Andrew Codevilla, a professor at BU, details all the ways the last decade has been a wash for the war on terror. Specifically, it has left the US broke and weaker, while giving greater power and discretion to the ruling class that perpetrated this series of inconclusive and expensive campaigns.
The common denominator of our ruling class’s domestic and international strategy in the post-9/11 decade is its determination to double its bet on already failed policies. This self-referential mindset is the root cause of America’s decade of loss. The New York rescue worker’s shout to President Bush to do “whatever it takes” summed up the American people’s priorities: rid the world of the kind of people who trammel our way of life so that we can get back to living it. Congress’ authorization for the use of force echoed that mandate. But as the ruling class set about “doing something” in response to the attacks, it started from the premise that the American people are ignorant and hardly worth listening to. Hence there was no need to depart from the ideas and policies with which the Establishment had identified itself. Nor was there any discussion in the mainstream media about whether those ways might have violated principles of statecraft to which it might now be necessary to repair.
I’m broadly in agreement with the author and wrote my own reflections on the matter here.