As we head into 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 were thrown into 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-Qaeda 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 has spent $ 6.4 trillion on what President George W. Bush has described as the “war on terror,” according to Brown University’s Costs of War project. This includes President Bush’s 2002 “Axis of Evil” State of the Union address when he extended the US assault on al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan to Iraq, the United States. Iran and North Korea.
The costs of the Iraq war are estimated at around $ 2,000 billion (or roughly $ 8,000 per US taxpayer). “When you count the cost of war, you can’t just count what the Defense Department spent on emergency funds overseas,” the project’s Stephanie Savell told Business Insider. “You need to look at other sets of costs, including interest on borrowed funds, increased war-related expenses, higher salaries to retain soldiers, medical care and care for the disabled after 9/11.” and veterans, etc. “
The Costs of War Project estimates that the United States has spent $ 2.2 trillion in Afghanistan, including $ 837 billion on “war” and $ 145 billion on Afghan reconstruction, the development of its national security forces which quit after 11 days this summer, along with anti-narcotics efforts. .
There were 2,352 American servicemen who were killed in Afghanistan and 20,000 who were injured. During the Iraq war, 4,431 American soldiers were killed and 31,944 were wounded. These human costs are incalculable, defying any dollar amount on a spreadsheet.
According to a 2018 Center of Public Integrity study, the United States spent $ 2.8 trillion to fight terrorism and increase security at airports, transportation hubs, utilities, schools, and more. The authors noted that since September 11, 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 that are better spent elsewhere,” 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 American and Western democracies into a multibillion dollar spending spree, he sought to divide us.
America emerged from September 11 in a united fashion, which lasted less than five years. Between September 11, 2001 and the 2006 midterm elections which saw Democrats retake Congress after the invasion of Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney called on the CIA to create “dark places” for crush the 9/11 terrorists. There were the Abu Graib prison scandals that undermined President Bush’s declared collision between “good and evil”.
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 an interim government filled with old guard terrorists on the list of USA’s most searched.
And in Gitmo, the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, appeared in what has been described as the “Eternal Trial” which included nine years of pre-trial hearings. KSM entered the Guantanamo courtroom wearing a turban and an orange-tinted beard. He greeted the reporters.
KSM had been submerged 183 times. He had “confessed” to having orchestrated the attacks of September 11 “from A to Z”, as well as the beheading of the journalist of the Wall Street Journal Daniel Pearl. US prosecutors are asking for the death penalty, which has since called into question his confession.
America today would make Osama bin Laden smile. We are so culturally divided that we cannot even join forces to take a damn vaccine to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Our collective confidence in government is at the 20th percentile. We are in debt over $ 22 trillion while Social Security will be bankrupt by the end of this decade.
In the December 18, 2003 edition of Howey Politics, I quoted US Representative Steve Buyer: “This is not the century we expected. The Russian bear has been replaced by a thousand vipers.
In the Howey Politics edition of September 13, 2001, Dave Kitchell of the Logansport Pharos-Tribune observed: “If Tuesday has served to do something for the country, it has reminded us all that we are Americans and that we do not. not repaid the mortgage our freedom. We only refinanced it. The citizenship test that immigrants to this country must pass before they say they are Americans is just one type of test. But the US 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. “
Brian Howey is the editor of Howey Politics Indiana at www.howeypolitics.com. Find Howey on Facebook and Twitter @hwypol.