Permanent State of War Should Have Ended Long Ago

After 10 years of anxiety and self-doubt, we should acknowledge our victory and begin the postwar renewal, writes Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post.

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Ceremony for 9/11 firefighters at St. Patrick's Cathedral (Getty)

Eugene Robinson, in his Washington Post opinion column, writes that the nation desperately needs to move past the war our enemies began on Sept. 11, 2001.

There never was a "war on terrorism." It wasn't "terrorism" that crashed airliners into buildings on that brilliant Tuesday morning. The attacks were carried out by a 19-member assault team from al-Qaeda, a terrorist organization then being sheltered by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. There most definitely was a war against al-Qaeda, and we won.

Within four months, U.S. invasion forces had routed the Taliban and scattered what was left of al-Qaeda to the four winds. Maybe that was the moment we should have recognized our victory. Maybe it was March 1, 2003, when Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the man most responsible for designing and orchestrating the 9/11 attacks, was captured. Or maybe it was the moment in 2004 when Afghanistan's fledgling democracy held its first presidential election.

By the middle of the decade, we had accomplished every rational goal of the war that 9/11 began. Al-Qaeda's leader and founder, Osama bin Laden, was still at large, but this meant we needed to conduct a continuing manhunt, not a continuing war. We should have recognized this distinction.

Read Eugene Robinson's entire column at the Washington Post.

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