For a start, the author overstates the immediate unity post-9/11. Even then, there was a big difference between the "righteous rage" crowd and those who wanted to wallow in bathetic weepy let's-hold-hands-and-drone-"Imagine" candlelight vigils and retreat into antiquated tropes about "root causes" like global poverty notwithstanding the middle-class backgrounds of Mohammed Atta and co). The second time round, there won't even be a momentary veneer of unity. The angry left will be demanding by lunchtime "What did Bush know and when did he know it?" and citing eminent scientists such as Professor Rosie O'Donnell to demonstrate that it couldn't possibly have been anything but an inside job. The less angry left will demand not a punitive military response but a 12-month blue-ribbon commission co-chaired by Lee Hamilton to call witnesses and investigate where the administration went wrong. Less motivated types will be convinced - like British public opinion after the Glasgow attack and the sailor kidnappings - that it's blowback for Iraq. And a big chunk of the rest may even plump for the Spanish option post-Madrid: Oh, dear, we seem to have caught your eye. What would it take for that not to happen again?
Actually, that's pretty much the whole thing, still I agree with every word of it. I remember that shortly after 9/11 we were all supposed to stop what we were doing at the appointed hour, light a candle and have a moment of quiet reflection, prayer etc.. I felt ridiculous. While Islamicists danced in the streets of Gaza, Riyadh, Islamabad and Newark, citizens of the most powerful nation the world has ever seen gazed, teary eyed, into their collective navel. We need less Phil Donahue and more William Tecumseh Sherman.