In all of the NYT's coverage of the 9/11 commission report, this article about international policy seems important and easily overlooked. It's a summary of the report section titled What to do? A Global Strategy.
long-term success demands the use of all elements of national power: diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement, economic policy, foreign aid, public diplomacy, and homeland defense. If we favor one tool while neglecting others, we leave ourselves vulnerable and weaken our national effort.This is the concern that connects 9/11 to Iraq. Iraq wasn't a source of terrorism, but we attacked it. And by pursuing a war in Iraq, Bush has undermined our diplomatic and moral position. The NYT article suggests this is one of the few places where the 9/11 report is critical of Bush policy:
Mr. Bush also maintains that Iraq had been a "central front'' in the war on terror, a point that the report treats with stony silence. Instead, it warns of what could happen if the American experiment in Iraq goes bad, declaring, "If, for example, Iraq becomes a failed state, it will go to the top of the list of places that are breeding grounds for attacks against Americans at home.''Hearts and minds are not won by unilateral unprovoked wars, torturing prisoners, and clumsy propaganda outlets.