Americans are united in their grief as the nation remembers the events of 9/11. Yet for many people who still have no sense of safety, the cloud of this dreadful anniversary has no silver lining.
All across the United States, security has been beefed-up to protect against what has been called the “credible threat” of a new terror attack.
Ten years ago America was rocked by unprecedented terrorist act that claimed lives of nearly 3,000 innocent lives and gave birth to a “post-9/11 world”.
“Our War on Terror begins with Al-Qaeda. But it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated,” former US President George Bush said in a statement following the attacks.
Washington’s military reach began with the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and continued with a pre-emptive pounding into Iraq.
In the decade that followed, America’s fight for freedom has been stained by torture, secret detention, rendition and other human rights violations symbolized by landmarks like Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and the Bagram Airbase prison.
“We had garnered the empathy of not only the world, but the Muslim world. And if we had the courage to be vulnerable, we would be far safer and more secure than we are today. Instead we drank deep from that very dark elixir of nationalism,” says journalist and author Chris Hedges.
He claims that says America’s terror unleashed throughout the Middle East has opened a Pandora’s Box of evils.
“Estimates are over a million Iraqis dead since the invasion. Hundreds and hundreds of civilians killed in Pakistan. Thousands killed in Afghanistan. Not to mention millions of people displace into refugee camps. The terror that we have unleashed will not go unpaid and it will strike us eventually.”
However, in post-9/11 America, citizens have been forced to compromise their freedom in the name of security.
The past decade has paved the way for new state practices such as warrant-less wiretapping, intrusive airport screening and greater authority for law enforcement. What some call a police state in the making.
“As this national security state grows. As it becomes easier for the government to scrutinize us in all aspects of our lives I think Americans are going to worry about this. The issue of danger is larger than just that from specific isolated foreigners. It is a danger that is all around us. And much of it may be right here at home, from people in our own country,” US investigative journalist Russ Baker says.
Since 9/11, a rising tide of Islamophobia has passed through this formerly tolerant nation.
Dozens of Muslim Americans have been arrested and convicted in so called FBI-foiled terror plots. Plots that were orchestrated and manufactured by government-paid informants.
“These cases have been created by the government and yet we’re supposed to feel safer because criminals that would not have come up with the plot had it not been brought to them on a platter by the US government are now in jail,” according to Sally Eberhardt from the group Educators for Civil Liberties.
“We’ve snowballed the violence that’s going on around the world. Only reinforced many violent, ignorant narratives, of American imperialism around the world. And I think we’ve created more enemies than friends. We’ve targeted communities rather than make them partners, and not only has it not made us any safer, I think it has undermined the very fabric of American society,” explains Cyrus McGoldrick from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The fabric of a post-9/11 America which is still waging war in the name of freedom.
America’s campaign against terror began as a personal strike back. But in the 10 years that followed, a military crusade to promote peace has fueled more vengeance, danger and insecurity around the world. The man behind 9/11 may have been eliminated, but international safety has yet to be delivered.