Most of us at the time would probably not have believed that we could have gone this long without another and perhaps more catastrophic terrorist attack on the United States. Do you remember how every symbolic occasion -- the World Series, Christmas, New Year's Eve, the Super Bowl -- brought widespread fears that this could be when the terrorists would strike us again?
Yet our respite from terrorist attack has seldom brought even a grudging acknowledgement that perhaps the government's anti-terrorism policies and activities might deserve some credit, instead of the constant barrage of media and political criticism and carping.
Make no mistake, a new and more terrible terrorist attack could happen here at any time -- especially now that Spain has shown how easy it is to panic politicians. But the fact that our enemies see our politics as the weakest link in the chain of American national security means that we need to recognize that as well.
John F. Kennedy said it all: "We dare not tempt them with weakness." He went to the brink of nuclear war with that philosophy during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 -- and the public supported him.
That is why the Soviets backed down. Had we been bickering among ourselves, the outcome could have been very different.
Today as well, weakness is our greatest danger -- whether that weakness takes the form of wishful thinking about the United Nations or other soft options. Politicians who are too irresponsible to recognize that our deadly enemies -- whether in Iraq or North Korea -- are listening to their every word cannot be trusted with the power to shape the future of this nation.