Have We Forgotten 9/11?

I wrote a piece earlier today for New Atlanticist titled “9/11 Plus 7: Terrorism No Longer Major Issue.”

It seems that, while we’re building memorials and holding commemorations to mark the 7th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, that terrorism has receded from the public consciousness as a major issue.  Indeed, a recent survey showed that only 4 percent of Americans though terrorism and national security — taken together — are the most important issue facing the country going into November’s elections.

My conclusion:

This is a real choice and, unlike so many of the things the candidates will promise in their speeches, something over which the president has tremendous control.  We shouldn’t return to the mindset of  September 12, 2001, when terrorism was viewed as the biggest threat in the history of mankind.  Perspective is in order.  But we shouldn’t return to the mindset of September 10th, either.

See the rest at the link.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Terrorism, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Steve Plunk says:

    Of course terrorism has receded from the public conscience. Many years have passed without another attack and the public has little to do with day to day anti-terror activities. That said the public still wants leaders who place protecting American citizens high on the agenda.

    The public also wants to see a little less political correctness and a little more common sense in anti-terror efforts. Profiling works better than shoe removal.

  2. Michael says:

    Profiling works better than shoe removal.

    No it doesn’t, all profiling does is tell the terrorists “If you use people that don’t match this set of criteria, they’re more likely to succeed”. If the searches include everybody, or even just a random sample, then terrorists have no way to increase their odds of getting through.

    Profiling works when the perpetrator is already established, but it fails when the perpetrator can be chosen after the profile has been established.

  3. Spoker says:

    Your point is well made – we should keep the events of 9/11 in perspective and we should not return the mindset of 9/10.

    Unfortunately, in the name of doing just that, I expect we will do something far, far worse. We will continue to bicker, whine, and ignore the lessons of 9/11, blame ourselves for the actions of others, until one day we will have a million or two of our fellow Americans killed by some misled young radical that believes wanton mayhem and mass murder of the infidels is his path to eternal glory. And then once again we will unite, bury our dead, cry over our losses, seek out those we believe to be responsible until it is no longer convenient, appoint another commission to study what went so wrong, until we again start to again bicker, whine, and ignore history. As Americans we have the right to do so, and it is the Achilles tendon of America that we always choose to do so.

  4. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    To this day, the commemorations of 9/11 still bring tears to my eyes. The old feelings of anger are still there, quietly smoldering under my otherwise placid surface.

    Some of us will never forget.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Some of us will never forget

    Are you saying that some have/will?

  6. McGehee says:

    all profiling does is tell the terrorists “If you use people that don’t match this set of criteria, they’re more likely to succeed”.

    …for extremely limited values of “profiling.” There are other things screeners can watch for besides superficial characteristics.

    In fact, cops engage in the subtler techniques of “profiling” all the time to judge whether the clean-cut, well-dressed white kid in the car he just pulled over, needs to receive a warning, or have his car searched.

  7. Steve Plunk says:

    El Al profiles all passengers as part of it’s security process. It is considered the safest airline on the world. That type of profiling does not limit itself to race or appearance but expands to encompass all aspects of appearance and behavior.

    Our security personnel go out of their way to accommodate for fear of charges of racism. The public wants a better system.

    It would also make no sense to publicize what the profiles are.

  8. Michael says:

    El Al profiles all passengers as part of it’s security process. It is considered the safest airline on the world.

    El Al does a hell of a lot more than profiling in order to earn that mantle. If you want to make profiling one aspect of security, I’m okay with that. I’m not worried about offending people, I’m worried about opening a hole in our security by _not_ adequately checking people who don’t match the profile.

    It would also make no sense to publicize what the profiles are.

    It would be dangerous to rely on it being kept a secret when so many people will need to know what it is. Once it is leaked once, anybody can get it, and you can’t exactly make a new profile when that happens. The system must be designed such that it will not be compromised even if the details of the profile are widely known.

  9. sam says:

    I haven’t forgotten 9/11. I’m speaking of the event itself. I’ll never forget it. Of all the images that have stuck in my mind, the one comes back to me most often is that of the Chaplain of the New York Fire Department giving last rites to the firefighters before they went into the burning buildings. That moved me more than words can express.

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    Are you saying that some have/will?

    Why are you so defensive? Do you feel guilty about something or someone.

    It is very obvious that many have.

  11. Michael says:

    Why are you so defensive? Do you feel guilty about something or someone.

    So, if you punch somebody in the face, and they try to defend themselves, obviously they deserved it. Nice logic there.

  12. McGehee says:

    Michael, it was a punch in your face only if you have forgotten 9/11.

    Chill.

  13. Michael says:

    Michael, it was a punch in your face only if you have forgotten 9/11.

    So if I accused to of being a pedophile, you’d only be offended if it was true?

  14. anjin-san says:

    It is very obvious that many have.

    You do not honor the dead of 9/11 by trying to exploit that tragedy for political gain or to try and pump yourself up.

    Quite the contrary.

  15. […] Oh… and I should thank those of you who took the time to feedback me on my comments yesterday.  It interests and annoys me that we’ve let so much of the lessons of 9/11 slip by us. James seems to think so too. […]

  16. G.A.Phillips says:

    You do not honor the dead of 9/11 by trying to exploit that tragedy for political gain or to try and pump yourself up.

    I know can’t be talking to me and and about my people and
    What does that have to do with you getting defensive when some one says, some people will never forget.

  17. anjin-san says:

    I know can’t be talking to me and and about my people

    McCain used 9/11 video as a politic prop. ‘Nuff said…