The real failure of President Bush's approach to the war on terror has less to do with the hearings going on about 9-11 this week than with the Israeli assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin. Despite Yassin's ties to terrorism, his death has aroused near universal condemnation, even while we continue to stalk Osama Bin Laden. Other countries say that the Israeli strike volated international law, and the heck of it is, they may be right.
If we ought to have accomplished anything so far in the war on terror, it ought to have been to work toward some sort of international agreement on how to handle terrorists. The months after 9-11 handed us an unprecedented opportunity to cut across ideological and geographical boundaries and agree that terrorism had to be stopped as a method of bringing about political change, regardless of the merits of the cause. That means we react the same way to a Basque bombing in Spain as we do to an Al Qaida bombing. The president squandered this opportunity, and I'm afraid it will take another disaster to get it back.