Two wars. 900,000 dead. $9 trillion down the drain.

Many of the same talking heads are still advocating for endless war, even after President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.




In the 20 years since 9/11, the United States has launched two wars, engaged in military conflict in dozens of countries, gutted civil liberties at home and abroad, spent more than $8 trillion, killed more than 900,000 people, engaged in torture, and imprisoned tens of thousands of people without a hint of due process.

All of this was done with bipartisan support, and the results have been disastrous.

But we can’t just blame the politicians. Too often, a compliant news media helped politicians and generals beat the drums of war and mislead the public. And sadly, many of the same talking heads — often with their own ties to the defense industry — are still advocating for endless war, even after... President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Intercept was founded to expose the corruption of the military-industrial complex and challenge the bipartisan consensus on dystopian surveillance and endless war.

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Some of the lies told to the American public during the so-called war on terror were to justify the wars themselves, while others were to whitewash the crimes of the U.S. and its allies, from torture to the civilian toll of drone strikes. But there was another fundamental lie: that the wars were going well — that the U.S. was winning, or that these conflicts were winnable at all.

As Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan closes the door on this sordid 20-year chapter, it’s become clear that the U.S. was never close to victory in these conflicts. Generals who told civilian leadership and the public what they wanted to hear were rewarded, like David Petraeus in Iraq, while the local forces and institutions the U.S. was supposedly developing in its “nation-building” projects remained paper tigers.

The Intercept has continued to provide critical coverage of the war on terror long after other media outlets put it on the back burner.

In Afghanistan, we revealed the U.S.’s classification of civilians as enemy combatants in drone strikes and the brutal tactics of U.S.-backed “death squads,” and we reported on an internal audit showing that the U.S. government knew its nation-building efforts in that country were a failure. At home, we’ve continued to shine a light on the massive surveillance state that the 9/11 era ushered in.

We’re going to keep digging into the consequences of America’s wars — and who profits from the massive growth of the security state. But as a reader-supported outlet, we need your help.

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The Intercept is an award-winning nonprofit news organization dedicated to holding the powerful accountable through fearless, adversarial journalism. Our in-depth investigations and unflinching analysis focus on surveillance, war, corruption, the environment, technology, criminal justice, the media and more. Email is an important way for us to communicate with The Intercept’s readers, but if you’d like to stop hearing from us, click here to r0 from all communications. Protecting freedom of the press has never been more important. Contribute now to support our independent journalism.

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