The notion of invading Iraq for a regimee change to reduce the threat of further terrorist attacks is cakc-handed. If anything, the US is more exposed than ever, and with international relations at an all time low.
I'd agree with you there, in that the US has made itself more likely to come under terrorist fire by waging this war - and even in America the majority of the population believes this, according to opinion polls, refusing to buy the government's case on this. But here I have a bit of a problem:
Suddenly GWB came to power, withdrew from ALL US peace talks, broke geneva conventions and treaties, and then bwham, two planes him the world trade center. Rather than own up to his mistakes, he mislead the population (of the west generally) into thinking that this action was the start of the mistakes, and not just one other repurcussion of everything leading up to it.
There's extremist Muslim terrorism, there's the frustration and resentment in the Arab world yielding the breeding grounds for such terrorism, and there's the new American unilateralism of the Bush gvt. There's all kinds of correlations there for sure. But the terrorism predates Bush. Al Qaeda predates Bush. Its attacks on American targets predate Bush, as does the increasing influence of its like in the Middle East.
What I'd agree with you on, is that the Bush unilateralism will make it just that much easier for Al Qaeda and its like to recruit new "volunteers" for its cause. But its cause itself doesnt depend on Bush. If another US government had acted wholly through the UN, it would have made it harder for Al-Qaeda to find supporters to act against it, but it wouldnt have made it any less eager to.
Analogy: Kerensky choosing not to pull out of WW1 in 1917 made it that much easier for the Bolsheviks to attract people to its cause of revolution; but its cause was revolution, and would have been revolution, no matter what Kerensky had done. To extremist radicals with a superlative conviction about the better world they want to replace current reality with, those ruling current reality are merely distinguished as the truly awful versus the merely weak, and they wont hesitate to act against either. So to say that Bush brought 9/11 upon his country by his policy actions of the previous year seems a very superficial assessment of what Al-Qaeda and like-minded organisations stand for. They do not care for the Kyoto treaty or Bush's rejection of the ICC - they are not a reactive political movement like those demonstrating on the street against Bush's war are - their rejection of America stems from a course they're steering wholly independent of the political turns of the day, inspired by a sense of a "holy goal" (literally holy in this case).
You are not going to eliminate terrorism like Al-Qaeda's with compromises. There's no compromising with holy truth. The terrorists themselves can only be stamped out, period. The part Bush c.s. are forgetting is that terrorists become
terrorists, and when stamping out the current ones we should take care we are not creating new ones in the process. "Pumping empty" the breeding grounds for terrorism means tackling the sense of invalidation and intimidation in the Arab world, the resentment of American foreign policy, of current Israel policy, etc. Thats where the compromises come in, and when somebody does a better job at it than the Bush gvt currently does, the risks of future 9/11s can be reduced. But it couldnt have prevented 9/11 itself.
It's been the same with past forms of terrorism, "red" terrorism for example. You have
to make the distinction between terrorists and the roots of terrorism. If you dont and you declare anyone remotely sympathetic to whatever justifications the terrorists bandy about the Enemy, you'll end up escalating the breeding grounds. If you dont and you declare all terrorism mere reflections of whatever misguided policies your government has taken lately, you deny the nature of the beast itself, and end up defenceless against those who really have no truck with any kind of compromise with existing society.