Looking back fifteen years later
How 9/11 changed America
October 18, 2016
On September 11, 2001, the United States was forever changed. That day, two Boeing 767 commercial airlines crashed into the World Trade Center, killing 2,996 people and injuring over 6,000, going down as the worst terrorist attack in United States history.
Since then, so many things have changed. Airport security is now more advanced than ever.
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, which was passed shortly after the attack and is also known as the Patriot Act, now allows the National Security Agency to roam through phone calls and emails in order to track potential terrorist movement.
War on Terror
The War on Terror has not gone away. On March 20, 2003 the United States invaded Iraq in order to stop its alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Since then we withdrew from Iraq in December of 2011, but the threat that was Al-Qaeda has now transformed into ISIS.
Another change has been the public view of war. Since the Bush administration invaded Iraq, public opinion has shifted from one that wants to be involved in the Middle East, to one that wanted to stay away from foreign conflict.
A Gallup poll showed that in 2013, 36 percent of Americans supported action in Syria, while in 2003, 64 percent of Americans supported action in Iraq. In 2001, 82 percent of Americans supported action in Afghanistan.
The national debt has also increased, now exceeding $16.7 trillion, or around $53,000 per person. This, coupled with tax cuts and reduced government revenue contributed to one of the worst recessions in United States history in 2008 when the housing market collapsed.
To go with that, the national budget has also increased, with the United States spending more than $598 billion on military defense, 53.71 percent of the federal budget.
To put that in perspective, that is almost nine times the amount we spend on veterans’ benefits, which is $65.32 billion.
Before 9/11 the military budget was around 34 percent of the budget, and its highest point was in 2010 when the United States was spending around $700 billion on defense.
Even though it has been 15 years since 9/11, nothing will be the same as it was before that fateful day.
Sources: cfr.org, nationalpriorities.org, washingtonpost.com, gallup.com