Charles Fried is wrong:
in the New York Times
about possible trials for Bush administration staff vis-a-vis the torture issue: (emp add)
... our leaders were defending their country and people — albeit with an insufficient sense of moral restraint — against a terrifying threat by ruthless attackers with no sense of moral restraint at all.
After 9/11, there was no risk of a terrifying attack
. What happened on 9/11 was that a bunch of people, with no weaponry of their own and limited resources, managed to exploit a vulnerability (cockpit cabin doors) and turn airliners into missles. That vulnerability was subsequently closed, leaving the wannabe terrorists with the old stock in trade: suicide bombing and random bombs in subways. While that's bad, it is in no way on the level of a "terrifying attack" on the nation.
Remember the DC snipers.
Two guys and a rifle.
The end of America was at hand. Nobody was safe! Pass the Patriot Act, fast!
What a time of madness we've been through.