This year marks the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Another attack is believed to have been coordinated on either the Capitol Building or the White House; the location is unknown, because the passengers aboard Flight 93 managed to overtake the hijackers and foil the attack, at the cost of their lives. The overall casualty count of the attacks was nearly 3,000 people, a vast majority of those being in the World Trade Center. The loss of such a large, not to mention iconic, amount of office space and the eventual loss of more structures surrounding the towers caused economic damage in Lower Manhattan. Firefighters that responded to the attack were subject to large amount of smoke inhalation, which caused many adverse health effects on those who survived. Initially al-Qaeda denied any involvement, but later claimed that U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia, support of Israel, and sanctions against Iraq were the reasons for the attack. In 2003, the War on Terror began. After the invasion, the Iraqi government and military crumbled, marked symbolically by the tearing down of a statue of Saddam Hussein. The subsequent manhunt for Hussein lasted nearly a year, ending in December 2003 with the dictator’s capture. He was turned over and tried by the interim government of Iraq. Although challenges were posed by the defense, the trial ended with Saddam Hussein being found guilty of multiple counts of crimes against humanity, and sentenced to death. He was hanged December 2006. Throughout this time, the hunt for Osama Bin Laden continued, without much result. It would be the year of the 10th anniversary that he would be found and killed in a compound near Abbottabad, Pakistan. Throughout three presidential administrations he had been number one on America’s Most Wanted List, with a $25 million dollar bounty on his head.
Many of us may only vaguely remember the events that sparked the War on Terror. I remember sitting in front of my TV with my family, watching everything unfold in front of us. Later that year, a large amount of bomb threats were issued across the country, creating a feeling of mass paranoia. There was the announcement of war, and then that infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner aboard a U.S. ship. We never found the weapons of mass destruction that served as the reason for invading Iraq, and al-Qaeda acts like a hydra. Cut off one head, there’s another waiting to take its place. We have helped Iraq transition into a democratic government, trained and worked alongside their military in keeping Iraq stable, and assisted Afghanistan in their efforts against the Taliban. At this point, it’s time to call it good. While there has been more attempted terrorism, our security and knowledge of the signs has proven to be our best defense. Hussein is dead. Bin Laden is dead. It’s been 10 years. It’s time to bring the troops home.