Center for American Progress

RELEASE: 20 Years After the 9/11 Attacks, CAP Outlines Lessons Learned and Personal Reflections
Press Release

RELEASE: 20 Years After the 9/11 Attacks, CAP Outlines Lessons Learned and Personal Reflections

Washington, D.C. — On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Center for American Progress has published two columns reflecting on the lessons learned from a national security perspective, as well as the impact the attack has had on our lives.

In one column, CAP discusses how many of the protective actions taken over past two decades have produced important gains in security at home, but these successes have also come at great strategic, material, and human costs. Since the 9/11 attacks, the United States has led international coalitions into three major wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

Despite the immense human and financial cost, the long-term impact of these conflicts is largely inconclusive, the column finds. While our nation is safer from foreign terrorist threats today than it was 20 years ago, it faces a growing threat from domestic terrorism. And America’s efforts to promote freedom and democratic governance in the world has faltered.

“The strategic ledger accounting for 20 years of effort remains decidedly mixed,” said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at CAP. “There have been undeniable gains and signs of progress, but they came at great costs and too often spawned new challenges.”

A second column offers personal reflections by CAP staff and fellows on how 9/11 and its aftermath changed their lives, including those who served or were called to serve, those targeted for discrimination based on a rise in Islamophobia, and others whose career paths were shaped by the events of that day.

One reflection comes from Sharita Gruberg, vice president for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at CAP, who recalls her experience on that day.

“I felt the pit of my stomach drop again that day realizing I wouldn’t be able to just grieve as an American but would also have to face anti-Muslim bigotry holding myself, my family, and my community collectively responsible,” Gruberg writes.

Read the columns:

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].