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Could 9-11 have been prevented?

In the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, this question has been asked numerous times.

There was intelligence pointing to this attack, as shown by documents that have been declassified since the attacks, but many have accused President George W. Bush for not taking action when he should have.

I’m not necessarily one of them. In 2001, no one ever thought that an attack like that could ever happen here. Call it apathy or arrogance, that was our attitude.

First of all, there was never a terrorist attack like 9-11 that had ever happened before or since then. So in a pre-9-11 mindset, this was something that no one could have conceived.

It was an attack that even Hollywood producers couldn’t have envisioned. There were numerous movies about hijackings, but none of them ever portrayed turning the airplanes into weapons themselves.

Secondly, national security was never an issue before 9-11. There was no Department of Homeland Security. Airport security was limited to going through a metal detector and having your bags scanned. Even if you didn’t have a plane ticket, you could go to the gate. The cockpit door might stay open, even with pilots allowing children to get a glimpse of the controls.

Lastly, even if an alert was issued, would it have stopped it from happening? Would anyone have listened? I doubt either would have happened. Maybe being on high alert would have prevented the plane crash on the Pentagon. As a matter of fact, most believed that the plane crash on the North Tower was an accident until seeing the second plane hit the South Tower on live TV.

In today’s world, if we had the same warning signs, a 9-11 attack might have been prevented, but on Sept. 10, 2001, we were just too unprepared and naïve to handle such an attack.

Since we are prepared for a 9-11 attack now, terrorists will likely never use that type of an attack to hurt our country. There’s no way to know what the next type of large-scale terrorist attack might be in the works.

Since then, there’s no way to know how many attacks have been prevented because of our increased intelligence and awareness and the success of the War on Terror. But we must be vigilant and think outside of the box to prevent another day that will live in infamy.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.

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