This is a short post that I admit is neither profound nor particularly original but it bears repeating.
While the physical manifestation of Osama bin Laden may have perished on May 1, 2011, his ghost will be with us for some time to come and his presence was felt strongly at both the MSNBC/Politico debate last Wednesday and at Thursday’s Obama address to a joint session of Congress. Since the war in Afghanistan was barely mentioned in the GOP debate and was not the topic of Obama’s jobs speech, you might ask what I am talking about. It’s very simple really.
bin Laden’s lasting legacy is the economic devastation suffered by our country. We fought two wars off the books in reaction to the September 11 attack of 2001. We’ve dumped trillions of dollars into nation building wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the hope of deterring future terrorist activity. One can debate the wisdom of these choices but the consequences are clear. Had we not spent all that money re-creating Iraq in our own image; had we not kept fighting in Afghanistan long after al Qaeda was no longer a threat there would we really have every GOP candidate for President discussing how to turn our economy around? If 9/11 had not happened might we have been better prepared for the financial Armageddon that befell us in 2008? Had Barack Obama not labeled Afghanistan “the good war”, would it be as likely that he would be addressing Congress and the nation about an economy on life support?
As I said, the observation is not original but it bears repeating. bin Laden’s goal went far beyond murdering more than 3000 Americans ten years ago. His wildest dreams were fulfilled by the largely self-inflicted economic death-blow that our country has suffered. As we commemorate the tenth anniversary of that horrific day, we remember how we lost our loved ones, our innocence and our financial health. Economics can kill a great nation just as easily as a brutal war. The attacks of September 11 were simply bin Laden’s first punch. The lasting damage has occurred in the ten years since.
Photo from Wikipedia