Three years ago this morning, two planes crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center. The U.S. was a victim of Usama bin Laden’s terrorist organization, Al Qaeda. The events of that day propelled our country to war with two other soverign nations, wars which did not result in the capture of bin Laden, wars that decimated a people’s infrastructure thousands of times more. Countless innocent bystanders – men, women, children, the elderly – were killed. I would not be out of line to claim that more innocent people were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq than people killed in the 9/11 attacks. I would not be out of line to say that the U.S. caused more damage to the livelihoods of two nations than the damage done to our homeland from the 9/11 attacks.
Had the Administration managed to capture bin Laden, maybe the passage of events these past few years would rest easier on my social consciousness. Had the Administration managed to avert actual weapons of mass destruction, maybe I would have conceded to the Administration’s wisdom to invade Iraq preemptively. Unfortunately, bin Laden is still at large and WMDs, to this day, have yet to be found in Iraq.
Instead, we have an employee of global oil companies as the Prime Minister of Afghanistan. As one of his first duties, this new PM, signed agreements to allow a huge oil pipeline to be constructed through the country – an agreement that the previous government refused to sign.
Instead, we have hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops guarding oil refineries in Iraq as opposed to looking for WMDs. That is because WMDs do not exist in Iraq, and the reason for the invasion now has been flipped to “freeing the Iraqi people from a repressive regime.” A foreign policy such as that would lead our country to invading North Korea, China, Cuba and a handful of other countries around the world that the State Department has defined as “repressive.”
It has been three years, and the threat of terrorist attacks against the United States is no less than before. We have not resolved the underlying cause for why people resort to terrorist activities in the first place – why men and women with family, with children, of a community would choose to involve themselves in organizations like Al Qaeda.
The sad fact is that the majority of the American people truly believe that the hatred these terrorists have for us is unfounded. The majority of people in this country sincerely believe that the U.S. provides too much aid and helps too many oppressed people to warrant accusations of exploiting the resources of other nations. The sad fact is that there are many citizens who feel that it is jealousy and victimization that lead some people to terrorism. It never occurs to them that maybe the situation is a lot more complicated than that.
The elimination of terrorist leaders around the world will not lead us to a safer tomorrow. Disenfranchisement of people, poverty, lack of opportunity, foreign exploitation of domestic resources, and governments protected by the might of a foreign power are factors that contribute to the problem.