- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2012

Washington hasn’t learned the hardest lessons from Sept. 11, 2001. Although there is a new skyscraper reaching to the heavens where the World Trade Center once stood, the dust has yet to completely settle from the terrorist attacks on that fateful day 11 years ago. It was important then for Americans to get back to work immediately to show the evildoers that we wouldn’t be intimidated or have our confidence as a nation shattered by a ragtag gang of thugs. But in many ways, life got back to normal too quickly. Politicians are again ignoring existential threats to the freedom that makes the United States the shining city on a hill.

Before Sept. 11, the plotters couldn’t get their hands on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and didn’t have the capability to deliver them to high-profile targets such as the Pentagon. Al Qaeda adapted evilly but brilliantly by using hijackers to transform commercial aircraft into deadly missiles. They might not have to be so crafty next time.

As the Washington Free Beacon reported on Monday, Tehran is set to introduce an Iranian-made, long-range cruise missile capable of striking any city in Israel. This danger is magnified as President Obama sits on his hands while the mullahs’ nuclear program develops to where nuclear warheads are within reach. “Whether in the hands of terrorists, rogue states or increasingly from a re-surging Russia and a rapidly advancing China, the WMD threat is growing,” former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton told The Washington Times. “Our gravest threat comes from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.” When outlaw regimes such as North Korea and Iran have nukes, it’s only a matter of time before they sell or give the deadly hardware to bad non-state actors.

A weak Obama presidency tempts fate and dares America’s enemies to act against us. As the world economy collapses and the specter of chaos rises, the White House is poised to announce another round of risky defense cuts. The emasculation is compounded by Mr. Obama’s out-of-control domestic spending that has driven the national debt over a heart-stopping $16 trillion. There are severe consequences to profligacy: The most indebted nation on Earth can’t remain its most powerful. Before long, the Land of the Free will be too broke to defend its interests or our allies. On this awful anniversary, the United States is vulnerable to another 9/11.

Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the new book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).