The common denominator in these ten years? American life under its hypercritical, volatile, and mercurial democracy proves resilient; the Islamic terrorists and their authoritarian sponsors who would destroy it do not. And even after a decade of acrimony, partisan rancor, and stasis, Americans continue to be horrified—and angry—over those who were murdered on September 11. We’ve done our best for ten years to ensure that it cannot happen again.
Intellectually, we have refused to face the fact that we are at war and should act to end it quickly. Morally, we have denied all principles except one: moral goodness means self-sacrifice. Psychologically, we lack confidence in our efficacy, and have murdered our self-esteem by leaping into the quicksand of sacrifice. Politically, we are at perpetual war, because to win decisively would be an act of self-interest—and that is the one action we dare not take.