Eight years have passed since the horrific events of September 11, 2001, and the U.S. government is still waiting to pay the $25 million reward it has offered to anyone who provides information leading to Osama bin Laden's capture.
Meanwhile, almost eight years have passed since the U.S. has launched Operation Enduring Freedom, less than a month after the attacks of 9/11, in order to destroy al-Qaeda and the Taliban government that harbored the group. It was supposed to be a swift and decisive victory until the U.S. botched an effort to nab bin Laden in late 2001 in Afghanistan's Tora Bora region. His trail has since gone cold, and everything has gone wrong.
George W. Bush shifted his attention to Iraq. We were told that the Land of the Two Rivers was ruled by a horrible man who was stockpiling WMDs and was bent on setting the region on fire. We were told that he also had something to do with 9/11. We found out that we were duped:
"Never mind," they said, " he is still a bad man." And Saddam was hung.
We were also told that democracy is contagious, and once we plant it in Iraq, it will spread all over the Middle East. They then showed us the "purple fingers," and we rejoiced. But now Iraq has become the "bad war"; it has been deemed a "war of choice." The "good war" we are told is in Afghanistan, "a war of necessity" in Obama's own words.
Today, America mourns the memory of those who perished eight years ago. But today America needs to reassess what has been done in the name of the victims of 9/11: two horrible and unwinnable wars. This is the reality of the situation.
No Afghans or Iraqis have been directly involved in the attacks of 9/11. All 19 hijackers were Arabs, mostly from Saudi Arabia, and their leader is in hiding. Exacting revenge for 9/11 was and still is a job most suited for the CIA, anti-terror units, and other international security agencies.
However, President Obama has already ordered the deployment of 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan by the end of the year, bringing the U.S. total to 68,000 and the coalition total to 110,000. This is despite the fact that now, for the first time, a majority of respondents (51 percent) in a recent Washington Post-ABC poll said the war was not worth the fight.
This past August was the deadliest month for US troops since the start of the war in October 2001, according to the Pentagon. Taliban forces have gained ground, and coalition troop casualties have steadily risen; therefore, an increase in American troops on the ground in Afghanistan will only lead to more casualties. You do not have to be a military general to figure this out.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has done a mediocre job on the intelligence side in the hunt for bin Laden. According to a recent article in the Times Online "the fruitless search [for bin Laden] has essentially been outsourced by the U.S. to a network of Pashtun spies run by the Pakistani intelligence services."
One of the former CIA agents, called Mr. Keller, interviewed for this article "spoke no Middle Eastern languages, and was not an expert on al-Qaeda or Pakistan."
Now we know why the reward for bin Laden's head remains unclaimed!
There is no "good war" and "bad war" in the aftermath of 9/11...there is bad strategy...and it has been bad all along.
Originally published on the Huffington Post