Reverberations of 9/11 attacks continue 15 years on

EDITORIAL

Fifteen years have passed since the September 11 attacks on the United States and the subsequent war on terror announced by then president George Bush. Even a casual audit of the present world situation indicates that things have got progressively worse.

Just under 3000 people died in the plane attacks by 19 al-Qaida operatives, known as 9/11. There was a property destruction bill of $3 billion and the total associated costs have been estimated as high as $3 trillion.

In some ways, however, the psychological damage caused both to the United States and the rest of the world has been even greater, and continues and has even possibly magnified.

The US launched its war on terror, with allies, when it invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban — which was hosting the al-Qaida leadership. In 2003 many of the same allies began the disastrous invasion of Iraq, adjudged an unlawful war, unleashing the chaos that has followed. Various surveys estimate the number of Iraqis who have died since 2003 at between 174,000 and one million. As sectarian strife and the battle against ISIS continues, the death toll is still rising.

Large parts of the Middle East remain in turmoil, the worst example being Syria where the complicated internecine conflict was dramatically highlighted by recent television news coverage of children in the city of Aleppo suffering after an alleged government attack using chlorine.

Al-Qaida has since been largely surpassed by the even more bloody ISIS — which, after losing ground in Iraq, switched its attention to Europe with brutal attacks on France and Belgium.

As if things were not already bad enough, a resurgent Russia has become directly involved in the Syrian civil war.

All in all, the legacy of al-Qaida founder Osama Bin Laden — who was killed by US special forces in 2011 — and 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed continue to reverberate throughout the world. What happened on that clear Tuesday morning in New York 15 years ago really did change the course of history.

Fifteen years have passed since the September 11 attacks on the United States and the subsequent war on terror announced by then president George Bush. Even a casual audit of the present world situation indicates that things have got progressively worse.

Just under 3000 people died in the plane attacks by 19 al-Qaida operatives, known as 9/11. There was a property destruction bill of $3 billion and the total associated costs have been estimated as high as $3 trillion.

In some ways, however, the psychological damage caused both to the United States and the rest of the world has been even greater, and continues and has even possibly magnified.

The US launched its war on terror, with allies, when it invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban — which was hosting the al-Qaida leadership. In 2003 many of the same allies began the disastrous invasion of Iraq, adjudged an unlawful war, unleashing the chaos that has followed. Various surveys estimate the number of Iraqis who have died since 2003 at between 174,000 and one million. As sectarian strife and the battle against ISIS continues, the death toll is still rising.

Large parts of the Middle East remain in turmoil, the worst example being Syria where the complicated internecine conflict was dramatically highlighted by recent television news coverage of children in the city of Aleppo suffering after an alleged government attack using chlorine.

Al-Qaida has since been largely surpassed by the even more bloody ISIS — which, after losing ground in Iraq, switched its attention to Europe with brutal attacks on France and Belgium.

As if things were not already bad enough, a resurgent Russia has become directly involved in the Syrian civil war.

All in all, the legacy of al-Qaida founder Osama Bin Laden — who was killed by US special forces in 2011 — and 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed continue to reverberate throughout the world. What happened on that clear Tuesday morning in New York 15 years ago really did change the course of history.

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