In his new book, Bin Laden's Legacy: Why We're Still Losing the War on Terror, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross catalogs America's strategic failures in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The following is an excerpt.
It was perhaps inevitable that the fight against al Qaeda and other jihadi groups would become politicized, but it has nonetheless been extremely harmful. The fact that being seen as tough and effective in the fight against terrorism could help one's political fortunes was evident almost immediately, for the standing of two politicians--George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani--and that of the entire Republican Party dramatically changed because of the events of September 11, 2001.
President Bush's initial reaction to the attacks was in fact rather confused and unimpressive due to security concerns that kept him out of sight for most of the day. After concluding his time on the morning of September 11 with a class of second grade students at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, Bush went to a classroom where a secure phone had been set up. He spoke to Vice President Dick Cheney, and after a brief address to the nation about the attacks, Bush was rushed to Air Force One. Concerned that the president could be a target, his security detail kept him on the move. In the thick fog of war, Bush heard reports that Camp David and the State Department had been attacked, that there was a fire in the White House, and that his ranch in Texas may have been targeted. His general invisibility throughout the day made strong leadership impossible.