US-trained death squads are the dark legacy of the war on terror | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

US-trained death squads are the dark legacy of the war on terror

There are relatively few truly world-changing events, but the 9/11 attack on New York's World Trade Centre in 2001 was one. Regardless of the numerous theories that have surrounded it or the obvious and undisputable fact that revenge has been taken against innocent people directly and indirectly worldwide, it set into motion a series of events which have shaped the world for the past two decades.

Increased securitisation, unprecedented state surveillance and a global shift in how Muslims are perceived are just a few of the results of that fateful day. Around the globe, and particularly in the "third world", however, those effects have included regime change – not entirely a bad thing for the regimes' many victims – in Afghanistan and Iraq. This has been deadly.

Washington has also developed its use of unmanned aerial vehicles — drones — which have killed at least 22,000 civilians since 9/11 (and that is a very conservative estimate). Modern weapons and their innocent victims are part of the dark legacy of the "war on terror".

To this legacy must be added the US-trained militias and death squads which continue to wreak havoc and fuel sectarian conflicts. Those in Iraq provide a classic example. Following the US-led coalition's invasion in 2003 and the toppling of President Saddam Hussein, there was hope for the state-building process that was promised by Western leaders. An interim government was installed, national institutions started to be reconstructed, and a civilian police force was recruited and trained by British and American advisors.