We’re Less Safe Today Than on 9/11

COMMENTARY Terrorism

We’re Less Safe Today Than on 9/11

Sep 13th, 2021 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
James Jay Carafano

Vice President, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute

James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges.
The Tribute in Light is illuminated behind a row of candles and flags on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2021 as seen from Jersey City, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

It’s 20 years after 9/11, and you might be less safe than you were 20 years ago.

This is a new war on terror. It could be every bit of a struggle as the past 20 years of war.

How could we squander everything that was done to make this country safer? And we made mistakes. How can we do better?

It’s 20 years after 9/11, and you might be less safe than you were 20 years ago.

The Taliban—which were the people that really allowed 9/11 to happen, because they let al-Qaeda work in Afghanistan, they protected them—20 years later, they will be more powerful than when they started. That’s a gift, essentially, that President Joe Biden gave them by this chaotic withdrawal.

Biden thought it wouldn’t be ugly because [the administration] thought the Afghans would just let us walk away from the country. The irony was he couldn’t plan for it not being true. So the evacuation had to be a “no plan” plan because you’re saying, “I’m just going to get out and leave.”

It means you have no contingencies, you don’t plan with allies, you don’t get the interpreters out, you don’t process visas, you don’t do anything because you don’t want to signal you’re leaving. You just want to, you know, you just want to be gone the next morning.

Once the Taliban take advantage of that, then essentially your evacuation is completely at the mercy of what the Taliban will do. And, of course, it turned into a nightmare.

Now, I don’t want to say that washes away 20 years of war. It doesn’t. This is a new war on terror.

It could be every bit of a struggle as the past 20 years of war.

We were spending in Afghanistan, under Donald Trump, in a year, what we used to spend in a week. He didn’t think he was going to build a paradise in the Middle East. He just said, “Look, it is what it is. Let’s just make sure the Taliban can’t overrun it.”

I would be the last person to say that we did everything right. But I will say, we defeated transnational terrorism. And a month ago, it was actually the furthest thing from people’s mind as the global threat we have to worry about.

In six weeks, we let them back in the game. And that’s our fault. Our president made a really, really bad choice.

This is likely the most incompetent politician in modern history, backed by a team of experts who had eight years of almost unrelenting failure in foreign policy.

People voted for them. People trusted them. And what was that trust based on? They didn’t tweet mean. And you live with the consequences of the decisions that you make.

Foreign policy is just as important to you as it is to the guy in uniform or the foreign policy pundit on TV.

It does affect your pocketbook. It does affect your life. It does affect whether your children go to school. It does affect your neighborhood because it’s going to come back and it’s going to hurt you.

This is the lesson we learned on 9/11.

If we don’t think for ourselves and take these things seriously and just outsource it to somebody else, we have to live with the consequences. And if we get it wrong, the consequences are terrible.

You can look at where we are today and where we were 20 years ago and ask a very simple question: How could we squander everything that was done to make this country safer? And we made mistakes. How can we do better? I don’t care what your answer is.

This country will be way better off if we actually sat down and had that conversation rather than on Sept. 11 look at each other and say, “What are we going to do on Sept. 12?”

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal

Conservatism

Communism’s Dark Tyranny: The 30th Anniversary of the Collapse of the Soviet Union

Watch live now