The term of war on terrorism started few hours after two hijacked airliners had destroyed the World Trade Center towers and a third had hit the Pentagon building. It was Bush’s first use of the term which characterised his presidency and deeply shape those of his three successors.
The global war on terror, as the effort came to be known, was one of the most expansive and far-reaching policy initiative in modern American history, and certainly the biggest of the 2000s.
The 20 years long war is the now-ending U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan was America’s longest war. Its death toll is in the tens of thousands. As the U.S. has borrowed most of the money to pay for it, generations of Americans will be burdened by the cost of paying it off.
The world witnessed the USA crimes and violations of international laws by invading and deposing the governments of two nations and engaging in years- or decades-long occupations of each; the initiation of a new form of warfare via drones spanning thousands of miles of territory from Pakistan to Somalia to the Philippines; the formalisation of a system of detention without charge and pervasive torture of accused militants; numerous smaller raids by special forces around the world. All the crimes were committed under “the war on terror” which is a vague term on terrorism.
USA war crimes: Torture, rape, detention and killings
From the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to Guantanamo Bay near Cuba, American soldiers have left a trail of blood and death. Their war crimes are well-documented, yet ignored.
Who can forget Abu Ghreib city where USA perfected its war crime, detention, tortures, traumatisation, and where rapes and killing were authorised by USA government according to leaked information documenting the crimes in Iraq war, and the torture Memos pardoned soldiers crimes in Iraq and abroad.
It stated 2 main points: USA officials can’t be charged with war crimes and it enhances interrogation techniques using tortures.
Pictures leaked from the prison sum up what America did in Abu Ghrib: CIA photographed detainees naked before sending them to be tortured. Many prisoners died during interrogation.
According to the most recent estimates from Brown University’s Costs of War Project, at least 897,000 people around the world have died in violence that can be classified as part of the war on terror; at least 38 million people have been displaced due to these wars; and the effort has cost the US at least $5.8 trillion, not including about $2 trillion more needed in health care and disability coverage for veterans in decades to come.
We are now used to the fact that the US government routinely bombs foreign countries with which it is not formally or even informally at war, in the name of killing terrorists.
We are used to the fact that the National Security Agency works with companies like Facebook and Google to collect our private information en masse. We are used to the fact that 39 men are sitting in Guantanamo Bay, almost all of them are detained indefinitely without trial.
Nevertheless, it is important to define the term: “war on terror,” I mean all policy initiatives undertaken by the US government from September 11, 2001, to the present with a goal of fighting Islamist — and particularly al-Qaeda/ISIS — terrorism.
This means that not all US policy initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa are counted here as part of the war on terror. The stated rationale behind the NATO intervention in Libya in 2011, for instance, was to force a ceasefire in the country’s incipient civil war and to prevent Muammar Qaddafi’s army from committing atrocities against civilians — this is why it does not count for our purposes.
The costs of the war in Iraq are relatively easy to relate, as hundreds of thousands of lost lives, trillions a little less than two-thirds of the war on terror’s deaths were of civilians or allied members of national armies, like the armies of Afghanistan and Iraq. About a third of deaths were opposition fighters, like Iraqi
insurgents, the Taliban, and ISIS.
A paper released by the Costs of War Project last month estimates that Iraq produced 9.2 million refugees, the Syrian ISIS battle produced 7.1 million, and Afghanistan produced 5.9 million. The authors estimate a total of 38 million displaced people, mostly in their own countries, as a result of US wars.