Ten years after a most heinous act against humanity was committed, it’s still business as usual.
It has been 10 years since the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US and the ‘war on terror’ goes on.
In an executive summary entitled *Cost of War (by the Eisenhower Study Group, Eisenhower Research Project – June 2011), they place the cost of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001 to be:
“Ten Years, 225,000 Killed, and More than $3.2 – 4 Trillion Spent and Obligated to Date”
The overall monetary cost of war has been estimated to be US$ 4,444,400,000,000.00 excluding Medicare costs for injured veterans after age 65; expenses for veterans paid for by state and local government budgets; a promised $5.3 billion reconstruction aid for Afghanistan and additional Macroeconomic Consequences of War Spending including infrastructure and jobs. Then there is the US$ 1 Trillion in interest payments up until 2020.
The war’s wounded to date is 365,383. Refugees and displaced persons total 7,815,000. The total number of humanitarian and media workers who have died is 266. The total toll on the lives of Allied Security Forces was placed at 31,741 (including US soldiers and contractors). The total toll on civilian lives could run as high as 174,500 (if the count for unconfirmed civilians are included).The grand total of all human lives lost in the war on terror since 2001 is estimated to be 257,655. And these are only the quantifiable cost.
Who knows what the cost are for the psychological damage suffered by veterans, their families and by all the other victims of war? How do you quantify the burden of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicide? Who can say what the costs are for those who try to survive in a war with malnutrition and a lack of clean drinking water? Who can say what the cost of the damage to crop fields and forests destroyed by bombing? What is the cost of raising a generation of children deprived of education, knowing nothing but war?
The war on terror uses the same methods employed by those it seeks to oppose.
One should consider how this vicious cycle began in the first place and why it will continue to persist until the cycle of violence is broken. War can never be a solution to terrorism. It will only inspire grosser forms of destruction and retaliation.
It needs to be said: War is itself a form of terrorism and whatever the excuse to wage it, will never make it right, not even for its outraged victims.
How is a military invasion and assault on a nation’s people different from crashing a passenger plane into an occupied building? How can one act of violence be deemed heinous, while another justified? Who decides which nation deserves to annihilated and which one deserves to be defended? The sad fact remains that the ‘war on terror’ is unjustifiable. Certainly not for all the costs incurred on its behalf.
What is even more distressing is that the 9/11 attack has been used as an excuse to legitimize and perpetuate global bullying. Governments are dismantled or installed in occupied countries based on their willingness to protect US interests. Even Americans themselves are not exempt from the imposition of this arbitrary control. The very civil liberties that this ‘war’ was supposed to protect, have been so diminished in the name of national security. The US government can now arrest and detainment anyone suspected of terrorism without the standard legal protocols. Likewise, anyone can also be subjected to electronic surveillance as deemed necessary by the ‘authorities’.
It’s time for the paranoia and violence to end.
Some 3,000 people from over 90 countries died in the 9/11 attack. 10 years later, over a quarter of a million people have continued to die with millions more suffering from war in one form or another, and to what end? Who stands to benefit from all these deaths?
Is it the Americans? Maybe they feel more secure now that hundreds of thousands of people, many their own, have died in the name of homeland security, or do they fear even more? What about the invaded societies? Maybe they have learned that violence is not a viable option or have they only steeled their resolve to hit back even harder? Perhaps then, the children caught in this war? Maybe having been inundate in its workings, they will have learned the wisdom of avoiding war, or will they only learn to be adept in its methods?
9/11 left the world with a spectre of lives painfully and tragically lost, not only at ground zero, but at every assault conducted in retaliation against it. After 10 year, America still lives in anger and fear of another attack. This fear and anger has provoked wars against targeted groups or nations with the aim of capturing and executing their leaders and positioning new ones in their stead, however flawed. Human rights have been violated and privacy invaded, all in the name of this ‘war on terror’. And what has been achieved thus far? Nothing of consequence!
Isn’t it then, about time we question the sanity behind this pointless quest? I say it’s time for this war to end. It’s time for all war to end. Maybe there are a few who stand to gain an enormousness lot from it, but for most of us, it is only a painful, costly and tragic exercise in futility. We need to stop the wholesale slaughter of people. We need to stop it right now! What therefore, must we do differently?
We must speak out and exert our influence over national and international policy.
We have never been in a better position to speak out and be heard as a unified force for change and we should use this collective power for the good of all people. Social media has brought us together for lesser concerns, why not use it to save the lives of countless thousands who might otherwise become part of the war statistic? We must hold our leaders accountable for all the lives and money squandered on a pointless war.
In an Earth Hour fashion, we would, in one bold and unified gesture, express our support for a Global Peace Movement where all war resources are reallocated for education on relevant fields of expertise and other services that enhance peaceful coexistence. Human lives are precious and should therefore be spent on worthier pursuits than war; pursuits that improve the quality of life and restore the trust in humanity’s greatness. This peace strategy, I believe, would have a much better chance of success than this 10-year ‘war on terror’.
I am one with the world in hoping to put an end to the needless death and suffering of innocent people so that all who have died from an act of terror or for the sake of this ‘war on terror’ would not have died in vain. It is my hope in writing this article that everyone take collective responsibility for preserving the sanctity of life.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that has.”