Steven Taylor writes:
The bottom line is that while there is little doubt that 9/11 was one of the single most devastating days in US history (in terms of its overall effect on the national consciousness) and that the events of that day rightly sparked an intense interest in the issue of international terrorism and its potential threat to the United States. It is also the case that the administration has created a false reality regarding that threat which had guided US policy since that time.
Indeed, the continued insistence that the war on terror represents an existential struggle of historical proportions is at the heart of the problem. As Brzezinski notes:
To justify the ?war on terror,? the administration has lately crafted a false historical narrative that could even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By claiming that its war is similar to earlier U.S. struggles against Nazism and then Stalinism (while ignoring the fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were first-rate military powers, a status al- Qaeda neither has nor can achieve), the administration could be preparing the case for war with Iran. Such war would then plunge America into a protracted conflict spanning Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and perhaps also Pakistan.
We are not in a struggle of the magnitude of either WWII or the Cold War, yet the administration has pursued its foreign policy (and some of its domestic policy) as if this was the case.
That the initial response to 9/11 needed to be dramatic and swift I do not deny. Indeed, the invasion of Afghanistan and the initial attacks on the leadership of al Qaeda were impressive and, on balance, successful (the final hours of Tora Bora not withstanding).
... Still, long ago it should have become clear that another 9/11 was not as imminent as we thought was the case and the need has long passed to re-evaluate exactly where we are and where we should be in regards to counter-terrorism and the overall issue of US foreign policy goals. Hopefully the 2008 presidential campaign cycle will allow such a re-evaluation, although I am not especially optimistic on that front.