9/11 terrorist attack used to justify neverending War on Terror
15 years after 9/11, the United States is still engaged in a seemingly never-ending War on Terror now fought in new countries and continents. | wikimedia.org
The 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks sets a subtly important milestone in the so-called War on Terror. It was an important day not only to remember the Americans who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but to also assess our response to terrorism and the success of our global excursion to root out terrorism from the globe. And so far, our response to terrorism has been overtly unsuccessful and even incredibly harmful.
Unsuccessful and Incredibly Harmful
Most Americans are unaware of how dangerously expansive the War on Terror is and the political and economic implications it has on both international and domestic affairs. The War on Iraq has been a disaster. Authors of a report titled “Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the ‘War on Terror’” reveals how the invasion and occupation of Iraq by American forces has resulted in the death of more than 1 million Iraqis — 5 percent of the country’s population. Sectarian violence and the rise of ISIS are the most prominent consequences of the war, but the way US forces fought the war was highly controversial. The scandalous use of private defense contractors and private military corporations during the Iraqi occupation was criticized even by American soldiers based in Iraq. The Coalition Provisional Authority used Blackwater mercenaries to provide security to American diplomats — mercenaries involved in the massacre of 28 civilians in what is infamously now deemed Iraq’s “Bloody Sunday.”
A Blank Check on War
The US is currently in a war against ISIS, but it is important to note the invasion of Iraq directly led to the creation of the terrorist group. Jeremy Scahill reports how Paul Bremer, the leader of the CPA, fired thousands of Iraqi civil servants and disbanded the Iraqi military. Many of those former soldiers joined ISIS.
Outside of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the War on Terror continues to grow, justified by the little-known Authorization for Use of Military Forces. Andrew Bacevich writes in TomDispatch how the authorization grants the president the ability to wage war anywhere and by any means necessary. The War on Terror changed how the modern-day presidency operates, and Bacevich describes it as “writing a black check on war for the president.”
Justification of Failure
The War on Terror is not looking good. “Mission creep” is being used to justify failed military objectives. The US expands its destructive bombing campaign to Libya. Drone bases are being constructed across Africa and special forces are currently operating in approximately 135 countries. The CIA was caught operating torture centers from Romania to Egypt and the government’s track record at Guantanamo continues to be a dark stain in history.
It has been 15 years since 9/11, and it seems like the middle Eastern wars have no end in sight. We are stuck in a state of perpetual war, and most Americans are unaware of the consequences. The United States must pull out of the Middle East before our imperial ambitions bury us in the sand.