Changed America from 9/11 and the War with Iraq
Modern American history has begun from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2011. Since the day, the consciousness of an ordinary American has completely changed. 9/11 was a trigger for the war in Iraq, which also formed a new vision of reality, particularly in the context of the American national security and economy, cultural policy and identity. How did Americans begin to realize themselves as a nation after the attacks? What has been changed in people’s minds after the war in Iraq? What was a real reason to start the war in Iraq? The current essay describes the evolution of American history from the terrorist attacks to the end of the war in Iraq and evaluates a new historical phase has been started.
The terrorist attacks could be the beginning of recent American history because, after the fatal hijacking of the airplanes, the familiar picture of the world has been transformed. Sherry mentioned that the hijacked airliners banging into Manhattan’s World Trade Center, Washington’s Pentagon and a field in Shanksville seemed to rip the fabric of American history. All channels of the world endlessly were repeating the same frame again and again: the planes flew in skyscrapers. The picture began a new visual symbol, after which America dramatically has changed its external and internal policies.
It was a turning moment for the US government, the American nation, and the global community because the 9/11 attacks were an unprecedented terrifying event. From the day of attacks, American society has totally rethought the basic life principles, because they understood that there is no protection in the modern world. The government of the United States has established an independent committee for the investigation of the extremist attacks. Moreover, many people have started immortalizing the victims by creating sites, groups, and memorial places. Gessner stated that in light of the patriotic public discourse and the hegemonic domination over the experience of 9/11, the triumvirate of identity, nationalism, and authority has also significantly informed the commemoration of 9/11. At the same time, the United States has approved a policy of revenge that claimed the Bush policy as one of the most distrustful in history. President George W. Bush declared the wage against the terrorist organization al-Qaeda, which organized the 9/11 attacks, and its apparent leader, Osama bin Laden.
After the attacks, the international community treated to the U.S. with compassion; thus, the world was ready to provide any support to the traumatized nation. According to Fallows, at the beginning of 2002, the U.S. functioned in a climate of worldwide sympathy and solidarity. Then in 2004, the Commission published the final report on the investigation into the tragedy. One of the main findings of the 600-page document was the recognition that the perpetrators used the “deep administrative failures” in the work of the U.S. government to their advantage. Hence, the implementation of certain provisions of the new US foreign policy doctrine began immediately after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Moreover, it became known that the attackers have organized militants al-Qaeda, whose leader Osama bin Laden was protected by the Taliban in Afghanistan. In November of the same year, the United States began the military anti-terrorist operation against the Taliban regime. As a result, it was overthrown, and Afghanistan formed a new secular government of Hamid Karzai’s pro-Western orientation. According to the United Nations Security Council, there were placed in the international auxiliary security forces.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, new trends emerged in shaping foreign policy doctrines of the United States and Russia, the implementation of which significantly affected the overall development of international relations. In early 2002, fewer than 10,000 American soldiers deployed abroad for the war on terror, and dozens of Americans died in the battles. The United States did not arrest Osama bin Laden, but they confronted the Taliban leadership that sheltered him, which seemed to have put al-Qaeda on the run. The U.S. strategy has shifted focus to eradicate global terrorist organizations that threaten the U.S. and its allies. Finally, the second priority of the US foreign policy was the fight against the axis of evil, which were Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, as the US president declared.
The next step in the implementation of the “Bush doctrine” was to eradicate terrorism and establish total democracy. Also, he invested in the organization of the military operation against Iraq. Accusing Iraq in possession of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, the administration of George W. Bush started the psychological preparation for the war in 2002. The United Nations Security Council, which asked the US to support “punitive measures” against Iraq, refused to grant the right for war. However, on March 20, 2003, the combined forces of the anti-Iraq coalition, mainly accounted for the U.S. and British military, began the hostilities. The coalition forces included 38 countries, including the former “socialist camp”. The war against Iraq revealed significant differences between the U.S. and its NATO allies. The governments of France and Germany criticized the U.S. administration, and Turkey rejected to provide its territory for deployment of army in the context of the anti-Iraq coalition.
The Iraq war was a watershed in relations with Russia. The new controversy has occurred between the two countries because of the Kremlin’s suspicions that the U.S. tried to establish full control not only over the oil resources of Iraq but also over the “oil strategy”. The area includes the large space of the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf to the borders of China, and Central Asia. Struck on command posts, airfields, railway terminals, union connections at the beginning of April 2003 came to Baghdad. The organized resistance ceased. Then, on May 1, 2003, the President of the United States announced the victorious conclusion of the war. Weapons of mass destruction were found. Iraq divided into three occupation zones: American, British, and Polish. However, Tierney declared that for Americans it is not easy to think deeply about battlefield disaster. Indeed, American culture is a victory culture, so the government continued the policy of expansion and control in the Middle East.
In Iraq, the Afghan model interim administration was established, which involved political opponents of the regime of Hussein. Thus, Iraq has begun a guerrilla war with the implementation of massive terrorist attacks. The terrorist attacks killed more soldiers and civilians than during the war. The situation was complicated by the fact that the terrorist attacks happened between Shia Muslims that were persecuted, and Sunni Muslims, which belonged to Hussein. Some allied troops have withdrawn from Iraq, prompting the Americans to increase its military contingent to 144 thousand people. Taming the guerrilla movement and the normalization of social life remains an unsolved problem, although the official declaration of the war took five years. The elections to the supreme legislative body of Iraq, which happened in 2005, only highlighted the problem of religious and ethnic division of the country and did not lead the country closer to stability.
In early April 2011, the United States Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that the accused Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other defendants did not appear before the civil court of the United States and before the special military commission on the basis of “Guantanamo”. On May 31, 2011, the U.S. military prosecutors charged with involvement in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, five suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
The war against Iraq has the features of the previous wars of the second half of the XX century and beginning of the 21st century (the era of globalization). It fits in geopolitical confrontations in the international arena for the domination of some countries over others, and for the establishment of new world order. The war in Iraq shown the fact that humanity is closer than ever to the Third World War, which spurred from the Cold War. The assumptions about the Third World War is now an open talk, as America tries to become the “planetary empire” consistently conquering one country after another, putting control over the region by region. The war in Iraq has used traditional and non-traditional means, methods, and techniques of confrontation. Despite its brevity, it questioned a number of doctrinal systems, which kept the American leadership. They primarily refer to the theories of “noncontact war”, “high-tech war”, and the use of airborne forces showed that the main condition for success in war is a man who has high moral and fighting qualities.
After the war in Iraq, Iran became the subject of special attention for the diplomatic efforts of the United States. The country turned into a kind of irritant in the U.S.-Russian relationships. Despite the fact that the positions of Russia and the USA on nuclear weapons in Iran are similar, they have different positions for control over the creation of a full nuclear cycle and its software. Russia is assisting Iran in performance technology uranium enrichment program. Today the situation is more difficult because the nuclear weapon has become a method of Russia’s blackmail of the global community.
Thus, the events of September 11 and the Iraq war were the key points in recent American history. After 9/11, American society clearly assumed that there is a real danger of a new war against radical extremism in the modern world. Despite the tragedy, the Americans united as the nation, because the loss was not personal but national, as the dead and injured were the ordinary people. The international community supported the U.S., but many countries did not accept the war in Iraq, because they believed that it was a capitalist strategy for searching oil. The American and international forces have destroyed many terrorist groups; however, also many innocent people were killed. Following the 9/11 events, the U.S. has reorganized its foreign policy, ideological principles, and human values, where the value of life is a fundamental one.