I’ve struggled with myself all day over whether to write a post that at least acknowledges the attacks on September 11, 2001. This will be brief: no “where were you when…”, etc. It may be a bit brutal.
Since the attacks we’ve killed a lot of people, had a lot of our own killed, and spent a lot of money. What we haven’t done is interrupted the critical success factors that lead to the original attack.
Any activity has critical success factors. Those are the factors or activities that make it possible for an organization or operation to accomplish its mission.
We’ve accomplished a few things. We’ve hardened jet cockpits. We’ve driven Al Qaeda from its stronghold in Afghanistan. I don’t happen to think that stronghold was a critical success factor for the attacks. They now have a stronghold in Pakistan. We’ve killed a lot of Al Qaeda leaders including Osama Bin Laden. I don’t think they were critical success factors, either. I believe that reasonable people can differ on that.
We’ve made counter-terrorism a more attractive career choice for people in the FBI. As far as I can tell that’s resulted in “sting” operations that haven’t actually done a great deal to make us more secure. The experts say that we’ll never know about the real successes, only the failures. They would say that, wouldn’t they?
So, yes, it can happen again.