Chapter 1: 9-11 Changed Everything?
When I said "Your government failed you" to the families of the victims of 9-11, it seemed to me that I was merely stating the obvious: the government had failed the American people. And I had.
Three thousand people had been murdered in a morning, not on a battlefield, not in their battleships as had happened in Pearl Harbor, but in their offices. They had been killed by a terrorist group that had promised to attack us, and which we had been unable to stop.
"9-11 changed everything." That was the remark that we heard over and over again in the years that followed. It was only partially true. 9-11 did not change the Constitution, although some have acted as if it did. Nor did the government's response to the attack make us more secure.
By the second anniversary of the 9-11 attack on America, the United States had invaded and occupied two Islamic nations, created an Orwellian-sounding new bureaucracy, launched a spending spree of unprecedented proportions, and was systematically shredding the Constitution. Despite our frenzy, or in many cases because of it, the problem we sought to address, violent Islamist extremism, was getting worse. Much of what our government did after 9-11, at home and abroad, departed from our values and identity as a nation. It was also massively counter-productive. Our government failed us before and after 9-11, and it continues to do so today.