Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who, along with Linda Bilmes, once calculated the staggering cost of America’s wars, takes a look at the “mostly avoidable” economic devastation we imposed on ourselves in reaction to the terrorist attacks a decade ago.
Joseph Stiglitz in Project Syndicate:
NEW YORK – The September 11, 2001, terror attacks by Al Qaeda were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama bin Laden probably never imagined. President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.
The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al Qaeda – as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive – orders of magnitude beyond the $60 billion claimed at the beginning – as colossal incompetence met dishonest misrepresentation.