University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole is a favorite here at TomPaine.com for informed, progressive analysis of the Middle East. In skimming the coverage of the latest bombings in Egypt and London, Cole's latest post  stuck out. He puts the attacks in a global context and dares to ask what might have happened if the Bush administration hadn't launched two wars in the wake of 9/11.
Cole writes:<!--StartFragment -->
Strategically, it is increasingly clear that if you wanted to wage a "war on terror," letting Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri alone while you invade and destabilize Iraq and let the Israeli-Palestinian conflict just fester was a very bad idea.
Many commentators are putting out the straw man argument that the Iraq War cannot be blamed for terrorism because September 11 and Bali, e.g., happened before the Iraq War.
This argument is so dishonest that it should make your blood boil when you hear it. No one is alleging that all the instances of radical Muslim terrorism can be traced to the Iraq War. What is being argued is that the Iraq War provided the already-existing terror networks with an enormous propaganda and recruiting windfall. Would Hasib Hussein, who was 14 in 2001, really have agreed to kill himself and 20 others on a London bus if Bush and Blair had acted responsibly and declined to bog the West down in a guerrilla war in the Muslim country of Iraq? What if instead they had captured Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, put $200 billion into rebuilding Afghanistan, and used their enormous diplomatic and military weight to resolved the Israeli-Palestinian and Kashmir issues?
Read the entire post here .