LISTEN: It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since horror unfolded before our eyes.
We watched in disbelief as four commercial airliners full of people were hijacked by 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists on suicide missions.
Two of the planes were flown directly into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. A third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.
Robert Patman is a professor of international relations at Otago University. He says that initially, the response to the attacks by the Bush administration appeared promising.
"There was general international support from around the world for the administration bringing those responsible for those dreadful events in New York and Washington to account," he told Magic Talk.
But the response went "downhill" when President Bush expanded the perimeters for his war on terror from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2003.
"That was a shocking strategic misjudgement. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11," Prof Patman said.
Al-Qaeda, which had never got a foothold in Iraq before 2003, actually succeeded in doing so after the United States invaded the country.
"The war on terror lost momentum after the invasion of Iraq."
Listen to the full interview with Professor Robert Patman above.