The U.S. is finally out of Afghanistan and nearly out of Iraq. The endgame in Afghanistan was chaotic and sloppy, probably inevitably so, given the short time frame, the absence of any civilian withdrawal planning before the Biden White House came into office on January 20, and the delays in confirming administration nominees at the State Department.
The look-back starts now. Not so much about whether the policy of staying or going was right or whether withdrawal ensures a new safe haven in Afghanistan for terrorist groups. The look-back needs to answer the question of what have been the costs of the global war on terror unleashed by the United States after 9/11.
And the costs are enormous. They are budgetary and fiscal. They are human, both at home and abroad. They are political, in the perhaps irreversible damage they have done to our political systems and institutions here at home. The global effort has had a serious impact on accelerating the decline of U.S. credibility and power in the international system. And the costs are to our own sense of whether we are a moral country.
In other words, the costs this country has paid for its diversion into counterterrorism since 2001 have been monumental. The only benefit: There has not been a significant foreign terrorist attack on the U.S. since 9/11. The few that have occurred have been fairly solo and small in impact, compared to the significant attacks by homegrown terrorists, largely from the burgeoning right-wing terrorist organizations rising in this country, culminating in the insurrection and assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. There is no other measurable benefit from the war.
Read the full article in The American Prospect.