From Le Monde diplomatique:
"After 9/11, George W Bush and his top advisers almost instantly launched their crusade against Islam and then their wars, all under the rubric of the “global war on terror”. (As Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld pungently put the matter that September, “We have a choice – either to change the way we live, which is unacceptable, or to change the way that they live; and we chose the latter.”) By then, they were already heading out to “drain the swamp” of evildoers, 60 countries worth of them, if necessary. Meanwhile, they moved quickly to fight the last battle at home, the one just over, by squandering vast sums on an American Maginot Line of security. The porous new Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, the FBI, and other acronymic agencies were to lock down, surveil and listen in on America. All this to prevent “the next 9/11”.
In the process, they would treat bin Laden’s scattered al-Qaida network as if it were the Nazi or Soviet war machine (even comically dubbing his followers “Islamofascists”). In the blinking of an eye, and in the rubble of two enormous buildings in downtown Manhattan, bin Laden and his cronies had morphed from nobodies into supermen, a Legion of Doom. (There was a curious parallel to this transformation in the second world war. As historian John Dower documented in his book War Without Mercy, before Pearl Harbour American experts had considered the Japanese bucktoothed, near-sighted military incompetents whose warplanes were barely capable of flight. On 8 December 1941 they suddenly became a race of invincible supermen without, in the American imagination, ever passing through a human incarnation.)"
"When the history of this era is finally written, Osama bin Laden and his scattering of followers may be credited for goading the fundamentalist leaders of the United States into using the power in their grasp so stupidly and profligately as to send the planet’s sole superpower into decline. Above all, bin Laden and his crew of fanatics will have ensured that the real security problems of our age were ignored in Washington until far too late in favour of mad dreams and dark phantoms. In this lies a bleak but epic tale of folly worthy of a great American novelist. In the meantime, consider the following list – 15 numbers that offer an indication of just what the tai chi principle meant in action these last years; just where American energies did and did not flow; and, in the end, just how much less safe we are now than we were in January 2001, when George Bush entered the Oval Office."
Read the rather fascinating piece, in full, here.