It’s the 13th anniversary of the Attack on America by Al Qaeda Terrorists, and it’s a solemn day especially for the families and friends of those killed by the terrorists and those first responders who lost their lives or suffered injuries aiding the victims.
I’ll remember 9/11 as a moment where we came together as Americans. And then I remember how our national Republican leaders used 9/11 to ram a conservative agenda down our throats and anyone who questioned it was somehow unpatriotic.
As Liberals and Democrats, social media continues to buzz with shouts of “Benghazi” as though that attack from two years ago will likely warrant more coverage from the conservative media than the attacks on this nation that happened on George W. Bush’s watch. It’s always useful to remind our Republican friends of certain facts about both events. The 9/11 details come from The Daily Banter.
From the beginning, Richard Clarke, a holdover Clinton administration counter-terrorism adviser, tried to repeatedly warn then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about an impending Bin Laden attack. Clarke warned of “an immediate and serious threat to the United States” at the hands of Bin Laden.
–May 1, 2001. The President was briefed by the CIA that there were plans being assembled for an attack by “a group presently in the United States.”
–June 22, 2001. Bush received a Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) that warned of an “imminent” al-Qaeda attack during a “flexible timeline.” The neocons in the White House, meanwhile, believed that Bin Laden was a distraction from an actual plot by Saddam Hussein. The pretext for an invasion and regime change in Iraq had obviously been on the table for many months. In spite of its participation on Iraq, the CIA urged the White House to not ignore Bin Laden.
–June 29, 2001. Another PDB outlined in detail an impending attack by Bin Laden. Vanity Fair editor Kurt Eichenwald noted that this brief emphasized “dramatic consequences” “including major casualties.”
–July 1, 2001. The White House is instructed in yet another PDB that the attack had been postponed, but “will occur soon.”
–July 9, 2001. The CIA’s Counter-terrorism Center staffers held a meeting in which one senior official recommended that everyone resign so as to not be blamed for the impending attack.
–July 11, 2001. The White House is informed that al-Qaeda-linked radical Ibn Al-Khattab told his supporters that “there would soon be very big news.” The CIA brief included more information about a possible attack.
–July 24, 2001. The White House is again warned of preparations for an attack in “a few months.” Eichenwald wrote that Bush wasn’t convinced and requested a “broader analysis on al-Qaeda.” This analysis became the infamous August 6 PDB.
–August 4, 2001. 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, whose flight school attendance was noticed by intelligence officials, is picked up and charged on immigration violations.
–August 6, 2001. While vacationing in Crawford, Bush receives the notorious PDB titled, “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.”
Of course, the attack on American on 9/11/2001 was used to justify a broad War of Terror that Americans will be paying for through the middle of this century because that war was put on a credit card by Republicans who controlled the White House and both Houses of Congress in 2001. The final price tag may be as high as $7 trillion. We have many conservative friends who insist WMDs were found in Iraq or that Saddam Hussein moved the WMDs to Syria (a brilliant military strategy when you think about it; your nation is about to be invaded by the world’s remaining superpower’s military forces, so take your best weapon and secretly move it to another country while military leaders hide in a spider hole with Zagnut bars; and if the WMDs are in Syria, they haven’t been found by Syrian military leaders.
The more facts released about the attacks on the Diplomatic Outpost in Benghazi Libya emerge, the more pathetic our Republican friends look. It’s hard to have been silent about the 13 attacks on US embassies and consulates during the George W. Bush administration that resulted in 50 deaths while calling for more investigations of Benghazi that will continue to happen as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for president gets underway.
But what about the true cost of the War of Terror? BusinessInsider ran the numbers for the Iraqi War alone. And it’s staggering.
But with Iraq back in the news, it’s worth reflecting on the staggering price of the last big U.S. entanglement in the country — and recalling what the U.S. has already sacrificed there.
189,000: Direct war deaths, which doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands more that died due to war-related hardships.
4,488: U.S. service personnel killed directly.
32,223: Troops injured (not including PTSD).
134,000: Civilians killed directly.
655,000: Persons who have died in Iraq since the invasion that would not have died if the invasion had not occurred.
150: Reporters killed.
2.8 million: Persons who remain either internally displaced or have fled the country.
$1.7 trillion: Amount in war expenses spent by the U.S. Treasury Department as through Fiscal Year 2013.
$5,000: Amount spent per second.
$350,000: Cost to deploy one American military member.
$490 billion: Amount in war benefits owed to war veterans.
$7 trillion: Projected interest payments due by 2053 (because the war was paid for with borrowed money).
$20 billion: Amount paid to KBR, contractor responsible for equipment and services.
$3 billion: Amount of KBR payments Pentagon auditors considered “questionable.”
$60 billion: Amount paid for reconstruction, (which was ruled largely a waste due to corruption and shoddy work.)
$4 billion: Amount owed to the U.S. by Iraq before the invasion.
$12 billion: Cost per month of the war by 2008.
$7 billion: Amount owed to Iraq by the U.S. after the war (mostly due to fraud).
$20 billion: Annual air conditioning cost.
Missing: $546 million in spare parts; 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47s.
40 percent: Increase in Iraqi oil production.
$5 billion: Revenue from Iraqi oil in 2003.
$85 billion: Revenue from Iraqi oil in 2011.
$150 billion: Amount oil companies are expected to invest in oil development over the next decade.
$75 billion: Approximate amount expected to go to American subcontracting companies, largest of all Halliburton.
0: Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction found (though a bunch of chems were discovered).
Perhaps most importantly, this list doesn’t account for the emotional damage caused to service members and their families as well as the destruction to the homes, social fabric, and psyche of the Iraqi people.
So when Congressmen Darryl Issa and Trey Gowdy still drop “Benghazi” they way Rudy Guiliani would drop “9/11,” perhaps they could open some investigations into the failures of the previous administration in regards to 9/11 and the war profiteering that occurred for this disaster. The $5,000-a-second war; imagine what we could have used the money for to improve schools, research and development, improved infrastructure, and perhaps better healthcare reform.
Need the facts on Benghazi? Here’s what FactCheck.org has to say.