Victor Davis Hanson a contributing editor of City Journal reflects on the events since 9/11. He is also the author of the forthcoming novel The End of Sparta.
A decade of surprises in the war on terror
It has been a decade since 3,000 Americans were murdered on September 11, 2001. Much of what followed in the subsequent ten years was unexpected, while what was expected did not happen.
On October 7, just 26 days after the attacks, the United States went after both al-Qaida and its Taliban sponsors when it invaded Afghanistan, removing the Islamists from that nation’s major cities in little more than two months. By early 2002, the “graveyard of empires” had a UN-approved constitutional government—despite earlier warnings of Western failure and a Soviet- or British-like disaster. We forget now the national euphoria over Donald Rumsfeld’s “light footprint” and a new way of war characterized by a few Special Forces troops with laptops who guided volleys of GPS munitions from jets circling above.
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