The Oath

PBS Premiere: Sept. 21, 2010Check the broadcast schedule »

In Context

The phrase “war on terror” was first used by then United States President George W. Bush in response to the terrorist attacks launched against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.


With the purpose of waging a war against Al Qaeda and those who were deemed responsible for the attacks, a military campaign was launched against organizations believed to be terrorist regimes or connected to terrorist ideology. The United States and Great Britain invaded Afghanistan in 2001 with the purpose of ending the Taliban regime (the rulers of Afghanistan who provided support to Al Qaeda). In 2003, shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan, the United States invaded Iraq with the stated aim of removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power and establishing democracy in the country.