Bryan Burrough, The Path to War, Vanity Fair May 2004 (much of it posted here):
But to Feith, Luti, and their traveling companions, it also seemed that a war on terror could not end with Afghanistan. "Obviously we had Afghanistan in our minds straightaway," Luti says. "That was our immediate concern. But we also thought we had to learn about the terrorist networks, how they connected to the states."This sort of blinkered thinking shows the real weakness of hiring only ideologues and hacks: their inability to rethink their positions when confronted with new evidence. For a decade, right wingers at AEI, led by Mylroie and Wolfowitz et al., have claimed that stateless terrorists threats were overblown, or indeed, impossible - al Qaeda couldn't have attacked the WTC in 1993 without a state sponsor. Despite a complete lack of non-fantasy evidence linking al Qaeda with Iraq, the administration couldn't imagine a stateless threat, and acted accordingly.
In an era of globalization, where national sovereignty encounters new hurdles every day, imagining stateless threats shouldn't be hard to do. Yet they couldn't, and we are left with a failed Afghanistan and a failing Iraq. Matt Yglesias has more on this failing.