Hindsight and dealing with 9/11

Comment in today's UK London Evening Standard by Sam Leith, thought I would share.

"Ten years on from the horror of 9/11, I find myself returning to a counterfactual that has preoccupied me on and off ever sice. A thought experiment: what if, instead of responding as they did, the US had made the ultimate gesture of a hyperpower's self-confidence and simply turned the other cheek?

If they'd mourn their dead, rebuit the city, and treated the murders as a police matter - a grotesque crime rather than a military or political statement worthy of a response in kind?

Would it really have encouraged al-Qaeda? Or would it rather have made them seem vicious and small? And would the world, on balance, have been a better and safer place 10 years on than it is now? It's an open question - but I strongly suspect that it would."