In America, the inquiry into who is responsible for 9/11 is in full swing. Suspicion is being cast, blame is being passed, and everyone has a different view of what should have been done. However, no one wants to admit the truth of the matter here in America. Who was to blame for 9/11? We all were.
Let's face it: Americans were not ready to seriously consider terrorism until after 9/11. We were too busy worrying about Y2K bugs, our rising and then disappearing portfolios, the latest sports team strike, hanging chads, and last week's episode of Friends. Al Qaeda was far from a household name, and the Taliban, to those who even knew who they existed, were just some religious fanatics who were discriminating against women and destroying the cultural heritage of Afghanistan by destroying some ancient statues.
We hear accusations that the government should have killed Osama bin Laden or invaded the Al Qaeda network in Afghanistan, but let's be honest here. Many still strongly oppose "assassinating" leaders of foreign countries or groups, and there were protests against our invasion of Afghanistan even after 9/11. It would have been very difficult to pursuade Americans that we needed to invade some insignificant Middle Eastern country for some nebulous evil that was being done there. Sure they were militant extremists, but they were all over there. The terrorist attacks on American interests were all over there. What did that matter to us? Did we really want to risk American lives for what was really just a Middle Eastern problem?
As for increasing security, does anyone really think that the American people would have put up with the headaches and inconvenience of our current airport security back then? People complain about it even now, and back then, the average American saw no need to worry about attacks on American soil. Sure, people talked about the potential threat, but nothing had ever really happened here in America. Terrorism was just something that people had to worry about in the Middle East and Europe. We were isolated. We had the ocean between us and them. We were too far away. We were fat and happy in our own little coccoon. Even if we were concerned, we were not willing to actually make the effort to do something about it. We didn't want to have to go to the airport any earlier than absolutely necessary, and we certainly didn't see any need to be delayed in crossing the border into Canada with unnecessary security checks. The average American would have been up in arms if they had started implementing the current security procedures back then. Afterall, our time was valuable.
The attack on 9/11 was unprecedented. There had never been a hijacking that ended in a plane being flown into a building. No one, save the Al Qaeda themselves, could have foreseen this event. There are lessons to be learned and improvements to be made, but there is more than enough blame to pass around for all Americans, be they Democrat or Republican. Could have, should have, would have. The enemy is still here, and they want to kill us as much as ever. Let's not waste time and effort haggling over past blame.