A word from John Podhoretz

Commentary editor John Podhoretz writes:

Abe Greenwald, Commentary’s senior editor, has just written a major piece on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that is the cover article of our September issue. “What We Got Right in the War on Terror” offers a panoramic overview of the fight of the past ten years, both outside the United States and within our own borders. It is, in every particular, an eye-opening article.

Greenwald argues that, despite the ferocity with which the Bush counterterrorism efforts were attacked, the public never came to share that view—as the consistent bipartisan majorities in favor of them in both houses of Congress demonstrated. More provocative is Greenwald’s contention that the great success of the war on terror was the war in Iraq—because that was where Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda put the lion’s share of their chips after being rousted from Afghanistan. The failure of the efforts to ignite a civil war between Sunni and Shia owing to the “Sunni awakening” and the surge crushed al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and changed the course of the terrorist onslaught.

Greenwald certainly does not spare the Bush administration from criticism, especially when it comes to the handling of Afghanistan. But what he does argue is that the decade that followed 9/11 was one in which the United States took the fight to a ruthless enemy, prevented a second attack or wave of attacks on the U.S., and helped change the geopolitical map of the Middle East. I hope that people will read it, consider it,  and use it as a basis for thinking about their impressions of the war on terror—and how its successes have been overlooked.

We are also hosting a panel discussion in New York on Tuesday, August 16 on the issues raised by the article, with Greenwald, Andrew C. McCarthy of National Review, and Ross Douthat of the New York Times. Information on the panel and how to register for it can be found on our site.

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