In a few days is the 10th anniversary of the attacks plotted by Osama bin Laden and his cronies. Bin Laden's stated goals, as I understand them, were to deprive Americans of their liberty and to wreck our economic system. The use of commercial airliners filled with passengers to crash into buildings was a mechanism to achieve those goals.
As to our liberties, what occurred in "the aftermath of 9/11"? That is a phrase we have heard or read many times. The (Orwellian-named) Patriot Act was rammed through Congress, approved by representatives who do not take much time to read fineprint of legislation comprised mostly of fineprint. Protections established by our Constitution (e.g., habeas corpus) and its Amendments (the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth spring readily to mind) were blunted or otherwise impaired. TSA was established. Air travel became even more of a security process. The nuts in the 1960s who high-jacked planes to Cuba introduced us to metal detectors, but Al Quaeda meant full body searches. The right to privacy, either located in an emanation of a number of rights contained in the Bill of Rights, or found,as Justice Goldberg maintained in Griswold v. Connecticut, was truncated.
What of our economy? The lunacy of granting massive tax cuts to those not in need of them while simultaneously launching two wars seemed obvious at the time. I did not major in econ at DePauw, but I had learned bits and pieces. The tax cuts had nothing to do with bin Laden, of course, but with the guy who stole the 2000 presidential election. (I am not sorry to say I still am bitter about that bit of constitutional chicanery.) The incursion into Afghanistan was plausible. The political vacuum of the aftermath of the Soviet occupation allowed Al Quaeda a place to train its people. But the Brits learned in the 1920s that Afghanistan may be invaded, but not successfully occupied. The war in Iraq was boot-strapped by 9/11. The reasons given for that war were false. The country was defrauded. A lot of people have died. On top of that is the added problem of its effects on our economy.
So---did bin Laden achieve his goals? Did he grin as he sat and masturbated in Islamabad the six years prior to his death? (They found a huge cache of porn in his home. Porn appears to be a common commodity taken in raids on Islamic terrorists. Maybe if they got laid more, they would not have such a compulsion for violence.) An added gain for bin Laden and other people of absurdity is Americans, already distrustful of other cultures, had attitudes toward Islam exacerbated. (I did not mean to use a word that rhymes with "masturbated" in the same paragraph.) I would say that, if he achieved his goals, it only was because we were complicit: we let him. Now, we should end the damn wars, bring back the tax rates pre-W, and realize most people of the Islamic faith are not nuts like bin Laden. They are no more nuts than mainstream believers of the other two branches of Judeo-Christianity.