A couple of months back I wrote a letter to my Congressman to express opposition to the present war in Afghanistan. He was good enough to respond.
In summary he tells me that the war in Afghanistan was launched to end the Taliban's ability to provide a safe haven for Al Qaeda and to end Al Qaeda's use of Afghanistan as a base of operations. He explained some historical details about how the war in Afghanistan has developed. And he explained a couple of House resolutions that are being considered to withdraw military forces from Afghanistan. Despite that he tells me that he will keep my opposition to the war in mind.
This does not address much of what I asked. Is it worth $37 billion to fight 100 individuals? Does the war make sense in light of the fact that the Taliban offered to hand over bin Laden? What of the fact that this war makes Americans less safe and more poor? What of the fact that if there was concern for democracy and freedom we'd listen to Iraqi and Afghan citizens who want us out? These issues McCotter did not address.
What he did offer was another reason for why Afghanistan was invaded. Al Qaeda used it as a base of operations and it offered safe haven. But I already explained that the Taliban was willing to hand OBL over. That's not a safe haven. Also when the bombs began falling in Afghanistan it wasn't even clear that Al Qaeda was responsible.
Consider the words of FBI Director Robert Mueller. In testimony before the Senate, a full 8 months after the bombs had begun falling and after one of the most intensive investigations ever undertaken in the history of humanity, Mueller tells us that he does "believe" that the idea for 9-11 came from Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan though the actual plotting was done in Germany and the financing came from the United Arab Emirates from sources in Afghanistan.
Maybe it's true that Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was responsible, but that wasn't known at the time. It's difficult to believe that an attack was initiated to destroy an organization that wasn't known to be responsible. Unless punishing people that aren't known to be guilty is a reasonable action.