Ten years after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, weâ€™ve seen two foreign wars, trillions of dollars spent on the military, some controversial stripping of civil liberties from U.S. citizens and an American public living in fear of another possible homeland terrorist attack.
Is this country better off since those horrifying attacks a decade ago?Â I think not.
That day has cast a dark cloud in the minds of nearly every American who lived through it, leaving uncertainty and doubt about any lasting peace in this world. Immediately following 9/11, the country was filled with a sense of short-lived patriotism. Many Americans were focused on making someone pay for what had been done to this country. Fear and outrage ran deep and before we knew it, Operation Enduring Freedom was launched; America was officially at war fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Two years later in March 2003, American troops were invading Iraq in what was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom.
At least one thing can be said for certain: both of these wars have cost a great deal in money and blood.
According to a March 2011 report conducted by the Congressional Research Service, an estimated total of $1.2 trillion has been spent on military operations, base security, foreign aid, reconstruction, embassy costs and veteransâ€™ health care since the 9/11 attacks.
When broken down by operation, $806 billion has been spent on the war in Iraq, $444 billion for Afghanistan, $29 billion for enhanced security and another $6 billion in unallocated funds, according to the report.Â Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury accounts the national debt at about $14 trillion.
Whether or not going into Iraq or Afghanistan was the right thing to do, it definitely has not been a cheap ordeal, and with the country already in one hell of an economic mess, it doesnâ€™t look like it will get better any time soon.
As for the military casualties inflicted since 9/11, according to iCasualties.org, the number of U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan currently sits at 1,759; the total coalition military fatalities since 2001 in Afghanistan is 2,701.
Since 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom has claimed the lives of 4,474 American troops and 4,792 total coalition forces.
Most of us have been affected by a friend or loved one who has served in one of these conflicts. Death and tragedy were not nonexistent before 9/11, but now these aspects of life seem far more prevalent.
So many things have clearly changed since 9/11. We went from being a nation at peace to being a nation at war, an extremely expensive war that appears to have no real end in sight.
Whether the decisions made were right or wrong, Iâ€™ll leave it to you to decide.
But the way I see it, America will never be the same as it was before the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and the country is in no way better off as we approach the 10-year anniversary of that terrible day.