After the attack of 11 SEP 2001 there is but one question to answer: are we safer today than on that fateful day?
To examine that there are the good and bad to look at since then.
On the good side, first.
We have removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.
We have removed a genocidal leader and helper of terrorism, Saddam Hussein, from leading Iraq and he got justice from his people.
Monzer al-Kassar the grand supplier of arms to terrorists and organized crime, head of the family responsible for the heroin fields in Lebanon and one of the craftiest men alive is in Club Fed.
Semion Mogilevich is in Russian custody, although the extent that it limits him is unclear.
Imad Mugniyah, the most deadly man to the US before bin Laden, is dead by Israeli attack.
Raul Reyes, the high level leader of FARC, is dead.
Viktor Bout is in custody, no longer plying his arms to terrorists and thugs.
The Islamic Courts Union have been booted from Somalia.
The IRA is, functionally, gone as a terror organization.
The Tamil Tigers are much reduced.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is on the ropes in the Philippines.
Colombia has been successful in getting FARC out of its production areas for cocaine.
Syria has attempted to start a nuclear bomb building group and was stopped by Israel.
Mohamar Kaddafy of the many spellings has given up backing terrorism. For now, at least.
Canada staged the first winter offensive, possibly ever, in Afghanistan, in 2007.
The 'Surge' worked in Iraq, pointing out that COIN can work in societies that were once functional.
All of these are good things that have gone on since 11 SEP 2001, and the US has been involved directly or indirectly in most of them.
Now to the bad side.
The actual source of support for the Taliban is in the Pashtun region that crosses the Af-Pak border, and they have waited out a century of imposed borders by the British and now work cross-border to keep the Taliban alive in Afghanistan.
Inside Pakistan there is the rise of 'The Shadow Army' which is a cross-organization terror group that has contested power in the cities and streets of Pakistan. It is now possible to purchase the services of a suicide bomber inside Pakistan to blow up commercial rivals, or personal enemies.
London was attacked unsuccessfully once and successfully once, and the source of those attacks is the central Asian group run by Gulbudden Hekmatyar from a refugee camp in Pakistan.
Madrid was attacked by an organization supported by radicalized Muslims that matriculated through the Muslim Brotherhood.
Iran is emboldened by US vacillation and unwillingness to give reprisals for our dead killed by those supported by Iran.
Even as Iranian oil infrastructure crumbles, they seek nuclear devices and delivery vehicles to start greater conflict in the region.
The Islamic Courts Union successfully evacuated Somalia with the help of 'Our Friends' the Saudis.
Yemen has been radicalized.
The ICU is staging a return to Somalia.
The Bank of NY penetration by the Red Mafia, moving over $70 billion dollars in the largest money laundering system ever seen has still not been solved.
Semion Mogilevich's picked successor now runs a natural gas empire large enough to extort money from Iran by threatening to cut off exports to it if they don't cough up more money.
Gulbudden Hekmatyar's group runs a multi-income source operation including gold smuggling, semi-precious stones smuggling, heroin, and operational information to terror cells as far away as London.
In Albania terrorists and organized crime operations cooperate across Europe, the Americas and Africa.
Syria continues to stockpile chemical weapons and utilizes the phosphorus deposits for uranium purification.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the organization that radicalized bin Laden, Zawahiri, and runs HAMAS, continues to be funded by 'Our Friends' the Saudis, and Democratic Congresscritters have had private talks with this radical organization.
Congressmen from both 'sides' of the aisle have flouted the Constitutional powers of the Executive in meeting with the tyrant of Syria, Bashar Asad.
The Tri-Border Area of South America remains uncontrolled and a haven for terrorists from around the planet.
The US Border is still not secured even after evidence of the passage of radicalized members of the Muslim Brotherhood having crossed from Mexico to the US have been found. Over 6 years ago.
A human smuggling ring operating uninterrupted for years was finally closed down three years ago. Members smuggled in came from many places including Iran, Syria, Iraq, Chechnya, Bosnia and other places less savory.
The Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI) continues to fund the Taliban, Hekmatyar and others in Pakistan, even as they ally with each other so that monetary favoritism no longer matters.
The current 'Surge' in Afghanistan is in doubt due to US policy timidity and the lack of previously functioning society there since the mid-1970's.
Our President is alienating our closest allies: Britain and Israel. This is destabilizing in the Middle East and globally.
Our President's outreach to our enemies is seen as weakness and vacillation by them and they are now emboldened by a President incapable of understanding how he is seen globally.
The US, after decades of government backed funding schemes for 'entitlements', housing, higher education and who knows what else, now owes the world more money than exists on the planet.
