The 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, united the country in remembrance of that awful day. But it also rekindled debates over the George W. Bush administration’s responses.

Bush’s deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan, Meghan O’Sullivan, wrote a most interesting analysis — published Sunday in The Post’s Outlook section — arguing that the 2003 invasion of Iraq may be turning out better than opponents thought and that a substantial U.S. military presence should remain there beyond this year.

Okay, okay. Some of you need to calm down. Of course the attacks on 9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq. But they were a backdrop, along with those nonexistent WMDs, for the invasion. So there is that nexus.

And O’Sullivan, now the Jeane Kirkpatrick professor of international affairs at Harvard, even finds some heretofore overlooked benefits from the fiasco. She writes that Iraq’s shaky progress toward establishing democracy may serve, despite obvious differences, as an example for other nations in the region now making transitions from decades of authoritarian rule and may “stabilize the region.”

Okay. Maybe that’s an overly large stretch. But, hey, it’s a lot better than Condoleezza Rice and Don Rumsfeld’s bizarrely comparing the insurgency in Iraq to the “werewolves” in Germany, the Nazi operation to harass advancing Allied troops.

O’Sullivan also posits that shared Iraq and U.S. experiences during the war created some bonding so that an “ongoing relationship” and cooperation are possible. The number of troops there “should come out of negotiations with the Iraqis,” she writes, “not as a fiat from Washington based on domestic politics.” We thought Washington has always reserved the right to decide these things.

But the “ most compelling” reason to keep an “ongoing U.S. military presence” in Iraq, O’Sullivan argues, is “the role that Iraq may play in averting a global energy crisis in the coming years,” by boosting its oil production.

The worldwide recession eased oil prices recently, she writes, but future global supply and demand trends look pretty grim. Iraq’s oil is critical. “Iraq is one of a very small number of countries that could bring oil online fast enough to help meet this growing demand at a reasonable price,” she writes.

Industry and international experts expect Iraqi oil production to nearly double in the next decade from 2.5 million barrels a day to almost 5 million barrels, she notes. So “if lessons from Iraq’s experience help stabilize the region” and Iraq remains “willing to cooperate with the United States publicly and privately” and its oil “help[s] the world avoid another energy crisis,” then “some may recalculate the strategic ledger on the U.S. intervention in Iraq.”

So Operation Iraqi Freedom was really about the oil after all? Who knew?

Big Brother is watching

Many organizations, public and private, have IT policies to guard against computer system hacking and to ensure that employees are not goofing off online, conducting personal business, watching porn, reading this column or whatever.

The Interior Department in particular has for some time taken a firm stance on unauthorized use of computers, reminding all employees that, while they can use their computers for “limited personal use,” they must agree to the following statement before they can log on each day.

An Interior employee, vaguely miffed by the daily reminder, passed it along to a source.

All information, including personal information, placed or sent over this system may be monitored, and users of this system are reminded that such monitoring does occur. Therefore, there should be no expectation of privacy with respect to use of this system.

By logging into this agency computer system, you acknowledge and consent to the monitoring of this system. Evidence of your use, authorized or unauthorized, collected during monitoring may be used for civil, criminal, administrative, or other adverse action. Unauthorized or illegal use may subject you to prosecution.

They forgot to say “Have a nice day.”

Tempus fugit

The old Bill Clinton team is gathering in Little Rock at the end of this month for a weekend celebration of the 20th anniversary of then-Gov. Clinton’s announcement that he was running for president.

Too late to sign up for the panel discussion with James Carville, Frank Greer, Lottie Shackelford, Bill Galston, Al From and Vernon Jordan to talk about “reimagining the progressive tradition.” That’s sold out. And the special-rate rooms at the Capitol Hotel are gone.

The former president will be there through the weekend. Unclear when the former first lady, who has a full-time job, will be on hand.

Comings and goings

And let’s have a hearty welcome-back for longtime Loop favorite Ellen Engleman Conners, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and former senior deputy bureau chief with the Federal Communications Commission, who’s been down in Texas as a special assistant to the director of the NASA Johnson Space Center.

Loop Fans may remember her remarkably contentious tenure at the NTSB, where three board members — two Democrats and a Republican — wrote an extraordinary letter to her blasting her micromanagement of the agency. They said Engleman Conners, appointed by President Bush, tried to run roughshod over them, didn’t inform them of congressional communications and let the White House have too much say over their staff hiring.

Engleman Conners is back in this area as the Coast Guard’s deputy director of governmental and public affairs.

And Jim Manley, a 20-year Hill staffer and most recently spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, left his job in December to hang out, travel and look for a job in the private sector.

He’s landed one as a senior director at Quinn Gillespie, the public affairs and lobbying shop, joining a bipartisan team headed by former GOP aide and communications guru John Feehery.

Staff researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this column.