It's now fashionable in some circles to downplay what happened on 9/11/01, and to pretend that the U.S. overreacted. We hear that terrorists aren't really that great of a threat, and that the dangers of radical Islam are overblown. Pointing out various aspects of the threat is dismissed as "fearmongering." Many actually want to extend U.S. constitutional rights to known terrorists, and treat terrorism as a law enforcement matter, as if they were nothing more than common criminals. These attitudes are all too common, among people who have basically forgotten 9/11 for all intents and purposes.
On 9/11 a mere 19 people killed 3000 in the heart of our largest city, doing massive economic damage, and actually shut down the entire U.S. air transport system. Just one personal example of the kind of disruption this caused... My wife's niece (from Texas), who had the bad luck to be in Manhattan on business that day, could not get home for days. She managed to exit the city after sharing a hotel room with a stranger, but then could not get home. Flights were grounded, and no rental cars were available. After several days she finally got a rental car by paying an exorbitant rate, and drove from New Jersey to Texas to get home. That situation was probably replicated for business travellers across the country.
Again, the death and destruction of 9/11 was inflicted by only 19 terrorists. They employed no nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, just some hijacked commercial airliners. Despite our post-attack security measures, as an open society the U.S. is highly vulnerable to terrorism. Most of those who minimize the threat are blissfully ignorant, or willfully blind, about the impact of an attack that does utilize weapons of massive destruction. A terrorist strike with even crude, low-yield nuclear weapons would make 9/11 look like a minor incident in comparison.
The threat of terrorism, driven by radical Islam, is still out there, and it is real. On the anniversary of 9/11 it is worth pointing that out, since there are many who would rather pretend that it barely exists. In many ways it is remarkable that there hasn't been another major attack on the U.S., a tribute to our war efforts. For all its mistakes and incompetence in many areas, the Bush administration did succeed in preventing another attack. With all the Bush-bashing that takes place even now (sometimes even by me), that's another thing worth remembering.