Published On: Thu, Sep 11th, 2014

Attacks of 9/11 began new kind of world war

Attacks of 9/11 began new kind of world war

It sometimes seems that in another 10 or 20 years — pick a number — things in the Middle East will not have changed a bit.

Thirteen years ago today, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists armed with box cutters hijacked four jetliners; two were crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, which eventually collapsed. One hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. As passengers fought for control of the fourth jet it slammed into a field outside Shanksville, Pa.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed and the attacks caused an estimated $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage. The death toll included 343 firefighters and 72 police officers, most of whom were killed when the World Trade Towers collapsed.

Today, al-Qaeda appears to be on the decline. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks the United States invaded Afghanistan, home to al-Qaeda, and decimated the organization. Its leader, Osama bin Laden, went on the run, but in May of 2011 he was located by U.S. Navy Seals in a house in Pakistan and killed.

But while the names and characters in the Mideast change, not much else does. Today there is ISIS — an even more brutal version of radical Islam than al-Qaeda, which controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq and recently videotaped the beheading of two American journalists — the drawn-out civil war in Syria, claims that Iran is still trying to create nuclear weapons, the recent fighting between Hamas and Israel and the disaster that is Iraq.

And the United States is still hip-deep in all of it, though U.S. troops are no longer involved in active combat roles except for air attacks on ISIS.

We can only hope for a way forward that doesn’t involve the loss of more American lives — or any more lives, for that matter. But as long as religious extremism and ethnic hatred hold sway over minds and hearts, we appear doomed to repeat the past.

Those who remember 9/11 won’t ever forget the horrifying images of that day. Nor should we. It was the equivalent of Dec. 7, 1941, when the nation was thrust into World War II. This is a new kind of threat but could be just as deadly. Like it or not, we’re at war, and there is no doubt more to come.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>