As the anniversary of September 11 attacks quickly approaches, we all must brace ourselves as the news media replay videos captured on that fateful day and we all remember where we were when the Twin Towers fell or when we heard the news that America had been attacked.
On the other hand, the September 11 anniversary also seems to reignite debate over America's reaction to the largest terrorist attack in history. Over the weekend, Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria wrote that Al Qaeda, the chief perpetrator group of 9/11, "is simply not a deadly threat."
I do not minimize Al Qaeda’s intentions, which are barbaric. I question its capabilities. In every recent conflict, the United States has been right about the evil intentions of its adversaries but massively exaggerated their strength. In the 1980s, we thought the Soviet Union was expanding its power and influence when it was on the verge of economic and political bankruptcy. In the 1990s, we were certain that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear arsenal. In fact, his factories could barely make soap.
The error this time is more damaging. September 11 was a shock to the American psyche and the American system. As a result, we overreacted. ...
Zakaria goes on to note that the funding for U.S. counterintelligence has increased dramatically in the years since 9/11 and the intelligence community's bureaucracy has burgeoned. He goes on to warn that an ongoing War on Terror threatens the liberties of Americans--an argument I might take seriously if he didn't immediately tie it to debunked conspiracy theories about FEMA camps following Hurricane Katrina.
And while I do not endorse every security measure the government has put in place to try and ensure Americans' safety, I'd remind Zakaria that we live in a "post-9/11" world; I would argue that we are better off "overreacting" to our enemies than underestimating them as we did "pre-9/11." In fact, it's hard to gauge the capabilities of radical Islamists like bin Laden at all considering it only took a band of 12 men to perpetrate the attacks on 9/11 and the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent civilians.
No, "overreacted" is not a term I'd use to describe America's response to 9/11. On the contrary, I'd venture to guess that many Americans would argue that the mere fact Osama bin Laden is still breathing fresh air today is evidence that America still has much more left to do.