Friday was the fifteenth anniversary of the commencement of Operation Enduring Freedom by the
and its allies in Afghanistan
on October 7, 2001, which was the start of the American-led global War on
Terrorism against militant Islamists.
The war was caused by the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks on New York, Washington and over Pennsylvania, which killed nearly 3,000 people, by the al-Qaeda Islamist terrorist organization, based in Afghanistan. The
U.S. and its
allies launched the war to overthrow the Taliban, the de facto Afghan regime
that was harboring al-Qaeda, to deny the terrorists a safe haven and to destroy
them. The Taliban was overthrown within
months and many terrorists captured or killed in 13 years of fighting, although
some of them fled to neighboring Pakistan.
The initiation of the
military response to the September 11 Attacks was on the anniversary of the
Battle of Lepanto. That naval battle in
1571 off of Greece, in which
an international force of Christians known as “the Holy League” defeated the
Ottoman Turks before the Muslim empire could conquer Rome
and the rest of Europe, was a turning point
for Christendom against the Turks’ long campaign of conquest. See also my post from April of 2009, Lepanto
by G.K. Chesterton, http://williamcinfici.blogspot.com/2009/04/lepanto-by-gk-chesterton.html,
in which I elaborate on a chapter I wrote in a similarly-named book about a
poem written about Lepanto. A link to
the book appears on the left-hand column of my blog.
The War on Terrorism has been fought by American military and intelligence services not only in
Afghanistan and Pakistan,
but in the Philippines, Iraq, Somalia,
Yemen, Libya and Syria, at least as is publicly
known. In addition, allies have engaged
Islamist terrorists throughout Asia, Africa and Europe. Although its combat role has been
significantly reduced, the U.S.
continues to support the Afghan government in various ways to prevent the
Taliban from returning to power, and American forces engaged militarily, at
least to some degree, in most of those theaters of operation.
Islamists have continued their terrorist and other attacks against Americans both in the U.S. homeland and abroad and there remains a threat of further large-scale attacks, but the American and allied military and intelligence officers who have fought the War on Terrorism have helped prevent any attack of a similar scale to September 11, as have other civil servants who have assisted in the comprehensive counterterrorism strategy. Political leaders, private institutions and citizens, voters and taxpayers have all contributed to the cause. All of these efforts deserve gratitude.
May the American and allied forces be safe and victorious.