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A large scale theater war is never planned and executed in a matter of weeks. The decision to launch a war and send troops to Afghanistan had been taken well in advance of 9/11.
The “terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event” as it was later described by CentCom Commander General Tommy Franks, served to galvanize public opinion in support of a war agenda which was already in its final planning stage.
The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage a war on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”.