Sunday, September 11, 2011

Paul Wolfowitz: 9/11: Did the US Overreact?

On September 9, The Wall Street Journal asked a group of leading national security thinkers to respond to the question: Did the United States overreact to the 9/11 attacks? AEI's Paul Wolfowitz answered:

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans were put in concentration camps. That there was no comparable overreaction after 9/11, and that we have been able to preserve a free and open society, owes much to the fact that for 10 years there has been no repetition of those terrible attacks.

That we made mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq does not prove that we overreacted.Preventing further attacks required the U.S. to drop its law-enforcement approach to terrorism and recognize that we were at war. Consider the difference between Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—the mastermind of 9/11 who told us much of what we now know about al Qaeda—and his nephew Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center who can't be questioned (even most courteously) without his lawyer present and has told us nothing of significance. Or consider the difference between the ineffective retaliatory bombing of Afghanistan in 1998 and the 2001 response that brought down the Taliban regime.

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