In the days leading up to 10 years since 9/11 an interesting study published by the Federal Signal indicates that many Americans feel insecure and less safe than they did in 2001. The 2011 edition of its annual survey lists a staggering 64-percent of Americans ages 18-24 responding negatively to the question of, “Ten years after the 9/11 tragedy, do you feel that public safety and emergency preparedness has improved to the point where you feel safer in your day-to-day life?”
The answers given by different age groups vary but the constant variable is that a convincing, 90-percent of Americans polled agree that there is a need for drastic improvement in awareness and communication by agencies on all levels (those including fire, police, infrastructure and other first responders).
Where the numbers did stray from each other happen to emanate from people living in large cities versus rural towns and neighborhoods. A convincing 60-percent of people living in small towns felt that they were less safe and that public safety and emergency responders have not improved since the attacks on September 11.
It’s obvious what these statistics mean when applied to the real world. People feel that government agencies and first responders need to improve and convince the general public that they have a better handle on coping with a disaster. And this doesn’t just mean a terrorist act. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods also fit the bill in terms of how government officials and agencies deal with catastrophes.
All of this comes to the forefront as the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 approaches on Sunday. Beyond this release of statistical polling and analysis, President Barack Obama has also been placed under the microscope, maybe more than usual over the course of the calendar year.
Making noise recently has been Sen. Joe Liebermann (I-Conn.), an unlikely face for the war against terrorism. Liebermann has decided to take a 180-degree turnaround on a certain stance in which he’s been criticizing President Obama. What I’m talking about is the vernacular used to describe those responsible for terror attacks and those enemies we’ve been fighting with from Iraq and Yemen to Afghanistan and beyond.
The issue with President Obama has been to refer to these terrorists and their acts as “violent extremism”. What Liebermann and others are pushing to change is for the president to use the label “violent Islamist extremism”, highlighting the enemy which the country has been at war with and continues to battle. It’s obvious that the president is looking to avoid singling out Muslims across the globe, and more importantly within the United States. While it may sound trivial to some the big issue seems to be that “violent extremism” is way too vague of a title. In a war which has engulfed resources, finances and more importantly, human lives, Liebermann wants a definitive distinction of who our enemy really is.
In a time when many criticize the president’s policies both home and abroad, why not underline who Al Qaeda really is and the people and faces that are part of their organization?