The squandering of that moment of national unity and international solidarity by the Bush administration in the past five years rivals the enormity of the original attack. Yet the administration proceeds even to this day as if its ruinous policies are the only real choice if we are to protect ourselves from future acts of terror. They are not. It is time for a new vision that accomplishes what the administration has manifestly failed to do: neutralize terrorist networks, starve extremists of the money and motivation that fuel their activities, and build international alliances that actually leave the world safer and more secure.
The administration’s failures are apparent. Americans are divided as the White House continues to wield the war on terror as a partisan club. Allies are alienated. Fury in the Muslim world is on the rise. Osama bin Laden is free and has set up camp in Pakistan. Terrorist acts are up dramatically across the world. Our nation’s credibility is shredded by the lies leading up to the invasion of Iraq; our nation’s honor besmirched by the horrors of Abu Ghraib, the gulag of secret prisons and use of torture still coming to light. American forces are mired in a bloody and endless civil war in Iraq. The Taliban is back on the rise in Afghanistan, with the NATO commander pleading for more forces. The nonpartisan 9/11 Commission gives the administration a failing grade on homeland security. The conservative Supreme Court rebukes the president for his imperial disdain for America’s laws and constitution. Career military officials censure the administration for misleading and weakening the military. Five years later, America is more isolated, more hated and less safe…