George W. Bush's address before the joint session congress on September 20th, 2001, nine days after 9/11, was well-received by Republicans and Democrats. Why did Bush's war on terror prove to be so controversial?

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George W. Bush's war on terror became controversial when many in the American public came to believe that the war was more than retribution for the September 11 attacks that initially killed around 3,000 American civilians in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC.

President Bush and his foreign policy team, many allege, used the war on terror as a vehicle for enacting their own political agenda. Some say that they made deliberately inaccurate and dishonest links between the September 11 attacks, Saddam Hussein, Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, Osama bin Laden, and al Qaeda. Critics of the war allege that the war on terror actually further destabilized the Middle East. Casualties of the post-September 11 war on terror are estimated to stand around a half a million additional lives. This is a number many find unpalatable.

Other critics of the war focus on its cost. It has been estimated to have cost around $5 trillion dollars, but it has had little effect on the safety of American lives. An argument is that the $5 trillion could have gone a long way domestically to improve and better safeguard the lives of Americans. Many say that the war has done little to curb global terrorism. They point to many postwar attacks and increasing radicalization. Some say that the chaos the war created in Iraq allowed ISIS to gain members and momentum and deepen anti-Western sentiment.

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