Blog 3: The War on Terror: Post 9/11
“The costs have been staggering in almost every respect. The estimated three to 4.4 trillion dollars Washington has incurred either directly or indirectly in conducting the “global war on terror” account for a substantial portion of the fiscal crisis that transformed the country’s politics and brought it to the edge of bankruptcy last month.
And while the U.S. military remains by far the strongest in the world, its veil of invincibility has been irreparably pierced by the success with which rag-tag groups of guerrillas have defied and frustrated it” (Jim Lobe, U.S.: Al Qaeda’s Project for Ending the American Century Largely Succeeded, September, 8, 2011).
It was with disbelief and shock that people around the world saw footage of the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001 when the planes-turned-missiles slammed into the World Trade Center towers and damaged the Pentagon. I remember being in the 9th grade at Southeast Raleigh High School.
This ultimately resulted in the US declaring and waging a war on “terror”. Osama Bin Laden was eventually tracked down and killed some 10 years later. But the way the war on terror has been conducted has led to many voicing concerns about the impact on civil liberties, the cost of the additional security focused changes, the implications of the invasions and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more.
It is now over a decade since the terrorist attacks in the US, simply dubbed “9-11” shocked the world, and ushered in a global “war on terror”. Moreover, looking back, what has the US to show for its decade of effort? Has it been winning the war on terror? It depends how it is measured. The killing of Osama Bin Laden was of course a major success, but however; the cost of vengeance (instead of justice) has also been high. Consider the following key points:
- A further turn towards hatred and a rise in those who think most Muslims are terrorists, that Islam is a threat to the world, etc. ( Let’s be realistic here, 19 men did these acts of terror, not an entire Religious group or affiliation of Muslims).
- Wars that have seen far more than the 3,500 deaths that the US saw, and a self-fulfilling prophecy; creating more anger and resentment against the US, more potential terrorists, and the complete opposite of what the neo-cons wanted; global downturn and US decline instead consolidating their power and position in the world.
- Over 6,000 US soldiers killed in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Possibly 100 times that number of civilians in those countries (in Iraq, at an early point, there was an estimated range of 400,000 to 900,000 civilian deaths, which of course Bush had to reject, claiming it used flawed techniques, even though it used estimation techniques his own government agencies taught others to use) (global issues.org).
Ultimately, 19 men committed 9/11, not the whole group of Muslim people. Society needs to learn tolerance and stop being xenophobic. I’m pretty sure that from a global perspective, some other developing countries look at us Americans as arrogant bullies who always stick our noses in other countries’ business affairs as well. From their point of view we bully them (other countries) in to a democracy. So, consider this before we start pointing fingers; the dominate narrative teaches us to believe that if you are anything other than American and you are Muslim, you are automatically marginalized and labeled as a “terrorist”. In actually they are a peaceful group of people who just happen to have a hand full of extremists, which is seemingly the case with any religious group or ethnicity.
Jim Lobe, U.S.: Al Qaeda’s Project for Ending the American Century Largely Succeeded, September, 8, 2011, retrieved September 27, 2013 from
U.S.: Al Qaeda’s Project for Ending the American Century Largely Succeeded