Did America learn from 9/11?
A decade since the Twin Towers came crashing down, some say the al-Qaeda attack could have been prevented. Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer has written extensively on the mishandling of counterterrorism intelligence in the time leading up to September 11, and caught up with RT to discuss what has changed ten years later.
“I don’t think we’ve invested well,” Shaffer told RT. In the decade since the 9/11 attacks, America has spent nearly ten years occupying Afghanistan but has not developed their intelligence system to make it worth either country’s while. “Looking at these new threats,” Shaffer said of the heightened terror alert, “we are not as well prepared as we should be.”
“The idea of publishing an 8-page document about a specified, unspecified threat spins everybody out but is not helpful in putting resources where the need to actually be to prevent a terrorist attack,” said Shaffer. While residents of New York and DC might be seeing what looks like added security around the time of the 9/11 anniversary, Shaffer says that, in the end, little has been done to make the country safer.
“We’ve not really made ourselves any safer and I think it’s just a matter of time before someone whose looking at our system goes around it again,” he said to RT. He added that terrorists have managed to work around US intelligence in the past and are likely to do so again. “Some attacks are inevitable,” Shaffer said.
In the decade since 9/11, the US has employed countless operations abroad and domestically, but Shaffer believes that the intelligence community is still not up to snuff. By putting drones overseas, said Shaffer, America is “creating generation of terrorists.” If Americans are going into Afghanistan at all, said Shaffer, “we should use some boots on the ground.”
“If you kill someone, you lose the intelligence value of being able to talk to them,” he said.
In the meantime, Americans are taking lives and asking questions later. Shaffer said that US officials don’t understand the culture we’re dealing with and that most of the Muslims being subjected to American occupation don’t quite get while the US is there either. In fact, said Shaffer, “most of them just don’t care.”
“We are fighting a resistance movement,” is how Shaffer equated the current War on Terror.
Reflecting a decade later, Shaffer said that while America is safer, in his opinion, it isn’t by much. “Is America any safer than we were ten years ago? The answer, probably, is yes. But it’s been quite a price to pay.
“Is it sustainable?” asked Shaffer.