At 8:46 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Egyptian terrorist Mohammed Atta and four Saudi accomplices flew hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing all 92 passengers and crew on board as well as hundreds more inside the building.
Whether or not Islamist terrorists prove capable of executing another attack on the United States on the scale of the strikes of September 11, 2001, we would be foolish to assume they can’t. The desire remains, while the bloodlust and the passion have only intensified. The willingness to sacrifice their lives to do us harm is indisputable. We are more vigilant and—somewhat—less willfully naïve, and grand attacks on the homeland are harder to stage today, but the price of deterrence is high in economic costs, resources, and diverted energies.
Despite the enthusiasm of those media purveyors of horror stories about potential terrorist threats that could match the events of 9/11, it is unlikely, at least for the short term, that ISIS is capable of matching al-Qaeda’s bloody success. That said, there are innumerable ways in which its leaders will attempt to create mayhem, disorder, and paranoia in the developed world and the United States in particular.