This is all I could think of.
Update: Midamerica challenges me with Afghanistan. My answer.
I didn't forget Afghanistan. I was against it from the beginning and it's the untold story of the failure of the war on terrorism or whatever it's called these days. I've always thought a major ground offensive against such a
We're still fighting that war. There's a death count mounting there regularly that you don't hear about and by destroying the hold the Taliban had on the country, evil as they were and still are, they made the AQ stronger, not weaker by removing an indigenous impediment to their operations. The Taliban kept the AQ in check. The Karzai administration, may be friendly to the US, but it's still only in control of Kabul some four years later - their "democratic elections" nothwithstanding. All we did there was take control of the country out of the hands of the religious zealots and put it back into the hands of the AQ and other assorted bandits including a bunch of pissed off Taliban who survived the offensive.
I can't find a way to call it good.
Update: Midamerica (or midwestern) progressive -- I'm a little confused on which name to use -- disputes my reasoning in comments.
It is a credit to the administration that they accomplished what the Soviet empire could not - routing the Taliban out of Afghanistan.
I have to ask, but did they really rout the Taliban? The Taliban were defeated, not destroyed. They're still in Afghanistan, they've simply gone underground and they continue to wage guerrilla attacks against out troops. They now form alliances with the AQ in order to harass our men.
The Taliban may not have pursued the AQ but I don't think you can really say they were protecting them. After all, in essence, the AQ was a threat to their own power. The most important check they imposed on the AQ's power was in the control of the heroin trade. Poppy production was nearly wiped out under their rule. It has since exploded again, to the point where Afghanistan is again providing the great bulk of that hemisphere's opium base. The profits from this business are not underwriting Karzai's government, they're supporting the AQ and now also the Taliban which even as we speak, you can be sure are attempting to reorganize.
The way I see it, at least we knew where they were when they were in power and had they posed a direct threat to us, we could have dealt with them as we did. All we accomplished was to drive our enemy underground, where they're a lot harder to find, much less fight.
I think the single biggest fallacy in the GWOT is the idea that we can somehow "win" by killing enough terrorists. But you can't possibly kill every single terrorist, nor can you defeat a movement whose members reside all over the world in small pockets rather united as nation-state, using military force. Every time we try, we only make it worse.