On Sept. 11, 2001,
more than 3,000 innocent people lost their lives when terrorists struck the
United States. On the eve of Sept. 11, 2014, 13 years and two wars later, the
president addressed the nation about combating yet another growing terrorist
threat, one already targeting our citizens abroad and planning to reach our
We are less safe
today than we were in the immediate aftermath of the 2001 attacks.
The loss of life
on 9/11 was devastating to the consciousness of the nation, but equally
destructive was the culture of fear that the crime created, allowing George W.
Bush and his neoconservative administration to push their fanatical policies on
the American people and the world.
invaded Iraq two years after the attacks on the premise that the country had
weapons of mass destruction and was somehow involved in the 9/11 attacks. Both
claims were false; the latter was laughable.
Osama Bin Laden,
the then-leader of al-Qaeda, declared war on the United States and Saudi Arabia
in the early 1990’s partly because he was not given a chance to fight Saddam
Hussein with his mujahideen after Iraq invaded Kuwait.
In 1991, George H.
W. Bush led a coalition of 34 nations to push Iraqi troops out of Kuwait,
months after U.S. ambassador to Baghdad April Glaspie had told Hussein that
Washington has “no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts.” Bin Laden,
who had offered his services to fight the Iraqi army, was angered by the
presence of non-Muslim troops in the Arabian peninsula, close to Hijaz, the
Islamic Holy Land.
government and al-Qaeda were enemies, but Bush Jr. invaded Iraq, anyway. From
the chaos of that war, terrorism and extremism flourished across the Middle
East. Although Bin Laden was killed by U.S. troops in 2010, terrorist
organizations continue to grow, threatening the security of the entire world.
addressed the nation on Sept. 10 to outline his strategy against the
“Islamic State”, a vicious group of criminals that grew out of
al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, seized large swaths of land in northern Iraq and
eastern Syria and declared a caliphate in the areas it controls.
The rise of the
“Islamic State” is the most telling example of our government’s catastrophic
post-9/11 policies— destabilizing sovereign nations with wars that cost the
taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, breed anti-American sentiments and
create ungoverned territories and fertile grounds for terrorist groups.
American presence and lack of governance is what attracted extremist jihadists
Obama’s plan to
“degrade and ultimately destroy” the “Islamic State” is
likely to backfire. The president pledged to expand the air campaign against
the group, while arming its foes— Iraqi troops, Kurdish militias and moderate Syrian
The strategy is
fundamentally flawed. Arming militants who could one day use our own weapons
against us or desert their posts is dangerous. These weapons, left in the hands
of uncommitted fighters, might end up in the hands of the “Islamic State.” When
the terror group captured Mosul this summer, it seized large quantities of arms
left behind by the U.S.-equipped Iraqi army.
commend the president for stating that terrorism does not stem from the Muslim
faith. “Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No
religion condones the killing of innocents. And the vast majority of ISIL’s
victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state,” said the
president on Wednesday night.
We wish the
president would make the distinction at home and intervene to guard American
Muslims’ civil liberties from the ongoing surveillance and profiling by
intelligence agencies. Since 9/11, all Americans, especially Arabs and Muslims,
have been victims of our government’s overstepping the constitutional
limitations to infringe on our rights, from the PATRIOT Act to NSA mass
surveillance, to the National Defense Authorization Act.
We have fallen
into the trap of fear that the perpetrators of 9/11 have set for us.
On the 13th anniversary of 9/11, our government
must remember that it owes the victims of the tragedy a freer America and a