’t drop because of an event, but because of the uncertainty the event causes.

“A lot of traders’ offices were in the Trade Center, so the market had to shut down,” he said. “Also, the stock exchange was a potential target. Many traders don’t exist anymore, so the market was shut down until everything is up and running again.”

Stock prices depend on expectations of future growth, Orazem said.

“Until the uncertainty is cleared up, people move out of forward-looking events, such as the stock market,” he said. “How long it will be closed is unclear. I don’t see any long-term problems with the market.”

Often times people overreact during situations similar to this when they are nervous, Orazem said.

“This event affects political stability and world peace,” he said. “It makes people nervous which affects prices. Many times people overreact when they are nervous.”

Schmidt said the event will affect the political agenda.

“National security is the first responsibility to the government – it’s the most important thing they do,” he said. “This requires the U.S. to rethink how it deals with terrorist and national security issues.”

Marvin Meek, professor and chairman of military science and tactics, said the military science department was not affected and will continue with normal business.

“This is a national tragedy for every American,” he said. “It’s terrible.”

Paul Ladd, professor and chairman of naval science, declined to comment.

“You can’t get a whole lot more attention than this is getting,” Schmidt said. “I have a feeling these people were after maximum impact.”