Jeff, I actually agree with some of your points. I think the conflict has been pursued to the best of our abilities. The problem is this conflict is a 2 front war. The politics involved have slowed to a crawl what could have been accomplish militarily, if our forces had been given a green light.
How do you define existential? When you speak of the 9/11 attacks representing an existential threat that somehow justified a rewriting of civil liberties....don't you think it was morally justifiable to do anything that would prevent another attack? Extraordinary measures were taken to secure this country.....static and pro-active. Measures were taken to prevent security lapses as well as hunt down and destroy the infrastructure that was responsible for orchestrating the attack. In the vernacular....we went after the head of the snake. I believe the national psyche required the Bush admin to do just that and the majority of the American public viewed this as morally acceptable. They saw the threat as the bad guys and America as the good guys. The basic good vs evil. It was the national will to protect ourselves.
Now liberals in this country do not see the US as being good and definitely have no moral authority to visit destruction on those whom we deem as evil. In fact, liberals resent the fact that America sees itself as superior in any way to anybody. Because of this philosophy, appeasement is their answer to everything foreign policy and national security wise. So they believe there is no justification, existential or otherwise to go after the terrorists.
Bush chrystallized the national will in his Axis of Evil speech, it was a reflection of the national will...not just he and his admin. Overwhelmingly, the American public supported this. He understood, correctly that this enemy was not about to be appeased in any form or fashion but only understands things from a dominance perspective. That is, dominate or be dominated. Kill or be killed. The libs still don't get this. Despite the beheadings.
But the libs went crazy and proceeded to demonize Bush. It was so antithetical to their viewpoint they became rabid dogs in their opposition. Like liberals do, instead of staying on the philosophical ground...they proceeded to marginalize and destroy the individual....it's right there in Alinsky's book. They say Bush was incompetent.....but tell me Jeff...has there been any further attacks on US soil? Are not Al Queda pretty much pinpointed in Afghan and Iraq? Have we not pretty much put a hurting on them? Are'nt we in the process of destroying them?
Now...just what do you see as the extraordinary re-writing of our civil liberties? Have any of your civil liberties been affected? Mine haven't. I dare-say the American public would not know what you are talking about.
Don't speak of the civil liberties of the captured terrorists....they don't matter.....America has the choice to extend or not extend some, any or all American civil liberties to these terrorists. America has the moral authority to do whatever it wishes as a sovreign country.....you specifically said "an extraorindary rewriting of OUR civil liberties".
To steal a line from a favorite movie..."Just what ever do you mean, huckleberry"?