Osama bin Laden: Genius Criminal Mastermind behind 9/11 Attacks

Posted by | Filed under Military | Sep 11, 2011 | Tags: , , |
Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden reads books

Stephen Hawking, move over. The most talked about public intellectual for the past 10 years has been none other than the mastermind behind the attacks on 9/11, Osama bin Laden. His intellectual prowess dwarfs that of mere run of the mill terrorists. Only an uncommonly beautiful mind could conceive of a plan so perfect that, despite a scant inherited net worth estimated at only $300 million dollars [1], he was able to kill 3000 people on September 11th, 2001 – impressive.

9/11 is unquestionably Osama’s pièce de résistance, though many overlook his early masterworks which include: a hotel bombing in Yemen in 1992 that killed two Austrian tourists [2], but failed to kill any of the presumed targets, the US troops who had been staying there – inspired.

One must not forget the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In this expertly executed plot, the organization of which is attributed to Mr. bin Laden [3], 224 people were killed; of those, 12 were Americans [4]. A hit rate of roughly 5% may not exactly sound impressive on the surface, but the ordinary human brain will find it difficult to fathom the methods of a terrorist savant the likes of Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden’s magnum opus was his masterminding of the September 11th attacks. This plot involved the well-known vulnerability of the ease of hijacking planes. Before 9/11/01, even knives with blades less than 4 inches were not “expressly prohibited [5],” and the FAA’s policy on hijackings “taught flight crews that the best way to deal with hijackers was to accommodate their demands.” The reason this policy basically worked was because historically, people do not want to kill themselves, and that includes hijackers [6].

Bin Laden’s genius was to exploit the above vulnerabilities by convincing crazy people to fly airplanes into buildings, but not just any buildings. The buildings were chosen strategically. Firstly, the World Trade Center buildings in New York City were symbols of our nation’s power and prestige. They were once the tallest buildings in the world. 50,000 people worked there on a typical day, with well over a 100,000 average daily visitors [7].



Of the 50,000 people that normally worked there, plus those that frequented the World Trade Center, 2,823 people died. A very conservative estimate puts his hit ratio at roughly 17%. This unusually low ratio, for a mastermind, can be attributed to the time, 8:46AM (before the typical work day starts), and day (election day, causing many to be absent or late for work) that the attack took place. Masterminds can make mistakes too (see “Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius” by Hans C. Ohanian.)

The second target was the Pentagon. The Pentagon is a symbol of our nation’s military power, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, and one of the world’s largest office buildings [8]. It was also the site of a recent massive structural renovation program intended to heavily reinforce the walls [9], specifically the walls on the side of the building where American 77 hit. That meant that not only were the walls particularly sturdy where the plane hit, but that many offices were unoccupied because of the renovation, sparing a countless number of lives [10]. This can mostly be attributed to bad luck for Osama bin Laden. It is a Pentagon. There was 1/5th of a chance of that happening.

Finally the last target was an empty field in Pennsylvania. Some hypothesize they were aiming for a different target, if so, 3 out of 4 ain’t bad. The hijackers were not the masterminds after all…

Osama bin Laden had some tough breaks, but through it all he accomplished his goals: to start a war in the Middle East that killed an estimated 288,000 Muslims [11], and be murdered by a U.S. soldier 10 years later in a gorgeous mansion.


[1] http://www.forbes.com/2001/09/14/0914ladenmoney.html
[2] http://www.sptimes.com/News/092301/Worldandnation/Osama_bin_Laden__a_ch.shtml
[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/eafricabombing/stories/indict121798.htm
[4] http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/02/us-binladen-events-idUSTRE7411F920110502
[5] http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Ch3.htm
[6] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1578183.stm
[7] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/aug/18/usa.terrorism
[8] http://pentagon.osd.mil/facts.html
[9] http://www.fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build03/PDF/b03017.pdf
[10] http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/pentagon/analysis/latimes_leastvulnerable.html
[11] http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/11/30/why_they_hate_us_ii_how_many_muslims_has_the_us_killed_in_the_past_30_years

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