9/11 is one of those events that is imprinted on most Americans that were around to see it unfold on TV. President G.W. Bush on September 14, 2001, went to the rubble at the site of NY’s World Trade Center and said ,
I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
This became a rallying cry for us Americans to support an effort to defeat not just al Qaeda, but also the “War on Terror”. On September 20, 2001, President G.W. Bush said to a joint session of Congress,
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.
Here we are almost 10 years later. Like many Americans, I have been asking myself, did we win? Was “mission accomplished”? Here are some numbers that I look at to inform this analysis.
On the morning of September 11, 2001:
- US – nearly 3,000 victims died
- Them – 19 hijackers died in the attacks
On the morning of October 5, 2010:
- US – Over 1 trillion dollars spent since 9/11 to fight the war
- US – Debt at an all time high of 13.5 trillion
- US – 6,000+ US military deaths related to the two wars
- Them – al Qaeda deaths in the hundreds?
- Them – al Qaeda assets frozen (as of 2007 report) $265 million
I’m left with more questions than answers.
- How and when should we decide who won?
- What other data points should we use?
- Will the “War on Terror” ever end to decide who won?