A decade later, our government continues to make things worse

Thursday, September 8, 2011
By Paul Martin

What Have We Learned from 9/11?

by Jack Hunter

A primary tenet of conservatism is that government action or inaction affects human behavior. If taxes are raised, the economy worsens. If taxes are lowered, the economy improves. If guns are prohibited, crime rates rise. If gun ownership is legal, crime lessens.

In recent years, conservatives have reacted in outrage to what they consider to be intrusive airport security. Similarly, in my capacity as a talk radio host, I’ve done three-hour-long programs in which conservatives vent their frustrations with everything from the Department of Motor Vehicles to the local school board. When government acts, people react.

When nearly 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered by terrorist thugs on Sept. 11, 2001, many Americans were asking, “Why?” I did not ask this question. I was shocked. I was angry. But I did not wonder why we were attacked.

Neither did columnist Pat Buchanan. In his 1999 book A Republic, Not an Empire, Buchanan warned that a future terrorist attack against the United States was not only likely but described how it might play out: “It is in February of 2005 that the explosion occurs in the port of Seattle. It is a low-yield crude atomic device, but the devastation is incredible. Thousands are dead; thousands more are injured or wounded, many burned horribly … No one knows for certain who put the device there … But intense speculation focuses on a group associated with the financier of terror Osama Bin Laden.”

Like Buchanan, I was one of a handful of conservatives throughout the 1990s who believed the United States’ constant bombings, sanctions, and heightened American troop presence in the Middle East would give radical Islamists in that region unprecedented common cause against us. Two decades prior, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini had tried to declare jihad against the United States by pointing out that American culture was decadent. It allows pop music, alcohol, and pornography — our “freedoms.” This approach didn’t work.

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