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Reflecting on 9/11

On the 11th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the editorial board at the Charlotte Observer is right on the mark in why we must remember this solemn occasion, as well as what happened after 9/11, and the price our nation continues to pay:

‘A month after 9/11 a U.S.-led war was launched in Afghanistan to root out al-Qaida, the terrorist organization bin Laden headed that was based in Afghanistan; in 2003, a U.S.-led war was launched in Iraq to further root out terrorism. The Bush administration used erroneous information that despotic leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction he planned to use on the U.S.

More than 6,500 in the U.S. military, most under 30 years old, have been killed or injured in those two wars. Every state in the union can tally sons and daughters who’ve died in the conflicts. Thousands of families have felt the pain of loved ones dead or hurt.

Brown University researchers last year calculated the financial cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq plus spillover conflicts in Pakistan at close to $4 trillion – costs that have been financed entirely through debt which economists say has had a negative impact on the U.S. economy. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, together with the Bush tax cuts, will account for almost half of the projected $20 trillion debt in 2019.

Sadly, the death toll continues for those associated with the 2001 attacks. There have been an estimated 1,000-plus deaths from 9/11-related illnesses to those who did rescue and recovery work at Ground Zero where the World Trade Center towers in New York were hit. In recent weeks, three New York City cops, two firefighters and a construction union worker who toiled at Ground Zero have died of cancer or respiratory illnesses, one nonprofit that monitors Ground Zero health care issues said. These health issues add to the human and financial costs of 9/11.

President Obama in a radio address Saturday urged Americans “on this solemn anniversary” to “remember those we lost … reaffirm the values they stood for, and … keep moving forward as one nation and one people.”

But remembering is not enough. We must remain committed to helping those who’ve been harmed as a result of those horrific terrorist acts. We can’t afford to forget what happened on Sept. 11. We’re still learning the lessons of those terrorist events – and U.S. actions afterward – and we’re still paying the costs.’

You can read the full editorial here.

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