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How much safer do you feel 11 years after 9/11?
September 11th, 2012
02:50 PM ET

How much safer do you feel 11 years after 9/11?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

9/11 changed our world forever.

But a lot more has changed in the 11 years since those scary moments immediately after the terror attacks.

Think back to the days of duct tape, Homeland Security's color-coded terror alerts and anthrax scares.

Going through airport security can still be a hassle – even invasive – but for most of us, that's where the inconvenience ends.

With Osama bin Laden and many of his lieutenants gone terrorism is no longer a major source of worry for most Americans. It has been replaced by fears of an economy gone south and high unemployment.

But the threat of terrorism is far from gone.

In a piece called "A Stubborn Terror," Newsweek magazine reports on how al Qaeda keeps fighting back, with bin Laden's successor Ayman al-Zawahiri calling the shots for this global terror network.

Al Qaeda continues to grow in areas like Pakistan.

The group based in the Arabian Peninsula has staged three attacks on the United States, including the infamous Christmas "underwear bomber."

In Iraq, al Qaeda carries out bombings every month.

In North Africa, it has joined forces with other Islamist extremists and the groups are training terrorists from Algeria, Morocco and Nigeria.

In Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, a new al Qaeda group is trying to start a war between Egypt and Israel.

The fastest growing al Qaeda operation of all is in Syria, thriving on the Civil War and chaos. It carried out more than 60 attacks in June alone.

But the priority remains attacking the United States and Europe.

As Newsweek writes, "In fighting terror, our team has to stay lucky 100% of the time. Al Qaeda needs to be lucky only once."

Here’s my question to you: How much safer do you feel 11 years after 9/11?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: September 11
Ten years after 9/11, did the terrorists win?
An American flag was planted in the rubble of the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attacks.
September 8th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Ten years after 9/11, did the terrorists win?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As our country prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, there's no doubt we were forever changed on that sunny Tuesday morning in September 2001.

One of Osama bin Laden's biggest victories was to make millions of Americans afraid.

So afraid that most of us stopped questioning our government – whether it meant launching unnecessary wars, removing some of our civil liberties, eroding constitutional rights, ignoring international treaties like the Geneva Conventions or torturing detainees.

So afraid that intrusive government security, especially invasive pat-downs and X-rays at airports, became the norm.

So afraid that we let politicians manipulate our fear to win elections and use Americans' deaths to advance their own agendas.

So afraid that in the name of national security, we've allowed the ill-defined wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to drag on. Thousands of lives and trillions of dollars gone. Along with our once dominant position as the world's biggest superpower.

Bin Laden is, fortunately, dead and gone now, but not before accomplishing much of what he set out to do on 9/11.

On Thursday, a USA Today/Gallup Poll shows almost 1 in 5 Americans say the terrorists have won. Have they? Or have we defeated ourselves?

How much of the way our life has changed in the last 10 years is a result of that single act of terrorism on 9/11, and how much of it is because we allowed ourselves to succumb to our fears and in the process surrender much of what we have always been most proud?

Here’s my question to you: Ten years after 9/11, did the terrorists win?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • September 11 • War in Iraq
August 19th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Real reason Muslim community doesn't want to relocate mosque?

ALT TEXT

The building which is poised to house the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center in Manhattan. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Sometimes no answer can be an answer. When asked if a portion of the $100 million needed to build the mosque and Islamic community center near Ground Zero might come from either Saudi Arabia or Iran, the developers refused to comment.

This only adds to the already heated controversy surrounding this project. Remember 15 of the 19 hijackers responsible for deaths of nearly 3,000 people and the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11 came from Saudi Arabia. And the U.S. considers Iran a sponsor of terrorism.

Nonetheless - New York Governor David Paterson tells CNN he's still working on finding a compromise site for the mosque and Islamic center away from Ground Zero.

The developer, Sharif el-Gamal, has said the proximity of the planned mosque and center is not an issue.

Really?

If the people behind this project are sincere about community relations, you'd think they would do something about improving community relations - and talk to the governor about a compromise.

This is not about freedom of religion - no one is suggesting Muslims can't practice their religion. This is about insensitivity to what happened on September 11 and an affront to this city and country. The murders of 3,000 people were committed by muslim extremists.

That's the reason for the outcry from families of victims, rescue workers, and New Yorkers in general - 2/3 of them are opposed. It's simply unrealistic to think you can build a muslim house of worship two blocks from where this awful thing happened and not get a negative reaction. But then I think the developers probably know that.

Here’s my question to you: What's the real reason that the Muslim community doesn't want to relocate the mosque and Islamic community center planned near Ground Zero?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Religion • September 11
August 16th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Muslims buying unnecessary problems by insisting on mosque near Ground Zero?

ALT TEXT

The building which is poised to house the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center in Manhattan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Pres. Obama has stepped into a real firestorm in defending a planned mosque near Ground Zero. He's also managed to turn what was a highly emotional debate here in New York into a national conversation.

