When the rhetoric is stripped away, the reasons return to the fateful decision to treat the September 11 attacks as an act of war, rather than a monstrous crime. That choice, though it will probably forever be portrayed as an unavoidable bow to the righteous fury of American citizens, emanated at least equally from raison d’état. Not only had 19 men with box cutters destroyed iconic buildings and sown panic in the two most strategic US cities, they had breached the walls of the mightiest military power the world has ever known, catching its watchmen unawares. The hijackers hailed, moreover, from the region of the globe where US interests most require the projection of invincibility. To secure its guardianship of Persian Gulf oil reserves, such a crucial component of its superpower status, the US felt compelled to stage as dramatic a show of force as it could muster. It so happened that the Bush administration was staffed with men and women who had been waiting for the occasion to make sure the world knew who was boss. The Obama administration, having inherited the aggressive forward deployments, is loath to rein them in without first demonstrating US dominion conclusively. Osama bin Laden surely knew what was he was doing in picking his targets, but the US national security state has chosen to fulfill his foul prophecy.