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.