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Unseen Consequences

Nearly ten years after the catastrophe which killed over 3,000 Americans, the subsequent “War on Terror” continues to claim innocent lives. On October 7, 2001, United States armed forces stormed Afghanistan in order to oust the Taliban regime, believed to be protecting the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda.

Since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, nearly 8,000 civilians have been killed in the unavoidable carnage of war. Despite President Obama’s declaration ending the “War on Terror,” civilian casualties continue to mount, with an increasing amount in the neighboring country of Pakistan.

Since 2001, without American public knowledge, Pakistan has borne the brunt of the “noble” crusade to end terrorism. Amnesty International reports estimates of nearly 22,000 civilian casualties. In the years following 9/11, the United States has conducted bombings in the tribal areas in the northwest of Pakistan, in direct violation of international law. America is not at war with Pakistan, and therefore violates the country’s sovereignty each time a bombing is conducted.

Every day, unmanned aerial bombers enter foreign airspace, armed to the teeth with U.S. Hellfire missiles. These “drones” conduct targeted killings of militants in the FATA region of Pakistan, all while controlled by CIA operatives thousands of miles away. Estimates of civilian casualties in the thousands reveal a U.S. mentality without regard to the extent of collateral damage.

A recent strike in North Waziristan targeted a militant funeral procession, killing nearly 80 people. Of those attending the funeral, only seven were reported militants, and none were high-level targets.

These bombings show an utter disregard for human life, and represent a common mentality in the U.S. military. John Brennan, United States counterterrorism advisor, has maintained that drone strikes have had “zero civilian casualties” in the past several years. This is a lie.

The actions of the CIA and U.S. military reflect directly upon the American people. There is a worldwide acceptance of American exceptionalism that needs to end. America’s military might should not excuse blatant human rights violations and careless disregard for international law.

September 11th was a wound cut deeply into the heart of America, one which will never heal. However, America cannot forget human rights and discard innocent lives in its pursuit of an end of terrorism. Al-Qaeda’s attacks claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 innocents. In response, America has allowed the combined civilian death toll to reach a confirmed 30,000.

If this continues, can America really call itself much better than those who carried out those terrible attacks ten years ago?

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