I disagree with this well thought out post.
As I see it the argument advanced is
1. 'enemies' have declared war on us by this act.
2. Our appropriate response to that is to obliterate them.
and perhaps also
1. I don't know why people hate us so much but
2. that doesn't matter.
War is defensible IMO if and only if it is a 'just' war. that is to say it meets the various criteria below
having just cause,
being declared by a proper authority,
possessing right intention,
having a reasonable chance of success,
and the end being proportional to the means used
I have little doubt that the first 3 criteria are met in this case. Consider the last two though
reasonable chance of success. over the past 20 years or so America and its allies have tried to eliminate bin laden (by cruise bombing afghanistan), saddam hussein and the libyan regime. on all counts they have failed. I would expect them to fail again. the best that could be expected short of massive and extreme force would be significant but temporary damage to these nations and organisations. in the case of afghanistan the soviet union also applied all its military might to the country, and lost.
ends proportional to the means. eliminating terrorist cells by largely destroying whole countries (and that is what it would take) is not a proportional response. Russia has behaved badly in chechnya under similar circumstances (and of course with reduced capability). It does not behove a state that prides freedom and democracy to behave in such a manner.
I hope it is a matter of common sense that saying i don't care why you are upset but you hurt me so i'll slap you is equally unsustainable. It *does* matter why people are upset. it matters in Ireland, and equally matters in the mid east and indeed within our own nations.
Anvil - from the land of warm beer and mad cattle.