Seventeen years have passed since al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism arrived at our front door, claiming the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent civilians on September 11, 2001. The attack prompted President George W. Bush’s strong response with abounding international support, including the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1368, which reaffirmed the right to individual and collective self-defense and condemned the terrorist attacks.
The United States embarked upon two wars, one with Afghanistan, where the Taliban harbored Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda whose manhunt lasted until May 2, 2011, when he was finally captured and killed in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Last year, on the 16th anniversary of 9/11, a former classmate of mine launched a Twitter rant claiming the “war on terror” was a “sham.” While her views certainly do not reflect the whole of the student population, they certainly represent the beliefs of many far left millennials. These beliefs are disturbingly misguided.
For one, Osama bin Laden’s supposed number two man, who assumed al-Qaeda leadership upon OBL’s death, is still unaccounted for. Ayman al-Zawahiri is still broadcasting messages to followers, the latest of which calls for a united front against an “international infidel alliance”. This broadcast followed the beginning of a violent surge of the Taliban in Afghanistan, which most recently resulted in the deaths of at least 52 Afghan security forces in a single attack on September 10, 2018. The Taliban and al-Qaeda remain closely linked. This latest attack occurred just after the surprise visit of Secretary of Defense James Mattis to Kabul over the weekend, which came just days after a brutal suicide attack likely carried out by ISIS which left 21 dead in the country. ISIS launched several attacks against Shiites throughout the month of August, and the United States responded by conducting a strike which killed ISIS leader Abu Sayed Orakzai along with 10 other fighters. Regarding the Taliban, Mattis said, “To me, It simply means a continuation of their willingness to put innocent people in harm’s way. There’s nothing new. It’s the usual endangering of civilians, part and parcel of what they’ve done for the last 20 years.”
The Taliban will likely remain committed in their resurgence, and ISIS, never wanting to be overshadowed, will likely continue in their attacks as long as fighters are available.
No, the war on terror is not a “sham.” Innocents around the world continue to be slaughtered at the hands of terrorists. To ignore this reality is an offense to those murdered and to those who have fought, some who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and to those who continue to fight to secure peace and freedom around the world.