Seventeen years after 9/11

Fire fighters look for survivors at the World Trade Center

Like many of you, I’ll never forget where I was that Tuesday morning, 17 years ago. As I sat there, watching the tragedy unfold, I saw both the best and worst of my fellow humans: Brave first responders giving their lives, running into collapsing buildings to desperately try to save one more person. Nineteen men reminding us of the devastating effects when hatred and violence are combined. Countless images seared into our collective memory.

Days passed, then weeks, then months, and what started as a national call for unity from everyday Americans up to the president became something very different.

The president, aided by politicians from both parties, launched war after war — first in Afghanistan, then Iraq, and eventually in dozens of other countries — all of which continue to this day. Under the president’s orders, and then his successor’s, and his successor’s, our nation tried to fight, bomb, and kill our way to peace.

At home, waves of hate crimes and violence were unleashed on Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian communities. We traded civil liberties and human rights away for the illusion of “security.” And along the way, thousands of young people in uniform lost their lives, tens of thousands more came home wounded, and an uncountable number of Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Syrians, Somalis, and so many others were killed, all victims of an endless war.

Seventeen years later, those memories — both the attacks of the day and the wars that followed — continue to haunt me. Yet we have other memories too. A little over a year after the attacks of September 11th, a group of patriotic, peaceful Americans came together in the hopes of stopping the march to war in Iraq. We joined forces with millions who took to the streets and the tens of millions more who became digital activists, united in the belief that we could win without war.

Today, our movement continues. So while we come together in remembrance of a tragedy, we also come together to renew a commitment. Seventeen years of waging war on terror has failed. Seventeen years of trying to bomb our way to peace has failed. And seventeen years of fighting hate with hate has surely failed.

Today, I hope you’ll join me in choosing a different way forward. Win Without War brings hundreds of thousands of activists like you together to end endless war and build a foreign policy grounded in our progressive values. You can sign up to join us here.

Together, let’s choose to end endless war. Together, let’s choose peaceful love over violent hate. And together, let’s choose to win without war, so that tomorrow there can be peace.

Stephen Miles, Executive Director, and the Win Without War team

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