But here’s an even more basic answer: The first 9-11 didn’t really unite us, so why would the second?
Blogging took off in the wake of 9-11 precisely because we weren’t united, even then. There was a sort of illusory unity, but shortly after 9-11 and as it became clear that we would have to invade Afghanistan, as the press started reporting on the “brutal Afghan winter” and all that claptrap, that unity started evaporating. The hard left had already started generating its anti-war machine and the “international community” was already fretting about the US hegemon and its mad rush to war.
Personally, in the wake of 9-11 we didn’t rush madly enough to war to suit me. We gave the Taliban a month or so and we gave Saddam a whole year. A true mad rush might have made 9-11 a teachable moment for anyone who even thought about attacking us. Now Afghanistan + Iraq is a teachable moment, but not in a good way: It teaches any two-bit tinhorn that he if can wait us out, the press and the left will do his infowar work for him. It also teaches any would-be enemy that we’re more concerned with UN niceties than with actually defending ourselves. And we care more about UN niceties than self-defense precisely because we really aren’t united on the question of self-defense. We haven’t been since Vietnam. 9-11 didn’t change that, and a second attack won’t either. Mark Steyn lays out what I think a second 9-11 would do.
The second time round, there won’t even be a momentary veneer of unity. The angry left will be demanding by lunchtime “What did Bush know and when did he know it?” and citing eminent scientists such as Professor Rosie O’Donnell to demonstrate that it couldn’t possibly have been anything but an inside job. The less angry left will demand not a punitive military response but a 12-month blue-ribbon commission co-chaired by Lee Hamilton to call witnesses and investigate where the Administration went wrong. Less motivated types will be convinced – like British public opinion after the Glasgow attack and the sailor kidnappings – that it’s blowback for Iraq. And a big chunk of the rest may even plump for the Spanish option post-Madrid: Oh, dear, we seem to have caught your eye. What would it take for that not to happen again?
Just as Iraq (and to some extent 9-11 itself) has been politicized and Katrina has been politicized, a second 9-11 would be politicized.
Update (AP): Here’s video of Bykofsky on Fox yesterday.