Osama bin Laden was a very evil man but he knew exactly what he was doing when he attacked the United States on 9/11. His target, the World Trade Center, was a symbol of Western Civilization. Al Qaeda was symbolically destroying the West. Their goal: sparking a civilizational war between the Islamic world and the West. Bin Laden may have killed a lot of people in the 9/11 attacks, but killing people was not his most important goal.