The World Trade Center terror attacks on September 11, 2001 have fundamentally changed the way the United States government operates and the world at large. For much of the nineties and early turn of the millennium, the United States was very focused on issues of domestic significance. With the end of the Cold War, countries around the world had to adjust to a new set of global circumstances. The United States emerged from the fall of the Soviet Union as a leading power in a west without a common enemy. This all changed with 9/11.
After the surprise attack on New York City, President Bush declared a global War on Terror to find the perpetrators of the attack and bring them to justice. The United States took the official stance of making enemies of all terrorist organizations and the countries that harbor them. Making no distinction between terrorist groups and the countries that harbor them is crucial to understanding our wars in the Middle East. The United States mobilized its military for the longest running ground war in American history. This new War on Terror has provided Western nations with a common enemy and a common political goal the likes of which have not been seen since the Soviet Union existed.
If the United States is to wage war against all nations that harbor terrorist groups, then it must ensure that those groups do not secretly pervade the United States. The Department of Homeland Security was created for the expressed purpose. This new department’s duties include increased security measures at all U.S. airports. This increase in security has remained largely the same since the period immediately following 9/11. Another more controversial act by the department is the use of phone wiretaps to spy on Americans who may be suspected of conspiring with terrorist groups.
Attached is a screen capture of President George W. Bush addressing congress immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Picture sourced from http://www.youtube.com