The heroes of Flight 93 didn't have a week to conclude we were under terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The attacks had no precedent. Flight 93's passengers had scant shreds of information but a ton of common sense and the will to act. Were it not for their decisive action, we'd now have a crater on Capitol Hill, or a Perpetual Peace Garden at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, instead of a silent memorial in the woods near Shanksville, PA.
How well I remember when President George W. Bush declared a War on Terror, insisting that our strategy must be to "drain the swamp". The phrase suggested the mucky, nasty nature of the task ahead. As a former resident of New Orleans (a city, like Washington DC, built largely in a drained swamp), I also knew that swamp draining is a task that is never really complete.
The death of Osama bin Laden was a milestone, not the finish line of the War on Terror. We must be ever vigilant.
So it is terribly unsettling to learn that terrorism is not the default assumption of the Obama Administration when mob violence is directed at an American diplomatic presence in the Middle East, especially when it comes on a key anniversary. We watched for a week, waiting for Ambassador Rice, Jay Carney and President Obama to begrudgingly conclude what was apparent to the average consumer of cable news on the night of the attacks: such a coordinated assault cannot be attributed to anger in the Arab Street over a lame Youtube video.
Unfortunately, our leaders are blinded by ideology, political expediency and a looming election. The next attack may come at a place less remote than the Benghazi consulate.
Cross-posted at my blog.