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Could we have prevented 9/11?
Shannon Stafford
March 12, 2002

It has been six months since the day our lives as U.S. citizens were irrevocably changed. Everyone is still walking around scratching their heads and wondering how we could have let terrorists attack us on our own soil and what we could have done to circumvent the events of that morning. Well, the short answer to that question is: absolutely nothing.

Had J. Edgar Hoover himself picked up the phone and called George W. Bush at 7 a.m. on September 11th, 2001, to tell our President that he had just spoken to Osama Bin Laden and Osama was about to hijack half a dozen of our commercial planes from airports around the country and fly them into strategic locations, we could have heard the laughter from sea to shining sea. 

Even if the CIA, the FBI, the Federal Marshal Service, and the US Treasury Department had advance warning of the attack, who would have believed it? No one could have convinced the FAA and the money-driven airlines to ground all commercial flights across the U.S. We’ve seen the economic results of that, and absolutely no one could have convinced them to voluntarily take losses of millions of dollars to shut down the air traffic in the great United States on the “threat” of multiple hijackings. That alone would have been ludicrous. Who believed before that day that more than one airplane could be hijacked? 

Now say that someone managed to convince the President, the FAA, the airlines and the airports to ground all flights until further notice? There would have been mass hysteria in terminals all across the country. H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” would have been happy hour compared to the millions of Americans of Americans who were stranded because some Saudi prince planned to hijack planes and crash them into the World Trade Center? You have got to be kidding!! Can you imagine the riots that followed the announcements that flights had been cancelled because somewhere a plane might be hijacked? 

So stop pointing fingers at the Federal agencies and start pointing them to the caves of Afghanistan. The only blame lies there amidst the rubble. Stop wondering how this could have happened to us. It happened. Instead, let’s learn that we aren’t infallible or all-powerful, and let’s make sure that we, as individuals and as passengers, don’t allow this to happen again. - Copyright 2002 - Email us at
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