At 8:46 am, on September 11, 2001, the world would take witness to an event that would change it forever. Five hijackers, with the support of a terrorist group named Al Qaeda, crashed a passenger jet into World Trade Center Tower 1, and seventeen minutes later a second passenger jet was crashed into World Trade Center Tower 2. Now, everyone can remember exactly where they were when they received the news of the attack, but, what most American’s didn’t realize is that these events would lead to the majority of the world into war. This was the first time that the United States would participate in a war against and idea, terrorism, and not a declaration of war against a country itself.
In every war that the United States had been involved in, they had been faced against an enemy in the form of a country. Whether it was Spain, Mexico, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, or even against itself, the United States always had a target. These “targets” usually had a uniform; they were also in support of a dictator, king, or even a tyrant. But with the War on Terror, the United States and its allied NATO Nations were not taking actions against a country; they were taking actions against an ideology that had affected the entire planet. The route of this ideology can be traced back to one man, Osama bin Laden.
Osama bin Laden, with the help of the United States, forced an invading Soviet Russia out of the country of Afghanistan in the 1980’s. Then, with the support of a radical Islamic state, and the formation of a radical group calling themself al-Qaeda, he declared war on the United States in 1996 (Lansford, Watson & Covarrubias, 2009). Bin Laden was quoted saying, “If the instigation for jihad against the Jews and the Americans…is considered a crime, then let history be a witness that I am a criminal (Lansford, Watson & Covarrubias, 2009).” With this foundation of hatred towards Western influence in the modern world, Osama bin Laden and his radical group al-Qaeda instigated a War against the world.
The group al-Qaeda has taken responsibility of many terrorist attacks against the United States and its allied countries. From the World Trade Center attacks of 2001, to the Spain subway bombings of 2004, al-Qaeda has been at the center of these terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, unlike most wars declared against a country, al-Qaeda has roots in many countries. They’ve been linked to attacks in: Africa, Europe, North America; are believed to have ties to other terrorist cells like the Taliban, and the Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia; and are known to have cells based in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan (Lansford, Watson & Covarrubias, 2009). Former President George Bush described al-Qaeda as “a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics; a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam (Holloway, 2008).” This declared War on Terror was against terrorist groups, like al-Qaeda, but many did believe that the Former President had a hidden agenda.
With the attacks of September 11th, a new foreign policy known as, “Bush Doctrine,” was implemented by the Bush administration. The “Bush Doctrine,” which the Bush administration rarely ever called its new foreign policy was based around four ideas: to make no distinction between terrorist and the countries harboring them, take the fight to enemies overseas before they can attack the United States, confront threats before they become threats, and promote democracy instead of terrorist ideology (Holloway, 2008). At the beginning of the war, the American people being full of patriotism and wanting revenge for the 9/11 attacks were in 100% agreement with this policy, but as time passed and the years that this “war” has gone on, more and more are in less support and just want the United States military to be brought home.
Towards the end of President Bush’s second term, he began to be under constant attack due to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was accused of invading Iraq under false pretenses of: weapons of mass destruction, and a direct influence of 9/11 by Saddam Hussein’s regime (Holloway, 2008), a plateau that our current President, Barack Obama, used to his advantage during his initial campaign. Yet, even though Former President Bush was attacked and scrutinized about his policies, he stood by his initial belief that his “Global War on Terror” was against an ideology, and not a certain country.
Whether or not the current 10-year war was actually waged against Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Muammar al-Gaddafi, or any other tyrant is truly unknown, and if the September 9/11 attacks were hoaxed and just a coercion for the American people to be tricked into war, who knows. What can be known is this; the War on Terror is the first time that the United States has declared war on an idea, a way of life, and not against a country of its own, and because of this, the true length of this war has the ability to last forever.
Holloway, D. (2008). 9/11 and the war on terror [electronic resource] / david holloway . Edinburg University Press.
Lansford, T., Watson, R., & Covarrubias, J. (2009).America’s war on terror [electronic resource] / by tom lansford, robert p. watson and jack covarrubias. (2nd ed.). Burlington, VT: Ashgate.