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U.S. Global War on Terror


The Global War on Terrorism, often shortened to the "War on Terror," was the term given by President Bush and his administration members to an array of military, economic, intelligence, law enforcement, diplomatic and communication activities undertaken after the September 11, 2001 attacks, to counter a range of threats categorized as global terrorism. Although the Obama administration does not use the term "war on terrorism," many of its activities continue. This page contains information on the original Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), and on current activities undertaken in the name of battling global terrorism.
  1. Obama and the War on Terror
  2. The Wars
  3. Guantanamo Bay
  4. Pakistan

Obama and the War on Terror

Obama Inaugural Address

When Obama took the presidency, he also took on the legacy of the Bush Administration's Global War on Terrorism. This included two military wars overseas; a renewed focus on counterterrorism in U.S. military and intelligence activities abroad; a new department dedicated to "homeland security"; a legal legacy that changed interrogation and detention practices, and a global audience shaped by their experience of the war on terror.

The Wars

President Bush, 2001

When President Bush announced a war on terrorism in September 2001, he told Congress and the American people that, "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated." In the next several years, the U.S. military initiated two major operations, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi freedom.

Guantanamo Bay

Guantanamo Protest

The Guantanamo Bay Facility was established in 2002 to house captured Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects. Within several years, however, it became a globally infamous symbol of American excesses in its pursuit of terrorists since detainees were held without charge for years, denied the right to confront their accusers and subjected to interrogation techniques that amount to torture. Within hours of assuming office in 2009, President Obama ordered that the Guantanamo facility be closed down within a year. Logistical and legal challenges about how best to deal with the remaining detainees soon arose.


Rumsfeld and Musharraf

Pakistan has been an unnamed front in the U.S. declared "war on terror" since the first bombs dropped on Afghanistan in 2001. By 2008, politicians, lawmakers and the U.S. military were calling Pakistan the "real" center of gravity in the military battle against militarized Islamist groups.

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