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Effectiveness of the War on Terror

Here's how the war on terror is progressing in late November 2015:

"Even in Iraq and Afghanistan, where thousands of lives and billions of dollars have been spent trying to wrest those countries from chaos, extremist forces are flourishing. ... even with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and continued international engagement... Mali is as troubled as ever, according to analysts."
- Dionne Searcey et al., Hotel Attack in Mali Reverses Gains in Fight Against Extremism, New York Times, Nov. 21, 2015


On one matter there can be no argument: The policies that sent these men and women abroad, with their emphasis on military action and their visions of reordering nations and cultures, have not succeeded. It is beyond honest dispute that the wars did not achieve what their organizers promised, no matter the party in power or the generals in command. Astonishingly expensive, strategically incoherent, sold by a shifting slate of senior officers and politicians and editorial-page hawks, the wars have continued in varied forms and under different rationales each and every year since passenger jets struck the World Trade Center in 2001. They continue today without an end in sight, reauthorized in Pentagon budgets almost as if distant war is a presumed government action.
- C. J. Chivers, War Without End, NYT, Aug. 8, 2018


All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.
- Osama bin Laden, Full transcript of bin Ladin's speech, Al Jazeera, 1 Nov 2004



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