By Letter to the Editor on August 5, 2020.
After 9/11 2001 the U.S. launched the War on Terror between “the civil and the savage,” “the brave and the evil.” In deliberate violation of international law the U.S. attacked Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen and conducted counter-terrorism in 80 countries.
Two decades later proponents and opponents agree that the War on Terror failed abysmally to meet its stated objectives, the terror threat wildly exaggerated, and the military intervention grossly mistaken. Historian Gwynne Dyer deemed the War on Terror the biggest hoax in history.
Brown University at Providence Rhode Island in 2011 initiated the Cost of War Project to determine the human and financial costs. Its report November 2019, Human Cost of Post-9/11 Wars: Afghanistan & Pakistan 2001-2019; Iraq 2003-2019; Syria 2014-2019; Yemen 2002-2019 lists over 800,000 direct deaths: 7,000 U.S. military; 8,000 U.S. defence contractors; 12,000 allied military; 175,000 national military; 250,000 opposition military; 335,000 civilians.
Many times more died indirectly through malnutrition, damaged infrastructure, and habitat degradation. Over 20 million Afghan, Iraqi, Pakistani and Syrian war refugees barely survive under horrific conditions.
The war cost the U.S. over $6 trillion plus $8 trillion in future interest. Most U.S. reconstruction funding for Iraq and Afghanistan was spent on their military development and much of the rest lost to fraud and waste.
By stark contrast, in his 2020 report Terrorism in America After 9/11, U.S. counter-terrorism authority Peter Bergen shows that for the period 2002-19 a grand total of 237 persons were killed by terrorists within the U.S.; 107 by jihadists, 110 by far right-wing terrorists, 20 by other extreme ideologists. Since 9/11 no foreign jihadist organization has directed a deadly attack inside the U.S., nor any deadly jihadist attacker received training or support from abroad.
Bergen states “America’s terrorism problem today is homegrown.”
To curry U.S. favour, Prime Minister Chretien reversed our 55-year foreign policy by injecting Canada into the War on Terror through illegal military action against nations and peoples many of us could hardly find on the map. Billions of dollars and hundreds of casualties later, not counting the much larger numbers of our victims, Canada is still engaged in that futile assault.
But, it’s not too late for Canada to resume the promotion of international peace and security by the influential leadership we once displayed through the United Nations.