“God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” ... Daniel Webster ...
These posts will reflect my personal opinions, and views, of the world in which we live from, of course, the viewpoint of a conservative "Southern American".
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Post 9/11: How Safe Are We? ... Alan Caruba
Post 9/11: How Safe Are We?
Fleeing the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers
polls suggest that Americans are still well aware of the threats to the
nation’s security. A Fox News poll found that four out of ten Americans think
that the nation is less safe today than before 9/11. Overall, however, 51%
thought it was safer. A Rasmussen poll found that respondents thought that an
attack on the scale of 9/11 was entirely possible. At least 69% felt that way.
years past 9/11, it’s a good time to ask or at least conjecture about how safe
we are from another attack by Islamic extremists.
On May 1,
2010, Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born U.S. citizen attempted to pull off a
terrorist car bombing in New York’s Times Square. Two street venders spotted
smoke coming from the vehicle and alerted police. The bomb had been ignited but
had failed to explode and was disarmed.
On August 28, 2013, Nidal Malik
Hasan, formerly a psychiatrist with the United States Army Medical Corps, was
sentenced to death at the conclusion of his court-martial. Four years earlier
on November 5, 2009 he had fatally shot 13 soldiers and injured more than
thirty other at Fort Hood. Hasan’s behavior and comments had given so many
signals that, in retrospect, it raises the question of why he was not booted out
of the Army for the risk he posed. The Obama administration called it
“workplace violence”, not an act of terrorism.
15, 2014, in Boston, we learned that not only could terrorists strike at will,
but could do so even though Russian intelligence authorities had warned U.S.
law enforcement that the Dzhokhar and Tamerian Tsarnaev were a threat. The FBI
concluded they could not tap their phones or conduct a more thorough
These three post-9/11 examples of the threat that fanatical
Islam represents are mercifully few. We are told that our intelligence and law
enforcement services have been able to thwart other threats. When asked
recently how much a part luck played in thwarting terrorist attacks in New
York, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that luck is always a welcome factor.
Diligent police work, however, remains the reason the city has not suffered a
major attack since 9/11. Its anti-terrorism budget is $200 million.
Eleven days after September 11, 2001, Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Ridge was appointed the first Director of the Office of Homeland
Security in the White House. With the passage of the Homeland Security Act in
November 2002, DHS became a Cabinet-level department, combining twenty-two
departments and agencies with a mandate to improve the security of the United
The Department's work includes customs, border, and
immigration enforcement; as well as emergency response to natural and manmade
disasters; antiterrorism work; and cybersecurity. Since the creation of the DHS,
Congress has passed other legislation to improve security at our ports and has
transferred the Radiological Preparedness Program and Chemical Stockpile
Emergency Preparedness Program to FEMA, the federal emergency response agency.
Anyone who has ever been to an airport knows the rigors
of getting on one’s flight now years passed the failed December 22, 2001
attempt by Richard Reid, a Muslim convert, to blow up an American Airlines
flight wearing shoes filled with explosives. Eight years later, a Nigerian
Muslim gained fame as the “underwear bomber” when he tried to detonate a bomb
on December 25, 2009 to bring down another airliner.
We should remain mindful that, while deterring what could
have been many more terrorist threats, we really don’t know if it is because
fewer have been planned, whether terror cells exist in the nation, or whether
the Islamists are taking a far longer view of their war than we are. How likely
is it that they have concluded that, having driven the U.S. military presence
from Iraq and soon from Afghanistan, they would prefer to impose their grip on
the Middle East and then expand their jihad from there?
Clearly the government has gone overboard in its effort
to surveil all communications, presumably to detect a potential attack. It is a
price that most Americans seem prepared to make. In the wrong hands, however,
this could mark the end of privacy in America and a tyranny as bad as our
enemies would impose.
There is a further problem that is rarely noted and this
is the way the Obama administration has fostered a view regarding terrorism
that has infected all elements of the military and law enforcement agencies. It
is why the FBI failed to more aggressively follow up on the warnings regarding
Boston’s Tsarnaev brothers and why it removed content from its training manuals
that might be offensive to Muslims.
The Obama administration has rendered the government
culturally blind to the obvious threat that radical Islam represents.
Are we safer from terrorist attacks such as 9/11? One
would think so. Are there a lot of Department of Homeland Security personnel
and those in our National Security Agency, our Central Intelligence Agency, and
in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, intent on protecting us? Yes, there
are, but the degree to which they are permitted to do so is unknown. The larger
a bureaucracy gets, the more risk-averse it becomes.
It is reasonable to conclude that the nation is “safer”,
but that does not preclude the potential for future attacks from individual
jihadists or a far larger one from al Qaeda. It waited from its first attack on
the World Trade Center in 1993 until 2001 to finish the job.
Alan Caruba's commentaries are posted daily at "Warning Signs" and shared on dozens
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