Eight men hijack airplanes and turn them into weapons. They kill themselves and a few thousand Americans.
We invade a country and topple their government, because the perpetrators of the airplane attack were financed, protected, and sent from that country. Then we invade a neighboring country under the same war flag, labeled ‘war on terror.’
Others have written much better than I on this subject, and with much more information and background. I do not need to elaborate on the strength of these arguments from "Foreign Affairs".
Or this from columnist John Tierney in today’s New York Times:
….Instead of declaring victory against terrorists after routing the Taliban and sending bin Laden into hiding, [America] invaded Iraq, reinvigorating Al Qaeda with a new tool for recruiting. Instead of putting the terrorist risk in perspective, Bush (with the full cooperation of Democrats and the press) set an impossible standard for making America safe.
“We’re on the offense against the terrorists on every battlefront,” Bush said last week, “and we’ll accept nothing less than complete victory.”
When you define victory that way, when you treat one attack from a disorganized band of fanatics as a menace to civilization, you’ve doomed yourself to defeat and caused more damage than they could. You can’t completely stop terrorism, but you can scare people into giving up liberties, wasting huge sums of money and sacrificing more lives than would be lost in a terrorist attack.