John Yoo: Ten Years Without an Attack
Mr. Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an official in the Justice Department from 2001-03, and is co-editor of Confronting Terror: 9/11 and the Future of American National Security, just published by Encounter Books.
Ten years ago this week, I switched on the TV in my Justice Department office and saw United Flight 175 destroy one of the World Trade Center towers. Shortly thereafter, American Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. One of the passengers on board was my friend Barbara Olson, a noted author and political commentator, who called from the plane to warn us. Only the brave Americans on United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania prevented a fourth plane from reaching D.C.
As I left a deserted Washington that night, I witnessed the unbelievable—our capital's dark sky lit up by a burning Pentagon. But in the decade to follow, the most incredible thing to happen was this: nothing.
After 9/11, terrorism experts inside and outside the government all agreed that more attacks would come. The coordinated hijackings revealed our open society's vulnerability and displayed the resources, sophistication and determination of a deadly enemy. Al Qaeda had a committed, intelligent leadership, a safe harbor in Afghanistan with dozens of training camps and thousands of trained fighters, and an ideology that appealed to frustrated, oppressed men in the Arab world. It had a track record of returning to the same targets; it had tried to blow up the World Trade Centers with a truck bomb in 1993. No one would have predicted that George W. Bush, and his successor, Barack Obama, would succeed in preventing another successful and disastrous terrorist attack.
Looking back over the decade, the first clear lesson is the critical importance of Mr. Bush's decision to consider the struggle with al Qaeda a war...
comments powered by Disqus
- Shipwreck Found Under World Trade Center Traced Back To Colonial Era Philadelphia
- Bob Dallek in the NYT gives a rave review of John Dean's history of Watergate cover-up
- Ex-President George W. Bush Authors Book About His Father
- Tears, and Anger, as Militants Destroy Iraq City’s Relics
- Europe notes 100th anniversary of World War I
- Why Benny Morris is both right and wrong
- Professor Ilan Pappé: Israel Has Chosen to be a 'Racist Apartheid State'
- History Professor: Convicted Cop Killer Mumia Should Be Celebrated Like Martin Luther King Jr. in Schools
- Robert Drew, Cinema Verite Documentarian, Dies at 90
- Rick Perlstein: “Ronald Reagan absolved America almost in a priestly role not to have to contend with sin. The consequences are all around us today”