Our Choices, Not Bin Laden’s

May 4 2011 @ 7:33pm

Radley Balko argued a couple days ago that bin Laden won because he "forever changed who we are as a country." Ross Douthat counters:

[I]t’s important to keep the costs of our post-9/11 wars in context. Even if you accept the highest estimates of the price tag (in which, for instance, Bin Laden gets some of the blame for the housing bubble, because it was enabled by post-9/11 interest rates), it’s still clear that the bulk of our current liabilities need to be laid, not at Al Qaeda’s door, but at our own. The War on Terror didn’t give us the financial crisis or the looming entitlement crunch, and if the first decade of the 21st century era gets remembered as the beginning of a long era of American decline, Washington, Wall Street and Main Street will all deserve much, much more blame than Osama Bin Laden deserves credit. He didn’t do this to us; we’ve done it to ourselves.