Which harmed US more, 9/11/01 or 3/20/03?

I gotta go with the Iraq invasion.

What we have paid so far in the war woulda gone a long ways towards rebuilding the towers and the economic effect of their loss.
Probably a wash in terms of US lives and limbs, but no contest if we count dusky hued furriners (even at a discounted rate) and casualties from the war keep growing daily.
After 9/11 we had the sympathy of nearly all the world. Compared to our might international coalition in Iraq…
9/11 resonated in the American perception of our country and its place in the world. So has our leaders lying the country into invading a sovereign nation.

If it were close, I’d still have to go with the self-inflicted harm. This clusterfuck in Iraq was entirely avoidable, and nobody did it to us other than ourselves.

It’s disturbing how many posts on this topic have thinly veiled accusations of racism.

That said, I would probably go with the Iraq invasion. Of course, this doesn’t actually mean it was a bad idea; you could argue that not invading Iraq would have been worse than both of those (I don’t think I would, but you could). Something being harmful doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the worst alternative.

Probably because our near total disregard for Iraqi lives & welfare reeks of racism.

And I think the Iraqi invasion has hurt us more, by far. Although it’s a self inflicted wound.

No question in my mind that the Iraq was was worse. By almost any measure I can think of: more Americans killed, waaaaaay more non-Americans killed, maybe a trillion dollars down the drain, the loss of stature with even our closest allies, the almost certain emergence (once we leave) of a failed Iraqi state, and the list goes on and on.

As terrible as 9/11/01 was, it served as a wake-up call for the US about the dangers of radical Islamists around the world. But Iraq was not part of that danger. Saddam was a brutal dictator, and he ran a rogue state, but we had him pinned down very effectively. Perhaps one might argue that that situation was not sustainable in the long term, but we had no reason to invade when we did and how we did. No reason to do so, and every reason not to do so (WMDs or no WMDs). That was clearly one of the biggest, if not the biggest, foreign policy blunders by the US in the post-WWII era.

Personally, I think it was 1/20/01. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ll always believe that 9/11/01 made 3/20/03 possible, so one could argue that 9/11 was worse. By any rational measure (number of dead, cost), Iraq is far worse. I believe that Iraq has displaced the War of 1812 as the greatest mistake in US history.

Interesting. Not, of course, your opinion of Iraq, which was expected, but your curious view of the War of 1812.

Seems to me that there were a lot of issues between Great Britain and the U.S. that in the context of early ninteenth-century geopolitics couldn’t have been settled without a war. Why do you regard it as a mistake?

Iraq, without question.

I’m also curious about how the war of 1812 was our biggest mistake (prior to Iraq). I don’t consider it so myself…I’d rate Vietnam and probably WWI as much larger mistakes. Or perhaps our PI adventure (the US doesn’t do colonialism well IMHO), which was a particular ugly era of our history. But the war of 1812??


I always thought of the war as having started on 3/19/03 but I guess that was EST…and it was probably already 3/20/03 in Iraq itself.

At any rate, I do appreciate you moving the start date off of my birthday (3/19). On the other hand, 9/11 is my Dad’s birthday…so I guess my family’s birthdays are just destined to live in infamy!

Viewed in a certain light, the baleful light of realpolitik, 9/11 was a boon. People who didn’t even like us very much held candlelight vigils in sympathy, we had damn near the whole world on our side, till GW pissed it all away playing tough guy.

The correct response was, and remains, police work and intelligence. But we are the most powerful military force in human history, and when you’re a hammer, all problems are nails. But you can’t bomb a shadow, you cannot launch an effective artillery barrage against an incoming fog.

The sympathy engendered by 9/11 was a diamond encrusted golden opportunity, however ghastly the source. We have yet to see the ultimate repurcussions of Iraq, the stench will be in the worlds nostrils for years to come.

Let’s keep in mind that it’s an apples to oranges comparison, really. The attacks of 9/11/01 happened to us, while the invasion of Iraq happened by us.

I don’t agree. Why is the result any different if it is self-inflicted, or inflicted by an enemy?

It’s sort of a “fool me once…” kind of thing. Bad things other people do to you, to a certain extent, is not your fault. Bad things you do to yourself is either foolish, stupid, or insane. Which are we?

I don’t think it’s that different… I mean certainly you’re right to point out that difference, but the question being asked is “which caused more harm?”, which both pretty certainly did do. Ideally we should be comparing “invasion of Iraq” against “not invading Iraq”, but that’s not something we can really do.

Ewww, a false trichotomy.
You don’t see one of those puppies every day! :smiley:

All three.



Well, I can see you’re your usual, chipper, self.

I think the invasion of Iraq is more harmful. It just doesn’t happen on one day before our eyes.

And one of the things that makes it so awful is that we keep running through reasons. Today Gen. Petraeus admitted that he doesn’t know if the war is making America safer.

Comparing the two events makes one thing clear: the only thing that can possibly destroy the United States is the United States. The war has done far more damage than the 9/11 attacks.

Given the subject of this thread, there isn’t a whole lot to be chipper about.