All of us can remember when 13 years ago President Bush promised to “destroy”, what was then a small and unknown organization known as Al-Qaeda. I for one can admit to having never heard of Al-Qaeda on September 10, 2001. After Bush’s disastrous invasion and “nation building” program in Afghanistan (and attempting the same in Iraq in 2003) we now have Al-Qaeda all over the entire MENA region. And make no mistake, ISIS is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda.
And now President Obama is adopting the exact same policy as Bush which HAS NOT WORKED. More and more war only succeeds in metastasizing the extremist cancer further. Millions of Muslims and other people of faith around the world have paid the price for this broken policy with their lives, death of loved ones, and dislocation. All of this creates the environment for yet another cycle of war and violence.
Only the work on the ground of speaking to youth and coming to common understanding can solve this problem long term. The wars only help to make the weapons contractors richer and makes the work of those of us calling for peace much more difficult.
I pray that someday a just peace will finally be achieved, but if we do not change our policy, we will memorialized 9/11 in the same way each year – wondering why the problem of extremism is spreading and not receding.