It’s been 17 years since the al-Qaida terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center, and the U.S. has been at war ever since – with Afghanistan, with the Taliban, with al-Qaida, with terrorism, with the “axis of evil,” with Iraq, with the Islamic State. The events of that day revealed a great deal about America, but 17 years later, many of those revelations have been forgotten or were never realized. The most important that remains is that al-Qaida knew the U.S. better than the U.S. knew itself.
Thousands died in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania on 9/11, and in a combination of grief, rage, vengeance and self-centeredness, the U.S. reacted as though the attacks were an end in themselves. The response was exactly what the terrorists had hoped it would be. They knew the U.S. would barge into the Muslim world with guns blazing to punish those who had dared attack it, who had shattered the post-Cold War dream of having achieved a more peaceful global order. Most
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