A decade later, the Obama administration, disinterested in national security, decided to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Since then, Muslim fundamentalists have infiltrated Afghan units and killed 58 NATO troops, including 35 Americans, in more than 40 attacks. Afghanistan seems likely to revert to a fundamentalist base.
And on Sept. 11, 2012, a day after al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri urged Libyans to avenge the drone strike that killed his top lieutenant in Pakistan, an al-Qaida affiliate did just that in Benghazi.
It killed a distinguished ambassador who had helped Libyans create space for freedom and dignity. The U.S. government had repeatedly failed to respond to calls for increased security, and had no assets in the region to respond to the attack in Benghazi.
Will the United States be taken seriously in the Middle East? Will it have Arab allies?
Not if it stays on this course.
"We have seen in the last decade the decline of the American government and the weakness of the American soldier," Osama Bin Laden said in 1998.
A sideshow over generals is nothing compared to how the Obama administration responds to that charge.