October 22, 2008 4:24PM

U.S. Missteps = Perceived Gains for Terrorists

I wrote here a few weeks ago about a plausible argument that the 9/11 attacks were succeeding in that they drew our nation into destabilizing overreaction. Though I assume only the best of intentions on the part of our political leaders, their massive expenditures on war and homeland security have left the country in a weaker fiscal position and less able to deal with the recent upheaval in investment banking, credit, and the stock market.

Apparently, terrorists and would‐​be terrorists see this too. According to the Washington Post:

[Web commentary] posted by Taliban or al‐​Qaeda‐​allied groups in recent days [has] trumpeted the global financial crisis and predicted further decline for the United States and other Western powers. In language that was by turns mocking and ominous, the newest posting credited al‐​Qaeda with having lured Washington into a trap that had “exhausted its resources and bankrupted its economy.”

I’m still quite sure that the United States is not destabilized and in economic collapse, but we’re quite a bit worse off economically than we could have been had we responded strategically to terrorism rather than just reacting.

20–20 hindsight? Yes! My purpose is to turn these lessons into foresight.