Discuss the positive outcomes which have surfaced since the 9/11 attacks.  How have they affected us, and what are the generalizations which can be made regarding future trends in terrorism and...

Discuss the positive outcomes which have surfaced since the 9/11 attacks.  How have they affected us, and what are the generalizations which can be made regarding future trends in terrorism and will there be another attack?   Are we ready?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One distinct outcome from the September 11 attacks galvanized the world's attention against terrorism.  In the wake of the attacks, many governments around the world "passed legislation to combat terrorism."  In the United States, this was a heightened awareness towards terrorism. The development of the Department of Homeland Security was one legislative reform that sought to streamline security issues in the nation.  The consolidation under the Department of Homeland Security was meant to create action plans in the wake of terror attacks and to generate understanding about terrorism that would minimize it in the future.  The government focus placed on terrorism was something that would enable greater awareness and less likelihood of being so unprepared during a potential attack setting.

It is not surprising that some of the most significant advances can be seen in the realm of aviation and airport security.  Given how porous security measures were in terms of passenger security leading up to September 11, greater security in the airports became another outcome of the attacks.  Insistence on prohibiting passengers from carrying specific items such as blades and limited amounts of liquids are examples of enhanced security measures that arise out of the sadness of September 11.

Another aspect of how security has changed since the September 11 attacks would be in the heightened state of awareness regarding terrorism.  The terror alerts, the insistence of being vigilant and awareness, and generating greater leads from on the ground intelligence are ways in which security measures have increased as a result of the September 11 attacks.  The emphasis on terrorism has become more prevalent in American society.  This is another outcome of September 11.  The emphasis on gathering information has become increasingly important.  For example, when the American forces captured and killed Osama Bin Laden, they did not do so through blanket use of military forces taking over nations.  Rather, they were able to pinpoint Bin Laden's location through nuanced intelligence on the ground.  The ability to understand the value of working through intelligence channels and grasp the importance of maintaining such channels is an outcome of the September 11 Attacks.

A generalization that can be made regarding future trends in terrorism is that the terrorist only needs to be successful once.  Anti- terrorist authorities must be correct every single time. This generalization illuminates how the issue of terrorism is something that never really goes away.  While this can be used by those in the position of power to consolidate their own sense of power and control, it is unfortunately true.  Terrorism is evolving and ensuring that intelligence on the ground is accurate becomes vitally important in trying to keep pace with the terrorist, who will always be one step ahead.  A trend in terrorism is that the authorities is working on what was in the past, while the terrorist is inventing what dread can be in the future.  For example, prior to the September 11 attacks, the use of box cutters and using a plane as a weapon of destruction was never really envisioned.  Yet, as a result of the attacks, this is something sadly understood and accepted.  This is another generalization about terrorism that has to be acknowledged. The terrorist invents a new vocabulary that the authorities must appropriate. Any potential success lies in this realization.