In the decade since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, America has been actively fighting wars on three fronts -- Iraq, Afghanistan and the Home Front -- ostensibly to prevent a repeat of that deadly day.
While Lamorinda may not be a target of choice for suicide bombers, we know that many Lamorindans remain deeply affected by a day now known to most of the nation simply as "9/11."
Successes since that day can be claimed. Many of the so-called masterminds of the attack that shook Americans out of their complacency are now either dead or imprisoned. But the cost to the country remains very, very high -- especially for the nation's military. For the rest of us, our Home Front fight against terrorism has boiled down to one of patience -- patience while enduring endless pat searches at the airport, patiently giving up your favorite baby Swiss Army knife to a TSA screener, patiently tying your shoes and vowing to remember to wear slip-ons next time.
One would think that a country so horribly wounded would have learned some things from that inflicted pain and resultant impact on our daily lives. One would hope the nation would find ways to keep its people safe -- and to prevent fundamentalists with a suicidal bent and a box cutter from taking over an aircraft and flying it into a building.
But it appears the gaps in our national security so painfully brought home to us eleven years ago have not been remedied, as demonstrated by a recent exchange between Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, and TSA officials (see attached video).
The answer to the question: "Could American flight schools still unknowingly be training terrorists?" sent a chill down our spine. We don't know about yours.
Porous borders, a forgiving nature, and an inclination to national amnesia may further the impression among those who hate us that America and its people are a "soft" and tempting target. We have been struck by dinner party conversation where educated people have raised their hands as if in surrender and said: "Whattaya gonna do?" And pass the Merlot...
While most of the key players in the 9/11 Terror Attacks are romping with their imagined virgins or wearing out their prayer beads in jail cells at Guantanamo Bay, it can be safely said that hundreds if not thousands of others were made potential enemies of our country after digging their relatives out of recently bombed mud huts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And while officials maintain Al Qaeda no longer has the capability of launching a 9/11-scale attack, they cannot say that newly-created enemies will not be able to attack other key American targets -- and that Americans will not be handing them the keys to the cockpit, or rental truck.
National security experts do say that this level of threat is likely to persist for "years to come" -- and that Al Qaeda and its supporters have already started to recruit and radicalize new members, and build an "operational infrastructure" in this country.
What do you think? It definitely put us off the Merlot... and makes us ask, how can this be allowed to happen?