By any measure, America has lost the war on teror
In the adult since 2001, America has quite resoundingly lost the war on terror, as it has lost all of its wars on nouns. As far as terrorist attacks go 9/11 was a resounding success. America was terrorized, it damaged itself, and it spread terrorism across the globe.
Since 2001, America has lost thousands of soldiers, killed hundreds of thousands, spent trillions of dollars and essentially trained and exported terrorism. America has also shredded whatever moral leadership it had across the world, becoming a country of perpetual war, indefinite detention and torture. At home, they have created a bloated and cruel security state and made themselves less free.
By all accounts a successful attack.
This is the great threat of terrorism. It is not possible for terrorists to kill 500,000 people, including 7,000 soldiers. It’s not possible for them to inflict damages of over $5.9 trillion. But they were able to make America do that to themselves.
Thus the anniversary this year and every year is not how America defeated terrorism. It’s how they deeply and terribly lost, and continue losing to this day.
Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that Al Qaida won. They’re mostly dead, US troops and despots are still in the Middle East and while a caliphate did come closer than for hundreds of years, it was not under Al Qaida. This was not a case of to the victor go the spoils. It was just spoils.
If the stated goal was to defeat terrorism, that was a complete fail. There is now more terrorism than ever before, just in different places – Iraq, Syria, and spreading to Africa and South Asia. The blind focus on ‘Islamic’ terrorism has also blinded the West to the more significant (to them) scourge of white terrorism, which now has tacit support in the White House.
If the goal was to project American power that also an absymal fail. The American military losing in Vietnam was now obviously not a fluke. They have been unable to win in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years and Iraq was an L. They are a big military industrial complex capable of exporting murder, torture and abuse across the world, but they don’t actually win. They just keep destroying money, lives and any just leadership role America claimed in the world.
Finally, if the goal was creating a better world, that has gone worst of all. 9/11 propped up an incompetent, cruel and corrupt American President who legitimized torture, killed hundreds of thousands, wasted trillions and created a noxious ‘anti-terror’ ideology that shredded Americans own rights at home. To the people who died, were displaced and who continue to suffer torture in the Middle East, there is no relief or justice. They are just the bit players in films Hollywood will make about white people who got traumatized by killing them.
The wild success of 9/11 has actually made terrorism a more appealing tactic, as every country now has predictably destructive reactions, wherein elites thrive off terrorism to excuse any awful behavior with no accountability, following the American blueprint of leadership under terror, often with direct American training in their incompetent methods.
In short, 9/11 is not some thing in the past that America overcame. It changed them irrevocably, and for the worse. And the collateral has been the lives and dignity of millions of people acorss the world. History may look back on this as the barbarian attack that ultimately felled the great empire, though they thought they were #winning all the way down.