What I want to ruminate on, now, is what we have lost. We, as a nation, have spent trillions of dollars on both the Iraq and Afghan wars. Without 9-11, Afghanistan would not be a concern of any nation other than its neighbors. Without 9-11, George Bush and his cabal would not have been able to gin up a phony casus belli. Without 9-11, we would not have had to send over five thousand men and women to die in Asian land wars, not to mention the tens of thousands who have come back with devastating injuries to their bodies, brains and psyches.
We have lost or given up a lot of our civil rights. It is now acceptable that the government can monitor the telephones and e-mails of anyone it chooses. It is now acceptable that, without a warrant, the Feds can snoop through our bank accounts and library records. There are cameras in many places which automatically record into a database every vehicle which has passed by. The Feds now conduct warrantless "sneak and peek" searches, no matter what it happens to say in that pesky Fourth Amendment. The Federal government has claimed the right to hold anyone it wants, wherever it wants to, for as long as it pleases them, without granting them access to family or attorneys and without any form of judicial process. The Federal government (as well as state and local governments) now treat public protests, a right enshrined in the First Amendment, as though they were terrorist events and treats protesters as national security threats to be tracked as though they were cooking up PETN in their kitchens.
In the meantime, and in no small measure due to the fecklessness of the Bush Administration, we are locked into a land war in one of the most inhospitable and inaccessible places on the planet. In Year Ten of the war, the best that the commanders can say at the Five O'Clock Follies is that "tangible progress" has been made. Many more American fighting men and women will be killed and maimed. At least another trillion dollars will be spent. There is no end in sight for this war.
So one may make the argument that, even as his corpse is being chewed by crustaceans at the bottom of the sea, that bin Ladin won his war.