On Friday, the president called Ground Zero "hallowed ground," but said Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else. He said that includes the right to build a mosque and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan. The next day - the president seemed to backtrack by saying he wasn't "commenting on the wisdom" of the project... but rather the idea that the government should treat everyone equally, regardless of religion.

Republicans are pouncing on the president's comments, calling him insensitive to families of 9/11 victims. Some point out that even though the president may be right intellectually, this is an emotional issue.

Families of 9/11 victims are divided over the proposed mosque and Islamic community center. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows almost 70 percent of Americans oppose the plan.

The New York landmarks preservation commission has said the the project can go forward. The Islamic center is set to include a mosque, a performing arts center, a lecture hall, a swimming pool, a gym, a restaurant... and a mosque.

New York Gov. David Paterson has offered to relocate the mosque to a less controversial location on state-owned land... but the project's developers said no.

Here’s my question to you: Are Muslims buying themselves unnecessary problems by insisting on building a mosque near Ground Zero in New York?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Religion • September 11
July 20th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Good idea to build a mosque near Ground Zero?

ALT TEXT

Opponents of a proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero attend a community board meeting to debate the issue in lower Manhattan. The site is so close to the location of the 9/11 terror attacks that debris from one of the hijacked planes smashed through the roof of the existing building there. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The debate over a proposed mosque near Ground Zero keeps heating up.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now firing back at Sarah Palin, who called on New Yorkers to "refudiate" - her very own made-up word - the planned mosque only blocks away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Palin called it an "unnecessary provocation" that "stabs hearts."

Bloomberg says Palin has a right to her opinions, but that he couldn't disagree more, adding: "Everything the United States stands for and New York stands for is tolerance and openness."

But even before Palin decided to step into this one - the issue has stirred lots of controversy and passion here in New York. Some relatives of 9/11 victims say it would be like a monument for terrorists... or a "sacrilege on sacred ground."

And local Republican politicians are calling for an investigation on how the center would be financed... they're also raising questions about the views of its leader. Opponents are hoping to get the city's landmarks commission to protect the current structure thereby blocking the mosque project from going forward.

But supporters insist the mosque would represent the voice of moderate Muslims. They say it's meant to improve relations between Islam and the West, and add that the location - only steps away from Ground Zero - shows how important religious freedom is in the U.S.

Some 9/11 families also support the mosque, saying there's no better symbol of tolerance and inclusion.

Besides a mosque, the proposed $100 million community center would stand 13 stories tall and include a gym, swimming pool and performing space which would be open to anyone.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good idea to build a mosque near Ground Zero?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Religion • September 11
January 29th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Where should trials of 9/11 terror suspects be held?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A change of heart at the White House - which is now considering moving the 9/11 terror trials away from New York City.

Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is among those suspects set to face a trial in a civilian criminal court.

Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is among those suspects set to face a trial in a civilian criminal court.

This about-face comes after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with other state and city politicians, yelled long and loud about trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his fellow dirtbags at a courthouse near Ground Zero. Which was an idea that made absolutely no sense from the beginning.

New York is worried about the costs - about $200 million a year - for a trial that could last years... plus the general disruption to life in lower Manhattan. It's estimated they would need more than 2,000 security checkpoints set up - along with additional protection in other parts of the city. How stupid is our federal government?

The feds said they would reimburse New York for its costs, but what about business owners who could be driven out of business by this circus?

There are better ideas... almost anywhere is a better idea than New York City. These include the Military Academy at West Point or a military base in upstate New York.

This fierce opposition to the plan to hold those trials here in Manhattan caught the justice department off guard (There's a surprise). Washington? Tone deaf?

Nah....

Now, one law enforcement official tells the New York Daily News, "it's like a half-baked soufflé - the plan is collapsing."

Good.

Here’s my question to you: Where should the trials of the 9/11 terror suspects be held?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: September 11
November 16th, 2009
02:31 PM ET

Trying 9/11 suspects in New York City?

 Lights near Ground Zero to memorialize September 11.

Lights near Ground Zero to memorialize September 11.

FROM CNN's JACK CAFFERTY:

A heated debate is following the Obama administration's decision to bring some of the 9-11 suspects to trial in New York City.

Democrats are praising the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the attacks, and four others in a civil court here in the U.S. They say it shows what a strong justice system we have.

But Republicans are calling it a bad idea and asking why alleged terrorists should get full judicial rights of U.S. citizens. Former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani says these terror suspects should face military tribunals... Giuliani says the trials will put New York City residents at unnecessary risk.

A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 64% of those polled say Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be tried by a military court, while only 34% say he should be tried by a civilian court. But, the poll shows 60% of those surveyed agree Mohammed should be tried here in the U.S.

Nonetheless, a lot of people here in New York don't think this is such a good idea. Mike Lupica writes in the New York Daily News that a fair trial for Mohammed in New York won't change the worst day the city has ever had:

"This is a trial that will dominate the city and hold it hostage and bring back the day and none of the dead. This bum will get the stage he wants and tell the city it is a target all over again."

Here's the question: How do you feel about trying five of the 9/11 suspects in New York City?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?
FULL POST


Filed under: September 11