18 years after December 7th, 1941 was 1959. Japan and Germany had largely been rebuilt. The threat they had represented was relegated to history books and movies. The United States had made the decision to eliminate those threats, converted to a war footing, won decisively, and returned to a peacetime economy that was the envy of the world.
18 years after September 11, 2001 is 2019.
We never identified the enemy. We never declared war. We called it a war. The War on Terror. A complete failure to identify the enemy and an undeclared war on a tactic. Invaded two countries inconclusively. Then we decided to start rebuilding before we had won.
As a result, we have incurred 7,000 combat related U.S. military deaths, 54,000 injuries of which approximately 1,700 involved amputations, and there are 6,000 veteran suicides a year, every year.
In the process we have already spent 6 Trillion dollars. We did not tax or sell war bonds for this. It is all done with borrowing and deficits.
We used up the life of our ships, aircraft, vehicles, and weapons systems. We would be currently unable to effectively respond to another war. Our active obligations drive an ops tempo that do not allow for proper maintenance of equipment and push personnel into a continuous cycle of deployments.
We set in motion a surveillance apparatus that continues to grow, watching every move, call, text, click that we make.
We turned air travel into a Kafkaesque system where everyone, from 80 year old nuns to infants are suspects. It's all theater, but it's unpleasant, unconstitutional theater. And we spent a 100 Billion dollars just on that.
We have lost and are continuing to lose. We're negotiating with the Taliban. We don't control Afghanistan. We don't control Iraq. We are not safer than we were in 2001. We don't have any idea who is coming across our southern border. We don't know that the next attack won't be worse. We're far less free than we were.
If Osama Bin Laden wanted to make us bleed, both physically and economically, he won.