(Anderson) Herald Bulletin
The price of freedom is dear.
So far, 6,570 U.S. military service members have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
The military efforts undertaken post-9/11 in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan will eventually cost the United States at least $3.7 trillion, according to a study completed last year by Brown University.
And the psychological price for U.S. citizens has been incalculable. Collectively, we still see the world as a more dangerous place than we did before the airplane attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Today, it is more difficult for terrorists to launch an attack on the United States or U.S. interests. Dozens of ambitious plots for high-profile attacks on the United States of U.S. interests have been thwarted.
Certainly, the U.S. has made many missteps in addressing the terrorist threat. Terrorist leaders have slipped through our grasp, soldiers have died on
ill-advised missions and millions of dollars have been used irresponsibly. But we’ve made steady progress in disrupting terrorist communication, financing, weapons acquisition and attack planning and execution.
The job hasn’t been easy. The enemy is hard to identify and often embedded in the local population. Today, al-Qaida remains the single largest, most recognizable threat among the many terrorist organizations worldwide. But splinter and unaffiliated groups spring up continually to threaten our peace, safety and way of life.
Terrorists exist all over the world, including within the borders of the United States. The government’s efforts to ferret them out have sometimes compromised citizens’ rights, and individuals have been wrongly accused and subjected to unconstitutional search, seizure and imprisonment. Such tactics are motivated by fear of the unknown. That fear still exists.
Vigilance and sacrifice remain the primary weapons in the ongoing fight against terrorism. If we fail in either area, the United States becomes an open target for terrorists.
Yes, the price of freedom is dear — and never-ending.
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