I heard Ian S. Lustick, author of "Trapped in the War On Terror", on Fox News Channel today. I have not read the book, but below is a description. After you read it, let's go back to September 11, 2001 and revise history for a bit.
The first principle of terrorism is to understand that the weak win by exploiting the strength of the powerful. When 9/11 terrorists with box cutters hijacked American airliners, they transformed America's preeminent transportation system into a devastating weapon of attack. They also set a trap with the promise of revenge and security as the bait. The hijackers' biggest victory was to goad our government into taking the bait by unleashing the War on Terror. The worry, witch-hunt, and waste that have ensued are, according to Ian S. Lustick, destroying American confidence, undermining our economy, warping our political life, and isolating us from our international allies.
The media have given constant attention to possible terrorist-initiated catastrophes and to the failures and weaknesses of the government's response. Trapped in the War on Terror, however, questions the very rationale for the War on Terror. By analyzing the virtual absence of evidence of a terrorist threat inside the United States along with the motives and strategic purposes of al-Qaeda, Lustick shows how disconnected the War on Terror is from the real but remote threat terrorism poses. He explains how the generalized War on Terror began as part of the justification for invading Iraq, but then took on a life of its own. A whirlwind of fear, failure, and recrimination, this "war" drags every interest group and politician, he argues, into selfish competition for its spoils. (read more)
Let's pretend that after America was attacked on September 11, 2001, we had done nothing. No troops sent to Afghanistan, no troops sent to Iraq, not even one missile lobbed at 'somebody', 'somewhere' for PR purposes, as a previous U.S. President did. What do you think the terrorists would have done then?
Would they have left us alone? Would they have been happy, even appeased, with what they accomplished on September 11? Would sacrificing 2,996 human lives have made Americans safer in the future? Is that something Americans are willing to allow, without so much as a whisper of retaliation?
Terrorists have been attacking the United States for years and years. Why? Maybe because we didn't strike back. Maybe because they knew they could do it and get away with it.
There have been no attacks on America's homeland since September 11. Perhaps that's because President George W. Bush took the battle to them. The leaders are hiding in the remote hills of Afghanistan. I'm not a military person and don't claim to be. But when someone attacks my home I don't believe in skulking back into a corner and letting them get away with it.
What do you think history would look like over the past 5-1/2 years if America had NOT gone on the hunt for the terrorists. Are we 'trapped in this war on terror' as Mr. Lustick suggests? Yes I know, things could have been handled much better, Iraq could have been over and done with if we had not stuck with the 'light footprint' military plan. But would we have been better off NOT going after the terrorists?