Instead, of course, we did precisely what the terrorists hoped for: we flexed the biggest muscles possible, confirming in the minds of political adversaries that we were just a big bully after all and deserved to be treated inhumanely. Bin Laden became an afterthought._____________________________Well we certainly all have out perspective. Frankly, I do not think a show of American strength would have been at all problematic. What I believe OBL wanted and got, was not a lot of death and a long term war against his organization. But the internal division that was caused as our reaction. We tore ourselves up. It was not a matter of the rest of the world. For the most part the rest of the world, except for a couple of nuts here and there that blow up different countries and root for a caliphate does not give a rat's patoeey about the US -- except what we do to our economy. I think it far more likely that OBL wanted Viet Nam all over internally in the US and the strife it would cause. OBL did an action that for him and his cause was a no lose.If we reacted as you desired. We would have made him the glorious hero and grown his cause tremendously. If we reacted with strength a good portion of our population would freak out and start a ton a self hate. There was no losing side, except reacting with strength and staying united. He knew there was no chance of that. No lose.