Inter Press Service Washington Bureau Chief Jim Lobe analyzes the effects of Al Qaeda’s 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. 10 years after the event:

A decade after its spectacular Sep. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City’s twin World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and despite the killing earlier this year of its charismatic leader, Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda appears to have largely succeeded in its hopes of accelerating the decline of U.S. global power, if not bringing it to the brink of collapse.

That appears to be the strong consensus of the foreign-policy elite which, with only a few exceptions, believes that the administration of President George W. Bush badly “over-reacted” to the attacks and that that over-reaction continues to this day.

That over-reaction was driven in major part by a close-knit group of neo-conservatives and other hawks who seized control of Bush’s foreign policy even before the dust had settled over Lower Manhattan and set it on a radical course designed to consolidate Washington’s dominance of the Greater Middle East and “shock and awe” any aspiring global or regional rival powers into acquiescing to a “unipolar” world.

Led within the administration by Vice President Dick Cheney, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and their mostly neo-conservative aides and supporters, the hawks had four years before joined the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The letter-head organisation was co-founded by neo-conservative ideologues William Kristol and Robert Kagan, who, in an important 1996 article, called for the U.S. to preserve its post-Cold War “hegemony as far into the future as possible.”

In a series of subsequent letters and publications, they urged ever more military spending; pre-emptive, and if necessary, unilateral military action against possible threats; and “regime change” for rogue states, beginning with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

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