The umbrella terrorist group that gave us 9/11 carried out the first strike of that year in Iraq against US-supported Kurdish rebels in the north, assassinating top leaders there in a series of bombings intended to leave the Kurds leaderless and useless should the US move into Iraq after Sept 11. It failed, but the al Qaeda subsidiary remained in Iraq constructing a base in the north on the border with Iran and establishing a cell which operated out of Baghdad and which decapitated a Catholic nun there.
An al Qaeda group operating out of western Europe followed that up with an assassination of the leader of the Afghan Northern alliance just days before 9/11, on September 9th, in a move they hoped would prevent the US from working with Massood to gain a foothold in Afghanistan. That subgroup also plotted attacks on US Army HQ in Europe and the NATO hq.
The umbrella terrorist group that gave us 9/11 is the very same terrorist group which gave us the bombing of the USS Cole, a ship which was in the Yemeni port of Aden on a mission to contain Iraq in October 2000.
In early 2000 al Qaeda gathered in Malaysia to review their failed attack on the USS The Sullivans in Aden harbor, an effort which led to them seeking assistance from Iranian-backed Hezbollah in planning a second and successful plot to bomb the USS Cole. The Malaysia meeting involved an Iraqi facilitator employed by the Iraqi embassy who was later caught in Jordan with phone numbers linking him to the perps of the 1993 WTC bombing in NY and other infamous folks on our wanted list. One of the places used by the group in the Malaysia meetings was reported to be the Iranian ambassador's residence in Kuala Lumpour.
It is the very same bunch whose Kenyan cell and Tanzanian cell gave us the 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa.
It was the very same bunch which plotted operation Bojinka and a second plot from the Philippines in the mid nineties whose intended targets were airliners crossing the Pacific and the CIA headquarters in Virginia; the same group which bombed a flight over the Pacific and killed a Japanese engineer.
Another AlQaeda linked group carried out a bombing in the Philppines in 2000, as I recall, which killed a US army Ranger and wounded another, and after which the perps contacted their accomplice, a diplomat in the Iraqi embassy in the Philippines, to report their success.
It was the very same bunch who attempted to strike NY in the early nineties' "Landmark Plot" which targetted tunnels and the UN headquarters in NY. The spiritual leader of the Landmark plotters went on to use his US prison cell and an American leftist lawyer to order terrorist attacks in Egypt such as the Luxor Massacre targetting western tourists.
It was the very same bunbch which carried out attacks in Saudi Arabia in concert with the London based al Mujahiroun, a Saudi opposition group seeking the overthrow of the Saudi government, the group led by "Captain Hook" Omar Bakri the welfare cheat which was also attempting to establish terrorist training camps in the US and Canada.
It was the very same bunch who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. In that case one of the perps fled to Iraq where he was given a house and a pension.
It was the very same bunch which trained terrorists in Somalia and which ultimately drove the US from Somalia early in Clinton's first term.
The idea that the war started on 9/11/2001 is grossly nearsighted.
Oh, I don't know...
I don't think we say the war with Japan started on December 12, 1937, or on April 10, 1941.
Although the attack on the Panay and the formation of Kido Butai were both war acts by Japan, almost everyone (probably even you) counts Pearl Harbor Day as the REAL beginning.