On September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists commandeered three passenger airplanes, flew them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing over twenty-seven hundred, and changed the future of the United States. Shortly after those attacks, President George W. Bush turned to political adviser Karl Rove and said, “I am here for a reason, and this is how we’re going to be judged.”¹
This essay examines George W. Bush and his administration’s responses to that tragedy. The president declared his war on terror, ordered the attack on Afghanistan, and invaded Iraq—all within nineteen months after 9/11.
Nine days after the