4. Bill Clinton was a bum. Blaming Bill Clinton for Sept. 11 has been taboo. Nevertheless, Bill Clinton is largely at fault for 3,000 dead Americans in New York (not to mention scores more dead in Africa, Saudi Arabia and Yemen). Weakness breeds terrorism. The Clinton presidency was a non-stop display of foreign-policy weakness. More directly, Clinton refused to take out Osama bin Laden. Anyone complaining that Bush hasn't found OBL ought to complain to Clinton. If Clinton had done his job, we could find OBL either rotting in a prison somewhere or lying under the sod.
5. The 1973 complex shapes American foreign policy. Anti-Bushniks are wrong about the War on Terrorism in every respect save one: What ever happened to Saudi Arabia? The vast majority of the Sept. 11 terrorists were Saudis, financed by Saudi money. The head of al-Qaeda is a Saudi. The Saudi official religion, Wahabbi-ism, is the most virulent strain of Islamic fundamentalism. So why isn't Saudi Arabia on America's hit list? Because we need its oil. Or at least we think we do. The Saudis scared us with the 1973 oil embargo, so we continue to refer to the Saudis as our allies. But if we don't begin pumping oil from a newly reconstructed Iraq or find other sources for oil, we will continue to face Saudi-backed terrorism for years to come.
6. Americans must be ready to sacrifice certain liberties for a little temporary safety. It was Benjamin Franklin who said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." He was speaking about the need for American intolerance toward government encroachment on liberties. He was not advocating that Americans tolerate occasional terrorist attacks in order to board airplanes more quickly. I'd rather take off my shoes at the airport metal detector than be murdered aboard a 747. But maybe that's just me.
We have all learned our own lessons from Sept. 11. May those lessons imbue us with the urgency to do what must be done.