Written before the September 11 attacks , and during political debates of the War in Iraq , a section of Rebuilding America's Defenses entitled "Creating Tomorrow's Dominant Force" became the subject of considerable controversy. The passage suggested that the transformation of American armed forces through "new technologies and operational concepts" was likely to be a long one, "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor ."  Journalist John Pilger pointed to this passage when he argued that Bush administration had used the events of September 11 as an opportunity to capitalize on long-desired plans. 
Moreover, as Godfrey Hodgson recently noted in his sympathetic but clear-eyed book, The Myth of American Exceptionalism , the spread of liberal ideals is a global phenomenon with roots in the Enlightenment, and European philosophers and political leaders did much to advance the democratic ideal. Similarly, the abolition of slavery and the long effort to improve the status of women owe more to Britain and other democracies than to the United States, where progress in both areas trailed many other countries. Nor can the United States claim a global leadership role today on gay rights, criminal justice, or economic equality — Europe’s got those areas covered.