Hard to believe, but at a few minutes after noon today, it will have been 28 years since jihadists exploded a 1,400-pound chemical bomb in the World Trade Center’s underground garage, killing six adults (including a woman well into her pregnancy) and causing billions of dollars in damage. The destruction was miraculously modest in light of the force of the explosion, which was commensurate with the terrorists’ ambition to kill tens of thousands of Americans.
Last year, Fox News produced a multi-part documentary called The Rising Crescent. I consulted on and appeared in it, and it did a good job of telling the story of what, at the time, was a shocking event — a harbinger of the annihilation to come eight years later when jihadists destroyed the WTC complex in the 9/11 attacks. I also wrote a memoir in 2008, Willful Blindness, about the arrival of jihadist terror on our shores beginning in the late Eighties and our government’s erratic response to it.
We have entered an era in which great power politics has overtaken transcontinental jihadism as the threat foremost in our minds. That is as it should be. There remains, though, an immediacy to the terrorist menace. We’ve gotten a lot better at combatting it than we were 28 years ago, but our country is forever changed . . . and the challenge has not disappeared.