9/11 – 20 YEARS ON

MISERABLE FAILURE AND TERRIBLE COSTS OF “WAR ON TERROR”

By the end of September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 Americans were dead, and the US was at war.

At war with whom?

That was an unanswered question 20 years ago. The then president GW Bush appeared to declare this nebulous war against the whole planet. Or against one man. Take your pick.

“We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts, and those who harbor them,” President George W. Bush told the nation the evening of 9/11, promising to “win the war against terrorism.” 

By contrast, this is what the Truth in Media said at the time (see Collateral Damage Hits Home, 9/11/2001):

“No war is pretty.  But the one that George W. Bush and his warmongering cohorts are promising the nation will probably take the cake in terms of ugliness.  It will be the most grotesque and pathetic war in mankind’s history.  It will be a war fought by honorable American men and women who have been duped into wasting their lives for a losing cause.  President Bush is painting himself and our troops into a corner with his no-win scenario.

Even before the first shots are fired, we will have lost that war.  Why?  Because Bush wants to lead America, a nation of 281 million people, the greatest power in the history of the world, into war against ONE man?! 

Such an act would only underline our WEAKNESS, not to mention inanity.  Dead or alive, Osama bin Laden is guaranteed to end up a martyr.  And we, the victims of the September 11 attack, are sure to look like aggressive fools in the eyes of the world.  We will continue to be despised, hated and attacked whenever possible.”

Twenty years later, the terrible toll of this prophecy can be tallied. The mission would spiral into a two-decade quagmire, paid for with trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives. Twenty years later, a sober evaluation reveals massive expenditure and little gain” (see Collateral Damage Hits Home, 9/11/2001).

Here’s an excerpt from today’s RT.COM editorial which sums up the terrible human and financial costs of the US “war on terror.”

WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

The war in and occupation of Afghanistan cost the United States more than $2.3 trillion dollars, a figure that doesn’t take into account another half a trillion dollars of interest owed on money borrowed to fight the war, and $233 billion paid caring for the nearly 21,000 veterans wounded in Afghanistan.

Flag-draped transfer cases of US military service members who were killed by an August 26 suicide bombing at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport line the inside of a C-17 Globemaster II prior to a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, August 29, 2021

According to US government sources, 2,325 American troops were killed in Afghanistan, along with 1,144 allied soldiers, 85,000 opposition fighters, and 70,000 Afghan civilians

The US quickly dislodged the Taliban from power, and Bin Laden was eventually gunned down by Navy SEALs in Pakistan in 2011. Instead of leaving, the US troops and civilians remained in an effort to remake Afghanistan as a democracy. The mission was an abject failure, with the Afghan National Army crumbling before the Taliban’s advance this summer, and the US-backed government abdicating and fleeing Afghanistan as the militants closed in on Kabu.

After 20 years and four US presidents, Afghanistan is back under Taliban control, and reports have already surfaced of Al-Qaeda members operating within its borders once again (also see HE SHOOTING WAR IS OVER, NOW THE FALLOUT BEGINS – AND IT WILL BE WORSE, Sep 4, 2021).

WAR IN IRAQ

A US Marine covers the face of a statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with a US flag in Baghdad, Iraq, April 9, 2003

By mid-afternoon on September 11, 2001, the Bush administration was already looking for an excuse to pin the attacks on Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asked his aides to gather information “good enough to hit SH (Saddam Hussein) at [the] same time” as Osama Bin Laden, instructing them to “sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

The US invaded Iraq in March 2003, with a ‘shock and awe’ bombing campaign preceding a lightning-fast mechanized advance. The initial military operation was a success, and Bush infamously declared “mission accomplished” less than two months after the invasion began.  However, the invasion gave way to a protracted insurgency and a power vacuum that led to the horrifying rise of the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). 

A small number of US troops remain in Iraq and, to date, the war has cost the United States roughly $1.2 trillion and claimed the lives of more than 4,500 US troops and wounded more than 32,000. As many as 200,000 Iraqi civilians were killed, and the country’s economy and infrastructure was wrecked by years of fighting.

US Army soldiers secure the scene after a blast outside the headquarters of the US-led administration in Baghdad , Iraq, January 18, 2004

Saddam Hussein had no links to the 9/11 attacks and was not harboring weapons of mass destruction, as the US and allies initially insisted. 

PERMANENT WAR

When Congress granted Bush authorization to hunt down Osama Bin Laden, it issued a blanket ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists’ (AUMF) that granted the president authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against anyone suspected of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, no matter how tangentially. ALSO ON RT.COMBiden’s promise to stop interfering in other countries is a lie. He’ll double-down on the US’s global drone assassination program

The AUMF has been renewed every year since, and has been invoked to justify military action in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. None of these operations conclusively benefited US national security.

DOMESTIC CRACKDOWN

At home, the 9/11 attacks resulted in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the most significant reorganization of government since the Defense Department was created in 1947. 

The passage of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2002 dramatically expanded the power of law enforcement agencies to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans, allowed the indefinite detention without trial of immigrants, and changed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process, granting permission for Americans to be spied on as foreign agents once were, and as the FBI did on Trump’s campaign in 2016.

As the CIA abducted and tortured terror suspects worldwide, an emboldened FBI hunted down would-be attackers within the US. In many cases, the agency arrested suspects in dubious sting operations or entrapped young men who otherwise may never have committed any acts of terrorism.

THE CATCHALL POLITICAL PHRASE: “UNITY”

In his today’s 9/11 speech, Joe Biden called for unity after leaving Afghanistan with a tail betweel his legs. Twenty years ago, GW Bush also called called for unity when going to war in Afghanistan. Only fools would have falled for that. Alas, there were plenty of such people back then.

Here’s what the Truth in Media said about such “unity” in September 2001:

Truth in Media, June 11, 2002
Biden checks his watch while coffins of American soldiers are being unloaded at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Aug 29, 2021

WHAT IF THE US SPENT THAT KIND OF MONEY ON PEACEFUL PROJECTS?

The US “war on terror” has cost the taxpayers some $5.8 trillion, not counting the cost of hundreds of thousands of lost lives. What else could have the US government achieved had it spent it on peaceful purposes. Here are some answers that the RT.COM offered today:

  • $5.8 trillion would have funded veterans’ benefits and services for 26 years
  • $5.8 trillion would have covered Social Security for five years, with enough money left over to send every American man, woman, and child an $800 stimulus check
  • $4.5 trillion could have converted the US to an entirely renewable energy grid
  • $2.6 trillion, less than half of the war’s cost, would have completely modernized America’s aging infrastructure
  • $5.8 trillion could well have been enough to cover the cost of colonizing Mars and making humans an interplanetary species, according to estimates by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk

What else could have been achieved with $5.8 trillion?

Well, let your imagination fly.

The total cost of healthcare in the US is around $2.8 trillion. Which means that every man, woman and child in America could have had free healthcare for nearly two years had the government spent that kind of money on improving the nation’s quality of life instead of waging war.

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