No, really?? All sarcasm aside, that the bipartisan 9/11 Commission has come out with this report that pulls no punches, speaks volumes.
This comprehensive article from CNN, 9/11 Commission a decade later: ‘Terrorism is not going away’, is too lengthy to include in total here, but I urge you to either read the rest of the article, or to click on this link to read the actual Commission report (link also in the article). I will try and touch on some high (or low) lights, but suffice it to say, it ain’t good.
Huh – I guess that does sum it up. Okay, guess we’re done here.
No, not really – now to the CNN article:
[...] Now a commission created to examine what happened then says we need to do more now to protect ourselves.
“The ‘generational struggle’ against terrorism described in ‘The 9/11 Commission Report’ is far from over,” the panel said this week in reference to its assessment a decade earlier. “Rather, it is entering a new and dangerous phase, and America cannot afford to let down its guard.”
Its bottom line assessment? “Strenuous counterterrorism efforts will remain a fact of our national life for the foreseeable future.”[...]
Yep, pretty much what I said.
Here are some things that worked:
[...] Going after al Qaeda’s leadership The immediate reaction to the hijack attacks that toppled the World Trade Center towers and damaged the Pentagon targeted the culprit — the al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden operating out of Afghanistan near the Pakistani border.
Years of war in Afghanistan ended the safe haven there for terrorists and achieved the goal of degrading al Qaeda’s core, the report said. U.S. special forces eventually killed bin Laden in Pakistan.
The Department of Homeland Security. The director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center. The Transportation Security Administration. The FBI National Security Branch and the military’s Cyber Command.
All exist in response to the 9/11 attacks as part of an unprecedented expansion and reorganization of government security resources. [...]
The article also mentioned air travel and the NSA, though I imagine people might have varying opinions on the NSA at this point. And, of course, there is “The American Spirit“:
[...] “This year’s triumphant (Boston) marathon sent an unmistakable message to the world: Americans will not bend to terrorism,” the report said, adding that “the country must continue to prepare for the unforeseen, but it appears to be moving in the right direction.” [...]
That is one thing you gotta give Americans – we do have that “indomitable spirit” thing going for us. That’s just how we roll.
And then there are some of the things that haven’t worked over the past ten years:
[...] The new report’s biggest takeaway? Tell the people what they need to know.
Prior to the 9/11 attacks, “the government did not effectively explain to the public the evil that was stalking us,” it said. “We fear that this is happening again.” (Emphasis mine.)
On major issues of the day — a transformed and resurging al Qaeda, the growing terrorist haven spawned by the Syrian conflict, increasing cyber threats — “public awareness lags behind official Washington’s,” it said.
“If this gap persists, the political support for needed national security capabilities will fade,” the report continued. “In today’s very dangerous world, that is something we can ill afford.”
No kidding that is not something we can afford to have happen in, and for this country.
But wait, there is more, and I am sure this will be a surprise to no one here as to one of the things that has not worked:
Efforts to reduce Islamic extremism
Islamic extremism has increased in the past decade, the report said.
“While al Qaeda’s various affiliates are enmeshed in their own local conflicts, hatred of the United States remains a common thread,” it added, citing the emergence of groups such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Al Shabaab and Boko Haram.
“Partly, this is a consequence of the Arab Spring and the power vacuums and ungoverned spaces that have sprung up in its wake,” it said. “Partly, it is the result of America’s inability or reluctance to exert power and influence in a number of places.”
A State Department official warned a congressional committee on Wednesday that “ISIS is al Qaeda.”
“It may have changed its name, it may have broken with senior al Qaeda leadership such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, but it is al Qaeda in its doctrine, ambition and increasingly in its threat to U.S. interests,” said Brett McGurk, the deputy assistant secretary for Iraq and Iran. “In fact it is worse than al Qaeda.” [...]
I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED, I tell you, to learn all of this. Oh, wait, no I’m not. Unlike some in this Administration, I actually read and watch the news (talking about you, Obama).
And come to think of it, perhaps that State Department Official might want to make sure President Obama and Vice President Biden understand about ISIS = Al Qaeda because both of them CONVINCED that Al Qaeda is on the run:
Uh, yeah, except not so much. Make that, not at all. How, HOW, can Obama continue to be SO wrong and still have SO much support? Boggles the mind.
The CNN article also mentions Congress as being something that doesn’t work, and that could be a dissertation unto itself. But then it goes onto where we go from here, including:
Prepare better for cyber attacks [...], Use of military powers [...], and Vigilance: The biggest threat to America is failing to recognize the threat still exists and is growing.
“Many Americans think that the terrorist threat is waning—that, as a country, we can begin turning back to other concerns,” the report said. “They are wrong.”
The threat remains “grave,” it continued, warning “we cannot afford to be complacent—vigorous counterterrorism efforts are as important as ever.”
In particular, the report said, “young Americans need to know that terrorism is not going away.” (Again, emphasis mine.) (Click here to read the rest of the article.)
That pretty much says it all – terrorism is not going away, it is on the rise, and we need to be prepared and vigilant. Let’s hope our leaders take note, especially when choosing sides to support, say, Hamas over Israel. Just a thought.
What are your thoughts? This is an Open Thread.