U.S. Will Take Time To Recover From 9/11 Attack

Increased airport security and the Department of Homeland Security are two side-effects of the Sept. 11 attacks. The attacks also caused the administration to play fast and loose with the Constitution. It may take years before America is back on track.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

It was seven years ago this week that al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes in the U.S. and turned them into weapons. They crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. About 3,000 people were killed, and there have been wide-reaching, long-lasting effects. NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr has been thinking about some of them.

DANIEL SCHORR: In these seven years, the icon 9/11 has burned itself into the consciousness of America. Why there has been no further attack can be only surmised, although, President Bush likes to suggest that it was his so-called war on terror. Senator McCain says he has worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another attack on the United States of America. Be that as it may, the bad guys can revel in their success in putting this super power into a permanent state of jitters.

I think and curse 9/11 every time I passed through beefed up airport security. The terrorists can enjoy having their own cabinet-level department, the Department of Homeland Security, a 47-billion-dollar agency. Al-Qaeda can claim credit to for causing a panicky administration to play fast and loose with the Constitution. There has been large scale warrantless wire tapping. There has been brutal treatment in Guantanamo and elsewhere of terrorist suspects in the hope of averting the next bombing or hijacking.

In the nervous reaction to the World Trade Center buildings coming down, building standards were amended to provide for better fire proofing and an additional stairwell for tall buildings. According to New York Times, the General Services Administration is opposing the toughest standards as too expensive.

One more possible effect of 9/11 on our psyche, callousness. A study by social psychologists Michael Woll and Neirla Brunskon (ph) found people less likely to perceive the distress that the war has caused to Iraqis after being reminded of the 9/11 attacks. It is altogether a melancholy anniversary, and it may take many more years before America is fully back on track. This Daniel Schorr.

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