Today marks six years since the attacks on America by Islamic jihadists. On that day America woke up to the reality of an enemy intent on destroying our way of life. That we have not suffered another attack of that magnitude is due to the vigilant efforts of the many within the law enforcement, military and government agencies that sprung to the walls that day. Here is one assessment from the Daily Telegraph:
Why has al-Qa'eda not repeated the attacks it staged in New York and Washington six years ago to the day? Because it can't.That is the only partly reassuring consensus of some of the experts who tried hardest to warn Washington about the danger posed by al-Qa'eda and militant Islam prior to its devastating strikes on September 11.
Richard Clarke, the anti-terrorism adviser to two American presidents, Michael Sheehan, New York's former deputy police commissioner who headed the State Department's anti-terrorism effort, and others who sensed the danger long before it became obvious, assert that offensive and defensive measures taken since that terrible day have not only severely degraded al-Qa'eda's ability to stage another terrorism "spectacular", but have made American cities and targets less vulnerable.
Thanks to such steps, "we are safer than we were on September 11, 2001," John Scott Redd, a retired vice-admiral who now leads the intelligence community's National Counter-terrorism Centre, told anxious legislators on Capitol Hill yesterday. "But we are not safe," he added. "Nor are we likely to be for a generation or more."
This is the great danger we face as a nation, that we will forget the dangers that exist. This enemy has not retreated nor can we afford to let down our guard.
For one brief moment in 2001 the nation forgot the issues that divide and drew together in grief, shock and anger. Remember the scene of the congressmen and women standing on the Capitol steps, arms linked and singing God Bless America? We are far from that poignant moment.