The War on Terror

In 2001, terrorists hijack four airplanes to attack the U.S., and the U.S. invades Afghanistan; a photograph of soldiers aiming their guns from behind a hill in Afghanistan is shown. In 2002, George W. Bush creates the Department of Homeland Security. In 2003, coalition forces invade Iraq. In 2004, Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage, and Mark Zuckerberg founds Facebook; a photograph of Zuckerberg sitting with a laptop computer is shown. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastates Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi; an aerial photograph of underwater homes and trees is shown. In 2007, Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female Speaker of the House; a photograph of Pelosi is shown. In 2008, the global financial crisis begins, and Barack Obama is elected president; a photograph of Barack Obama taking the oath of office beside Michelle Obama is shown. In 2010, Congress passes the Affordable Care Act. In 2013, terrorists attack the Boston Marathon, and the Supreme Court rules the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional; a photograph of bystanders assisting the injured at the finish line of the Boston Marathon is shown.
(credit “2004”: modification of work by Elaine and Priscilla Chan; credit “2013”: modification of work by Aaron Tang; credit “2001”: modification of work by “DVIDSHUB”/Flickr)

As a result of the narrow decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, Republican George W. Bush was the declared the winner of the 2000 presidential election with a majority in the Electoral College of 271 votes to 266, although he received approximately 540,000 fewer popular votes nationally than his Democratic opponent, Bill Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore. Bush had campaigned with a promise of “compassionate conservatism” at home and nonintervention abroad. These platform planks were designed to appeal to those who felt that the Clinton administration’s initiatives in the Balkans and Africa had unnecessarily entangled the United States in the conflicts of foreign nations. Bush’s 2001 education reform act, dubbed No Child Left Behind, had strong bipartisan support and reflected his domestic interests. But before the president could sign the bill into law, the world changed when terrorists hijacked four American airliners to use them in the deadliest attack on the United States since the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Bush’s domestic agenda quickly took a backseat, as the president swiftly changed course from nonintervention in foreign affairs to a “war on terror.”

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