The War on Terror and Impact of the 9/11 Attack


The given analysis will primarily focus on the war on terror and its impacts on US foreign policy, the US economy, and the world. It is important to note that although many nations are involved in this conflict, the United States plays a central role in catalyzing and driving the war. Therefore, the emphasis will be mostly put on the perspective of the US since it is integral to the war.


It is important to note that terrorism existed and was known before the major tragedy of 9/11, but the latter was the key turning point, which made the war on terrorism a top priority for the United States and the world. It is stated that “the al Qaeda-led attacks prompted President George W. Bush to declare a global “War on Terror” military campaign, in which he called on world leaders to join the U.S. in its response” ( Editors, 2020, para. 4). The day after the 9/11 attack, which killed 2977 people, George W. Bush announced declared war on terrorism. On October 7, 2001, both the US and the UK launched airstrikes on al-Qaeda and the Taliban’s training camps in Afghanistan ( Editors, 2020). On December 7, 2001, the fall of the Taliban’s last stronghold, Kandahar, takes place ( Editors, 2020). On March 19, 2003, the US and its allies invaded Iraq, and on December 13, 2003, Saddam Hussein is caught ( Editors, 2020). On August 30, 2010, the US combat operations ended in Iraq, and on May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden is killed in Pakistan ( Editors, 2020). On December 28, 2014, the combat in Afghanistan ended, and on January 28, 2019, the Taliban and the US initiated the process of withdrawal of American forces from the country ( Editors, 2020). Therefore, the overall war is still an ongoing process, which has already lasted for 20 years.

U.S. Foreign Policy

One of the most evident and significant changes that took place after the attack of 9/11 was a shift in the United States’ foreign policy, which forced the nation to become more proactive and involved in the international arena. In order to eliminate terrorist organizations, led by Osama bin Laden, the US needed to work with and use force in other nations, which are infected with these terrorist groups. One of the major laws that initiated the given shift in foreign policy is manifested in the Authorization for the Use of Military Force of 2001 or AUMF, which was enacted on September 18, 2001 (The United States Congress, 2001). The joint resolution stated that “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks” (The United States Congress, 2001, p. 1). In other words, the US president was given full authority and freedom to protect the country with all means necessary. Therefore, one can see how the U.S. foreign policy was prioritizing military actions aimed at terrorists, and it assumed that foreign nations needed to either cooperate or become enemies of the United States,

U.S. Economy

It is important to be aware that such a drastic change in the foreign policy of the United States required extensive resources and funds. The war on terror was a highly costly endeavor, which has already cost $5.93 trillion, which includes $1 trillion spent on Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, and more than $2 billion on overseas wars (Amadeo, 2021). One should also note that the spending began after the 9/11 attack, which in itself contributed to the 2001 recession (Amadeo, 2021). The need for more resources caused the United States debt crisis, which increased the overall debt of the country by $12 trillion than it would have been without the war on terror (Amadeo, 2021). It is stated that the 2008 financial crisis recovery was also affected by the war since the prioritization of the was meant less money for stimulus programs (Amadeo, 2021). In other words, it is evident that the war on terror was a highly expensive process, which severely impaired the US economy by reallocating all of its resources towards the war rather than boosting the economy, especially during crisis situations.

Worldwide Impact

The war on terror had the biggest impact on the world since terrorism was affecting not only the United States alone but also others. The conflict primarily impacted the nations where the terrorist organizations resided, which meant that countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, became the battleground for the military operations. As with any military conflict, numerous civilians were killed or injured due to collateral damage, which inevitably leads to mass-scale causalities. In addition, the infrastructure and economy of these nations are severely impaired due to internal political and socioeconomic instabilities. The war on terror also required other nations to be cooperative since the problem of terrorism was not an issue of the US only. Many of the United States’ allies were involved in various military campaigns, such as Great Britain being a part of the airstrikes in Afghanistan.


In conclusion, the war on terror was a global operation, which was triggered by the 9/11 attack and was led by the United States. The tragedy marked a major shift in the US’s foreign policy to become more militaristic and proactive, with a top priority being terrorism elimination. The US economy was highly impacted by the conflict, and the war affected the entire world.


Amadeo, K. (2021). How the 9/11 attacks affect the economy today. The Balance. Web. Editors. (2020). A timeline of the U.S.-led War on Terror. History. Web.

The United States Congress. (2001). Public Law 107–40. U.S. Congress. Web.

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