In the seven weeks since the killing of Osama bin Laden, pundits and experts of many stripes have concluded that his death represents a marker of genuine significance in the story of America’s encounter with terrorism. Peter Bergen, a bin Laden expert, wrote “Killing bin Laden is the end of the war on terror. We can just sort of announce that right now.” Yet you wouldn’t know it in Washington where, if anything, the Obama administration and Congress have interpreted the killing of al-Qaeda’s leader as a virtual license to double down on every “front” in the war on terror.
What the public has been led to believe about the events of 9/11 is most fully encapsulated in the report of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, appointed by President George W. Bush. But the Bush administration denied the commission access to the prisoners whose testimony, elicited after torture, provided the basic narrative as to how September 11, 2001, came to be.