This is the five-year anniversary of the Iraq War. But instead of focusing on that event, let's examine what led to it: the attacks on September 11. The problem was that following those attacks in New York and Washington D.C. there was a complete failure to properly analyze what happened
Virtually everybody thought that al Qaeda was a big threat. It wasn't. What al Qaeda had managed to do was exploit a vulnerability (access to airline cockpit doors) which enabled them to briefly have an air force.
But al Qaeda, sans that unique event, never was a threat in conventional terms (i.e. having an army) or even as a terrorist group (there is very little suicide bombing they could inflict on the U.S., countries are not going to give WMD to outside groups*).
This failure of analysis was on all sides of the political spectrum. Why was an "engineer's perspective" (vulnerability exploits) ignored? And why, after the vulnerability was closed, were people still fearful that al Qaeda would strike as it did on 9/11?
It's legitimate to go into a failed state (Afghanistan) and round up the perpetrators, but to foster the notion that there was a near- Clash of Civilizations (which is what Bush did) was completely irresponsible.
Way back, this blog asserted that 9/11 was a unique event, not indicative of real power, and that it was nothing more than an exploitation of a vulnerability. This blog also predicted that there would be no further big attacks.
The evidence is in. Al Qaeda had its one day of glory, but none further, and should not have been the proximate reason the United States went to war in Iraq.
Even now, five years later, most people still do not see the events of 9/11 for what they were: not a sign of a serious threat, but a day when a very few people managed to trick the system. It's sad.
* - the anthrax attacks
remain a serious issue demanding resolution. It clearly came from a U.S. Defense facility or a university working with the DoD. That rules out al Qaeda.
I think that this analysis is spot-on. Thank you for reminding me what basic sanity looks like.
The sad truth is that al Queda developed a chilling innovation in terrorism. Multiple coordinated attacks, combined with significant destruction in each attack, will deliver a level of terror that can cause long-term damage to a culture and an economy.
I think that a dozen terrorists armed with biological bombs attacking 12 parades on a national holiday could do much more damage to a nation than 12 Panzer divisions ever could.