Sept. 8, 2005
Why Has America Had No Terror Since 9/11
The fourth anniversary of 9/11 this weekend raises two
questions for me. First, why have there not been any terrorist incidents in
the U.S. since 9/11/01?
Not one car bomb has gone off, though it is easy to do. Not one train has
been blown up, as in Spain and London.
Why? What has innoculated America from terrorists who struck England twice
in two weeks this summer?
My second question is what can America do to reduce the likelihood of
The Bush Administration deserves some credit for keeping America safe.
That's probably the single major reason George Bush was re-elected
President. In a dangerous world, Bush made 53% of Americans feel safe enough
to vote for him. He reorganized intelligence services, as called for by the
9/11 Commission. Cooperation between the FBI and the CIA has improved.
On the other hand, very few terrorist plots have been uncovered. By
contrast, the British identified all four of the suicide bombers who planted
bombs in London subways within weeks, thanks to surveillance cameras in
railroad stations and tube platforms. After that incident, New York
belatedly decided to add video cameras. Embarrassingly few FBI and CIA
agents speak Arabic though Muslim-Christian clashes are growing around the
James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, believes America has
been spared from terrorist attacks on U.S. soil for four years for one
reason. Muslim immigrants to the U.S. feel that America is a land of
opportunity for them – in sharp contrast to the feeling of closed doors
sensed by Muslim immigrants to Europe.
America is a land of immigrants. Though we may be sixth generation
Americans, we know that our ancestors came to this country in search of
opportunity. So we are open to new immigrants -Muslim or Mexican - and
willingly give anyone a chance to succeed.
In fact, I'd argue that racial discrimination almost no longer exists. As
this column has reported before, a black husband and wife who both work
earned $60,400 in 1999 while a similar white couple earned $61,800. That is
virtual economic equality.
By contrast, Muslim immigrants to Europe sense that doors of opportunity are
closed to them, even though many are entering the middle class, such as the
London terrorists. Muslims perceive a European ceiling blocks them and are
deeply angry and bitter. Fury fuels violence.
However, the terrorists of 9/11 were foreigners, mostly from Saudi Arabia.
What can we do to lessen Muslim anger directed at Americans? I suggest two
1. Stop producing and exporting obscenity, which is deeply offensive to
Muslim modesty. Hard core pornography is illegal according to Supreme Court
decisions. But there has been virtually no enforcement of obscenity law. The
good news is that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has demanded more
2. Reduce our consumption of oil, which largely comes from Muslim lands.
In 1975 Jimmy Carter persuaded Congress to pass a law requiring Corporate
Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) of the auto fleet jump from 14 mpg to 27.5 by
1985. Detroit screamed it was impossible, of course. Technically it was
achieved on time.
But there were loopholes in the law. BIG ones. A minivan was called a
"truck" and not counted as a passenger vehicle. Today's SUVs are in the same
"light truck" category, which only have to get 21.6 mpg, not 27.5. These
vehicles account for half of all passenger cars sold and should be
identified as such in the CAFE standards.
Second, the EPA estimated mpg is inflated as any new car buyer will testify.
"Consumer Reports" October issue reports that some models "fell short of
claimed city mpg by 35 to 50 percent." The Honda Civic, a hybrid, gets only
26 mpg, not the advertised 48 mpg!
Consumer Reports argues that by 2010 fuel-economy standards can be raised 7
mpg to 34.5, saving 10 billion gallons of gasoline in that year alone. The
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy suggests the goal for 2015
be 40 mpg.
Technically, the goal is achievable by reducing horsepower (which soared 89
percent since 1981). Polls before the recent gasoline hikes report 80
percent of Americans want better mileage.
Detroit will scream again, but it might start selling more cars.
In any case, America must lessen its dependence for oil on Muslim countries.
For that reason, I support drilling in the Alaska Arctic area, which could
produce 1 to 2 million barrels a day, in addition to putting U.S. cars on a
America must discipline its appetites for pornography and fuel consumption.
30+ Years / 1700+ Columns
2017: Column 1861: Cohabitation: A Growing Problem - Part II
Cohabitation: A Growing Problem - Part I
Texting While Driving - A Killer
Why Have "Religious Nones" Tripled?
Norma McCorvey Roe of Roe v. Wade
The Worst Valentine: Cohabitation
Pornography: A Public Health Hazard
Christianity Gives Women Equal Opportunity
Sextortion Kills Teens
Assisted Suicide Is Growing
same sex marriage,
abortion and infanticide,