Bin Laden deserves to be the object of our hostility, national anguish and contempt, and he deserves to be taken seriously as a canny tactician. But much of what he has achieved we have done, and continue to do, to ourselves. Bin Laden does not deserve that we, even inadvertently, fulfill so many of his unimagined dreams.
It did not have to be this way.
As Koppel points out, the U.S. was perfectly right in crushing the Al Qaeda operation in Afghanistan after September 11. But since then, we have consistently blundered into wars, moral quagmires and errors of policy that weaken us and create recruiting opportunities for Bin Laden.