The attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September, 2001, changed the US foreign policy substantially and irreversibly. According to President Bush, the US suddenly faced a new and much more menacing foe than it had faced in its history. Even during the great conflicts of the 20th Century, including the first and second world wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War the US was never attacked as frighteningly as it was on September 11, 2001. In a matter of two hours, nearly 3,000 people, mainly Americans, lay beneath the rubble at the World Trade Center and inside the Pentagon.
While the origins of the attacks themselves are still hotly debated in intellectual circles and think tanks around the globe, the results of the attacks are unmistakable. Immediately following the attacks from that fateful day, the US reformulated its foreign policy, shaping it around this new and powerful enemy, terrorism. Surprisingly enough, while nearly every hijacker aboard those fateful planes that day were from Saudi Arabia, the US decided to name other countries as the leading sponsor of this growing menace. President Bush promptly pointed his finger to the new axis of evil, Iraq, North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran. He stated emphatically that the US had entered into a new war, a war on terror.
Within a month the US invaded Afghanistan, ostensibly to rid the country of the ruling faction, the Taliban, as well as to remove all terrorist training camps as well as to capture and put on trial the supposed mastermind of the events of September 11, 2001, Osama Bin Laden. Within a year after those events, the US stepped up its bellicose rhetoric towards another member of this axis of evil, Iraq. Claiming that their President Saddam Hussein was involved with terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, had mass quantities of weapons of mass destruction, was in the process of obtaining nuclear weapons grade material and was an immediate threat to the United States and its allies, the US formed a quickly assembled coalition of some 30-odd countries, most of them small islands and tiny nations. The US, and the few allies who remain with the US, have been confronting terrorism head on since the events on 9/11. This report will discuss the effectual ramifications of that confrontation and their cost in monetary, social and human terms.
THE INCREASE OF TERRORIST ACTS WORLDWIDE
Even the following year, 2002, did not show a significant change in the number of terrorist incidents. Only 23 recorded incidents occurred that year, even though the US had already entered into the first of its two major Middle Eastern conflicts. But by the end of 2003, according to the Washington Post article dated April 27, 2005, terrorist incidents had increased to 175. That's more than a 760% increase over the previous year. Thus, while the Bush administration claimed it had entered Iraq to ultimately reduce terrorism around the world, we can see that after less than one year in Iraq, and two years in Afghanistan, worldwide terrorism had risen by over 700%.
By the end of 2004 that figure had more than tripled to 655. Again we see that Bush's so-called War on Terrorism was producing the exact opposite effect. With a 374% increase from the previous year, Bush's oft-touted war was sending the world farther and farther into the chasm of guerilla warfare and underground, subversive interventions. This horrific trend would continue to worsen. By the end of 2005, the number of terrorist attacks worldwide rose to a mind-numbing figure of 11,111 according to a Washington Post article dated April 29, 2006. This represents an overall increase of 1,700% over 2004. Clearly the great majority of these attacks were occurring in Afghanistan and Iraq, the two countries the US invaded illegally and without agreement from the UN or any other major international institution. According to official sources, the year 2006 ended with nearly 15,000 terrorist attacks worldwide, an increase of over 25% from the year before.
In conclusion, Bush's War on Terror has increased terrorism around the world by 60,000% since the year 2002.
But wait, there's more.
THE RISING COST OF THE WAR ON TERROR
The rise in terrorism around the globe is but one part in Bush's War on Terrorism. There is also the monetary cost of such an endeavor. The US military budget rose from $289 billion in 1998 to $643.9 billion in fiscal year 2008. This is an increase of 122.8% over the span of eleven years. Clearly the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have received the bulk of this money. In fact, just the Iraqi conflict by itself had cost US taxpayers over $510 billion and is expected to top $700 billion by the end of 2008.
In recent articles from the mass media the amount of money required to bring New Orleans and the surrounding parishes and neighboring states could easily top $200 billion. And that sum is merely what is required to bring the area back to what it was before the events of late August, 2005. At that time, New Orleans had one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation with rundown ghettos being more of the norm than the exception. Today the area better resembles an old war zone with devastated houses, vast areas littered with debris and homelessness rampant on nearly every street corner. As disaster after disaster amasses across the US, the realization that our first line of defense is not there. This well-regulated militia with tactical equipment, adequate sheltering and sufficient provisions, which could normally be summoned at a moment's notice to relieve the strain of Mother Nature's fury, is no longer available. These men, women and services are now in Iraq or Afghanistan fighting Bush's war on terror.
Another aspect to consider about the US deficit is the vast holdings of this debt by foreign nations. According to a US Treasury report dated April 23, 2007, the three largest holders of US Treasury Securities are Japan, with over $600 billion; China; with over $400 billion and the United Kingdom over $100 billion. Should these countries decide to divest themselves of the US dollar, the Bush government would not have enough gold or other currency to pay them all. An act of this magnitude would surely cripple the US economy for decades to come.