’20 years later 9/11 is beyond painful for me. I lost friends and fraternity brothers. We honor those murdered. I send blessings to the families. The world changed forever. And we all lost our innocence.’ – Prof. Marc S. Ellenbogen
Exactly 20 years ago, on September 11, 2001, the United States of America experienced its single largest loss of life on American soil as a result of a foreign attack (September 11, 2001 | National September 11 Memorial & Museum, 2021). Nineteen members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group organization hijacked four commercial planes, crashing two of them into the World Trade Center in New York, one into the Pentagon in Washington and one into the fields in Pennsylvania after the passengers tried to overpower the hijackers. Almost 3000 people died during the attacks, including around 400 firefighters and police officers who lost their lives after rushing to save people from the Twin Towers (September 11 attacks – The attacks, 2021).
9/11 marked a significant shift not only in the lives of ordinary Americans, who for the first time on such a scale experienced this new type of threat but also in global politics. For the first time in history, NATO invoked Article 5, allowing its members to collectively respond in self-defense, which resulted in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, marking the start of the war on terror (September 11 attacks – The attacks, 2021). Moreover, in January 2002, George W. Bush introduced the Bush doctrine, which radically reshaped the foreign policy of the US as it was no longer about containment and supporting freedom fighters but fully encouraged the use of preemptive war as a form of protecting the US from the terrorist threat, which has, a year later, led to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq (The Bush Doctrine, 2021).
Although it has been 20 years since the 9/11 attack, 10 years since bin Laden has been found and killed and 7 years since Obama has announced that the US forces will be leaving Afghanistan and ending the war on terror, terrorism is still present. From the November 2015 Paris attacks to the 2017 London Bridge attack, terrorism is still in our lives. Furthermore, as the US forces have now left Afghanistan and handed power over to Taliban, under which al-Qaeda once used to thrive, it is important to not forget what has happened on September 11, 2001.
Encyclopedia Britannica. 2021. September 11 attacks – The attacks. [online] Available at: <https://www.britannica.com/event/September-11-attacks/The-attacks>
911memorial.org. 2021. September 11, 2001 | National September 11 Memorial & Museum. [online] Available at: <https://www.911memorial.org/visit/museum/Exhibitions/historical-exhibition-september-11-2001>
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 2021. The Bush Doctrine. [online] Available at: <https://carnegieendowment.org/2002/10/07/bush-doctrine-pub-1088>