and damned if you don't.
Gregg Easterbrook nails it with a report from an alternate timeline detailing the impeachment and conviction of President George W. Bush in the summer of 2001. Obviously his actions would have turned America into a true rogue state:
On August 7, 2001, Bush had ordered the United States military to stage an all-out attack on alleged terrorist camps in Afghanistan. Thousands of U.S. special forces units parachuted into this neutral country, while air strikes targeted the Afghan government and its supporting military. Pentagon units seized abandoned Soviet air bases throughout Afghanistan, while establishing support bases in nearby nations such as Uzbekistan. Simultaneously, FBI agents throughout the United States staged raids in which dozens of men accused of terrorism were taken prisoner.
Reaction was swift and furious. Florida Senator Bob Graham said Bush had "brought shame to the United States with his paranoid delusions about so-called terror networks." British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused the United States of "an inexcusable act of conquest in plain violation of international law." White House chief counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke immediately resigned in protest of "a disgusting exercise in over-kill."
The real genius of this piece is that it recreates the blissful ignorance we were living in up to 9/11. I might not have put it this far as to invade a country on a flimsy pretext, but at the very least we would be having hearings on why the FBI had policies that mandated such blatant racial profiling as to arrest Mohammed Atta and 18 other men for merely being Arab and taking flying lessons.
Link via A Small Victory
Update: Thanks to Dan Spencer for the pointer to this article by Kathleen Parker at TownHall.com