After the September 11 attacks it took President Bush only six days to authorize the U.S. military to prepare for war against the al-Qaeda network and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Influenced by Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Bush also issued the order to work out scenarios for a war against Iraq.
An entirely different approach might have been taken. Imagine if the president had addressed the nation in the following way:
My fellow Americans: We have been hit. The attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon have damaged every one of us. We are filled with anger and rage, for in 200 years our country has never experienced such an attack from the outside.
So everything in us cries out for revenge. Should we give in to this cry? It would be the easier way. And I am sure you would support me if I mobilized our troops to hunt down the terrorists and those who helped them wherever they are hiding.