China has a bubble economy based on the US model, save that it is not just in residential housing, but commercial real estate and industrial infrastructure. What has gone on in the US will seem tame compared to what is to come with China.
The last time there was a similar confluence of tyrants, attacks, economic destabilization and vacillation by the West the world got the lovely present of World War II.
We are now on that same road, again, save this time it is a 'come as you are' conflict that will be determined by and large in the first half-hour of nuclear fireballs with some extra sweetness of chemical and biological weapons assuredly thrown in by Nation States and private war organizations.
America has forgotten the lesson of Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates and how, exactly, you go after those waging private war. The elite intellectual class has gotten so intelligent that can't even discuss the topic any more, confounding normal civil crimes things that are illegitimate war and, thusly, war crimes to be addressed by the laws of war. When we capture 'terrorists' we do not try them as they should be tried under the Geneva Conventions as spies and saboteurs, and are mocked by terrorists telling us we must do our duty.
We do not do our duty to ourselves nor civilization any longer.
We are less safe now than 9 years and 1 day ago.
Not because of what we have done, but because of what we haven't done: treat warfare as warfare and not the breaking of mere civil law. Civil law is for civilians inside civilized Nation States. Those waging private war set themselves, by their actions, outside that venue unless they actively seek it to be judged for their actions, which is known as Piracy under the Law of Nations. Without this understanding we no longer can even conceive of what is necessary to fight them.
We can no longer say those words nor uphold the Law of Nations any longer, because we are taught that civil rights and civil laws cover everything.
They do not.
Warfare is primal and the laws of war are those of Steel. You have no civil rights when you are at war, and only the venue of warfare will decide your fate by your actions. Because we have not been taught this we become less civilized, not more, and our ability to be civilized decays when we believe that civil laws can cover everything. That is termed 'decadence'.
The last civilization to welcome predators in because it believed civil law would take care of them was the Roman Empire.
That didn't end so well for Rome, nor those it was in contact with.
We are also on that path, as well, and so is most of the West.
If we cannot honestly say that such a simple thing as running a Ponzi Scheme to fund Social Security on the backs of our children and grandchildren is unconscionable, immoral and unethical then our chances of honestly facing up to the fact that savage man cannot be covered by civil laws is nil.
I do not like saying this, but we are about to get what ANY civilization gets when it thinks it can calm the storms and lower the oceans, and what comes next is not pretty.
Being civilized means doing the right thing no matter what the cost is.
Not the 'fair' thing as that is in the eye of the beholder and biased. There is no 'fairness' in life or nature, as that is the nature of the universe we are in.
Doing the right thing requires an example.
It starts with you as each of us is the heart of civilization, the Law of Nations and the fount of all that comes from those things. Our ancestors as little as one century ago knew that, and yet we no longer teach it, understand it and live it. We have been made uncivilized by politics and ideology that seeks 'fairness' instead of equality: it seeks entrenched prejudice over simple even-handedness to all. It encourages you to grab for today and let your children pay for your sins. There are even those who will smile and tell you that this is 'good'.
It is barbaric.
We will be lucky if we only get Lebanon as a modern Sudetenland.
If we are extremely lucky we will have enough honesty to say: our enemies who declare themselves against us, attack us and seek our downfall are our ENEMIES and deserve the treatment that they so readily ask for.
And if we go beyond all expectations, renounce 'entitlements' and seek the bounty of our liberty to sustain us, we will not see a Dark Age and Iron Times come in our lifetimes nor leave that for our children and grandchildren. Yet it is we who unwisely knock on the door of chaos thinking it is a 'good thing' to do to grasp for our petty needs and burden those that follow with debts we have no intention of EVER paying off.
Hope is not a strategy.
Luck is not a tactic.
To change the way the world works, you must change your outlook and accept responsibility for your liberty, your freedom and your duties you take on by being civilized and under the Law of Nations. The longer you wait, vacillate, deny what is in front of your nose, the harder we all will be hit not just in this generation but for many, many, many following who will spit when they talk about us.
Yes it is a hard way to live.
It is better than any other alternative as it tends to keep you alive and civilized by being responsible for yourself.
The reason we are less safe today than 9 years and 1 day ago is because of our inability to do these things.
They are not complex but simple, yet the fallout of good from them can shake the world.
If you dare to be responsible for yourself and demand it of all other humans so that we can press civilization forward against savage man. We stopped doing that and are pressed back. We are told that is the consequence of stopping that forward press of self-responsibility. They made their choices... you can move from being decadent to being civilized. They told us what happens when you don't.
Rome told us that.
Greece told us that.
Egypt told us that.