This seems about right. I had never thought about the possibility of Afghanistan and Iraq being a way to defuse the Pearl Harbor Switch as it might otherwise have applied to our friends (and Bush friends) the Saudis. And perhaps the Muslim world in general. I remember well all the people calling for us to nuke Mecca. Which would be a Bad Idea if religiocide were not already well in the works. In any event
, it’s easy to see how people could perceive us as soft and peaceful to the point of being pushovers, but it takes little perception to realize not to flip the switch.