20 Years Of Failure
President George W. Bush once said: “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.” After 20 years of outright hostility to political Islam, what did the U.S. do to thwart the spread of the so-called terrorist groups?
You can hardly find a balanced article presenting the human costs following the so-called war on terror, which supposedly aimed at nation-building, democratization, and ending terrorism. Nonetheless, as of 2017, it has become clear that the war on terror has destabilized the region while doing little or nothing to prevent terrorism in the US.
Most, if not all, media outlets securitize the MENA region or romanticize American interventionism. Frankly, the so-called war on terror is nothing but a big flop. Under the guise of fighting global terrorism — which was originally funded and supported by Washington — the US has carried out more than 91,00 airstrikes across seven countries.
Regardless of the intentions, what did the counter-terrorism measures bring to the region? The hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan is just the tip of the iceberg.
US airstrikes following September 11, 2001, attacks have claimed the lives of between 22,000 and 48,308 civilians during the past two decades, according to War Monitor Airwars.
According to the UK-based air wars monitoring group, Iraq and Syria suffered the most, followed by Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Libya.
Mansoor Faizy, Editor-in-Chief of Afghanistan Times Daily, writes: “To avenge the 3,000 innocent people who lost their lives on 9/11, the US invaded and bombed multiple countries where hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed, and many more received injuries that had nothing to do with 9/11.”
“It’s worth mentioning that the war on terror only gave us more war and more terror; where only in Afghanistan there are dozens of terrorist groups operating.”
With that being said, it’s fair enough to argue that the global anti-terrorism campaign failed due to two major reasons. The first is the over-hyped assessment of the Al-Qaeda threat, which led to an expansive anti-terrorism initiative .The second is the adoption of an aggressive military strategy in the region that led to harm more than good.
Hence, the bungled anti-terrorism initiative is no longer a feasible solution. Terrorism, though a pressing issue, represents only a modest security threat to the American homeland. The rise of Xenophobia, Islamophobia and far-right extremism should be given enough attention as well.