has been sixteen months since the worst attack ever on American
soil jolted us out of our collective coma and showed us the true
nature of Islamic extremism. A debate rages over what we
have learned, if anything. Opinions across the political
spectrum vary on the effectiveness of steps currently being
taken, both to prevent another attack and to vanquish our
of two things is at work here. Either we are simply
becoming complacent about further terrorist attacks or the Bush
Administration is conducting a flawless war on terror—or both.
Americans are among the most impatient people on the planet.
We demand that everything, from our fast food to our financial
gains, be immediate. So, even though none of us will ever
forget the horror of airliners flying into buildings, it is not
surprising that since September 11, 2001, it has taken us a
relatively short time to become lulled into a sense of well
Islamic enemies, on the other hand, have a very long-range view
of things. It was eight long years between the two attacks
on the World Trade Center. Granted, our interests were
assaulted overseas—a fact that seemed to escape the notice of
the Clinton Administration—but on our own soil, we had a false
sense of security. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden spent years
plotting the mass murder of Americans.
have, at times, been mercilessly critical of this country's
immigration policy. Whether it is merely a matter of votes
in the next election or President Bush's true compassion toward
immigrants desiring a better life, or both, it seems obvious
that he has a huge blind spot when it comes to the porous nature
of our borders. How can we win a war on terror when it
seems so easy for our enemies to enter our country?
what if we are actually carrying out an effective war against
Al-Qaeda after all? Is our insatiable American desire for
instant everything the real reason for our complacency, or is
there something else at work here? Could it be that we
really are doing exactly what needs to be done?
is a great deal we don't know. President Bush, Vice
President Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others view top-secret documents
every day that most Americans will never see. Could it be
that we have become so jaded we don't believe our own government
on anything anymore?
was a time, during World War II, when Americans believed that
their leaders had the best interests of the country at heart.
Most people supported their government's actions even when they
didn't understand or even see those actions. Perhaps the
president and his cabinet understand exactly what is going on
and are dealing with it accordingly.
if the assault on Afghanistan last year really has wreaked havoc
on the forces of Al-Qaeda? Many assume that because Osama
bin Laden was able to hide in mountain caves and to escape
capture, that he is as effective as he ever was. That very
well may not be true. What if he and his minions really
are scattered, their communications cut off and their ability to
make war disrupted?
if the Justice Department really is doing the profiling
necessary to identify those involved in sleeper cells within the
United States? What if the harassment of little old ladies
in airports is simply the politically correct nonsense it
appears to be?
if, at the end of the day, the government of George W. Bush is
fulfilling its oath of office? What if?