I’m sure this might ruffle a few feathers, but I’m sitting here in 2014 and I just can’t shake this feeling that what we’re seeing right now might have been what Osama bin Ladin was hoping for all along.
Going back to September 11, 2001, the horrors we all felt that day seemed insurmountable. But as bad as those attacks were, they weren’t going to bring us down. They were horrifying and monstrous, but they were never going to “defeat” us.
Osama bin Ladin had to have known this. In fact, he had to have known that by orchestrating these attacks, it would undoubtedly pull us into war. And that’s exactly what it did.
But ultimately it’s a war we could never win – because you can never really “beat” terrorism. In fact, a war against terrorism typically only breeds more terrorists.
Now I don’t think Osama figured Bush would end up starting a war in Iraq (though I actually predicted he would find some reason to do it soon after he was elected), but I do wonder if his initial goal was to lure the United States into a war that he knew we could never win.
If you can’t directly defeat the United States, wouldn’t it make sense to try to make the United States defeat itself?
And isn’t that what we ultimately almost ended up doing? We:
- Spent trillions fighting two wars that ultimately have accomplished very little.
- Are more divided politically than at any other time since the Civil War.
- Lost more American lives fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq than we did on September 11, 2001.
- Are more hated internationally than possibly at any other time in our history.
- Passed the Patriot Act which has caused millions of Americans to lose all trust in our own government.
- Doubled our national debt.
- Crashed our economy.
- Ruined relationships with some of our allies.
- Devastated the lives of thousands of veterans who came back from our wars with permanent disabilities.
Honestly, the list could just keep going. Basically since September 11, 2001 this country has been in disarray.
Now, am I saying we shouldn’t have responded after the attack? Absolutely not. Though I go back and forth with it because I knew then that we were never going to “win” the war. This wasn’t World War II. There was no defined enemy leadership to conquer. At the same time, we couldn’t just do nothing. But even after the killing of Osama bin Ladin, are we really “safer”? Did we really “win” anything outside of a feeling of finally bringing to justice the mastermind behind the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001?
His death was symbolic, sure. But it didn’t signal “winning the war” like the defeat of Adolf Hitler did during World War II. Bin Ladin was one man, there are plenty more waiting to take his place.
But going back, looking at how George W. Bush handled everything post-9/11, I just can’t help but think to myself, “Did Bush end up giving Osama bin Ladin almost exactly what he wanted?”
The war in Afghanistan really had no structure. We went over there with a “goal” of getting Osama bin Ladin. Great. But say we had gotten him early on, then what? We killed him in 2011, did that suddenly stop terrorism from existing around the world? Did the war come to a screeching halt?
Of course not, because he was just one man.
Then Bush took us into Iraq, using the 9/11 attacks as fuel to drive our fears following such a heinous terrorist attack. Again, am I saying bin Ladin assumed this would happen? No. But it happened nonetheless.
And to not mince words, the war in Iraq has been nothing but a massive disaster. We removed Saddam from power – then what?
That seemed to be the only “plan” the Bush administration had, “Get Saddam!” But once he was gone, they had no clue what the heck to do. Which is why we spent nearly an entire decade following his removal from power at war.
A war that fatigued our military, drained our resources, ran up our deficits, divided our nation, killed thousands of Americans and ultimately destabilized Iraq to such an extent that Islamic radicals who are described as more radical than al Qaeda are now on the verge of taking the nation over.
And while the Bush administration claimed Iraq was a breeding ground for terrorism back in 2003, it damn sure is now.
So, for over a decade, this nation has been pushed to its limits both internationally by war and domestically as we fight amongst ourselves over what’s transpired since the 9/11 attacks.
And while I don’t know if Osama bin Ladin had some “master plan” to cause the aftermath we’ve seen in this country following the September 11 attacks, it seems Bush, through his incompetence, managed to play into exactly what bin Laden wanted done.
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