As we just wrapped up a weekend commemorating the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, consider this question: Did Osama bin Laden win?
He was killed by US special forces ten years ago, his remains dumped in the Indian Ocean. But when you consider what his goals were when he attacked New York and Washington, he achieved much of what he wanted.
When al-Qaida attacked, the United States was the only superpower on the world stage, a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today there is a growing school of thought that we are lagging behind China.
America spent $ 6.4 trillion on what then President George W. Bush described as the “war on terror,” according to Brown University’s Costs of War project. This includes his State of the Union address on the “Axis of Evil” in 2002, when Bush extended the US assault on al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan to Iraq, Iran and the United States. North Korea.
The costs of the Iraq war are estimated at around $ 2,000 billion (or roughly $ 8,000 per US taxpayer). This includes interest on borrowed funds, increased war-related expenses, higher salaries to retain soldiers, post 9/11 medical and disability care and veterans, and more, Costs of War Project’s Stephanie Savell told Business Insider.
The Costs of War Project estimates that the United States has spent $ 2.2 trillion in Afghanistan, including $ 837 billion on fighting and $ 145 billion on Afghan reconstruction, developing its national security forces who have resigned. after 11 days this summer, as well as anti-narcotics efforts.
There have been 2,352 US servicemen killed in Afghanistan and 20,000 injured. During the Iraq war, 4,431 American soldiers were killed and 31,944 were wounded. These human costs are incalculable.
According to a 2018 Center of Public Integrity study, the United States spent $ 2.8 trillion on counterterrorism and strengthening security at airports, transportation hubs, utilities, schools, etc. The authors noted that since September 11, only 100 people have been killed by Muslims. extremists or jihadists in the United States, while more than 20,000 fentanyl (opioid) -related deaths occurred in 2016 alone.
“Some analysts conclude that spending $ 2.8 trillion on a terrorist threat that has killed relatively few people is a waste of increasingly scarce government resources …”, the report said. “Others may argue that the impact of terrorism is more psychological than physical, or that the low death toll from terrorism and the absence of another 9/11 scale attack suggests that the money was well spent. “
Osama bin Laden not only sought to force the United States and Western democracies into a multibillion dollar spending spree, he sought to divide us.
America emerged on September 11 in a united fashion that lasted less than five years. The Iraq war included then Vice President Dick Cheney asking the CIA to create “dark places” to spray 9/11 terrorists. There were the Abu Graib prison scandals that undermined the declared collision of good and evil by then President Bush.
In the week following President Biden’s surreal airlift of 120,000 Americans and Afghans out of Kabul airport during our final withdrawal, we saw the Taliban announce a caretaker government filled with old guard terrorists.
And in Gitmo, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed appeared in a trial that included nine years of preliminary hearings. KSM entered the Guantanamo courtroom wearing a turban and an orange-tinted beard. He greeted the reporters.
America today would make Osama bin Laden smile. We are so culturally divided that we cannot even join forces to take a vaccine to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Our collective confidence in government is at the 20th percentile. We are over $ 22 trillion in debt and projections indicate that Social Security will be bankrupt by the end of this decade.
In the September 13, 2001 edition of Howey Politics, Dave Kitchell of the Logansport Pharos-Tribune observed: “If Tuesday was about doing something for the country, it reminded us all that… freedom. We only refinanced it. … (T) he American citizenship character test is the one we’re all about to take, and it’s not on a printed form. We have to pass a national character test to prevent our golden door from being beaten like this again. “