Ben Shapiro: The 5 Lessons America Learned From 9/11 — Then Forgot
Keith Griner/Getty Images
Keith Griner/Getty Images

Americans learned painful lessons on 9/11, but every time Democrats compare the terrorists who took down the Twin Towers to the January 6 rioters, they show they’ve forgotten what happened 21 years ago, Ben Shapiro said Monday.

Speaking on his daily radio show and podcast as horrific footage of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 played, the Daily Wire editor emeritus lamented the lessons lost over the years. The attack, in which 19 Muslim fanatics flew hijacked planes into the towers and the Pentagon, and took another one down in Pennsylvania, shattered a calm that had set in after the Cold War ended, he said.

“There was a feeling … that the world was safe, that international diplomacy was going to rule the roost from here on in, that violence against Americans was absolutely unthinkable,” Shapiro said. “And then 911 happened and it really taught us a bunch of lessons that we were supposed to remember.”

“First, the world is smaller than you think,” Shapiro said. “Things that happened far away in lands that we do not know, those things impact the United States economically in terms of military power, in terms of safety of Americans, these things really affect us.”

The second lesson Shapiro identified is that real or perceived weakness, whether economic, military, or ideological, invites aggression.

“If you read the manifesto of Osama bin Laden after 9/11, [it] was all about how the United States was basically a paper tiger, had made a bunch of promises, had not fulfilled those promises, the United States had run from conflict,” Shapiro noted, citing the United States’ disastrous withdrawal from Somalia, its inaction in the face of Al Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the USS Cole, all in the years immediately preceding 9/11.

The third lesson learned from the terror attack, Shapiro said, was that nurturing lasting culture and institutions requires extraordinary investment of time. Whether imposed by a dictator or fought for by a freedom-seeking people, the shared values that can stabilize a populace aren’t easily come by.

“Those sorts of institutions don’t just magically take root,” Shapiro said. “You actually have to sit there for, in the case of Japan, generations, you have to sit there in the case of South Korea, for generations, and you have to be willing to actually expend the money and keep the soldiers over there.”

Many of the countries of the Middle East had been created in the 20th century, so tribal differences were hard to replace, he noted.

Shapiro’s fourth lesson from 9/11 is one that seems especially forgotten in today’s age of hyper-partisanship: “You have a lot in common with your fellow Americans, more than you think you do and a lot more than you do with your enemies.”

“We tend to talk a lot in the United States about the gap between Florida and New York, between Texas and California,” he said. “And those gaps absolutely exist. These are serious ideological gaps. And those gaps seem to be getting wider in the United States.

“[But] whatever those gaps are, they are not nearly as wide as the gap between, say, Texas and Afghanistan or California and Afghanistan,” he continued. “And 9/11 was a reminder that the enemies of the American people do not think like Americans, that whatever disagreements we have with each other in the West, and they are very serious and they have real consequences, the gaps between the disagreements in the West and disagreements between people in the West and places like Afghanistan or Iraq or Iran. These are disagreements in kind.”

The final lesson: “Our enemies do not think like we do. We think that when we are spreading liberal democracy or economic progress, that our enemies are going to be happy that when we bring additional material benefit to people around the world, that this is something they are going to appreciate. And what we learned on 911 is that that’s not actually the case. Our enemies don’t think like we do.”

Fast-forward 21 years, and Democrats are likening the deadliest attack on American soil and the monsters behind it to the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Shapiro played clips of Hillary Clinton somberly claiming the grim anniversary was a reminder to stop “extremism” that “uses violence to try to achieve political and ideological goals.” Another clip showed Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner comparing “insurgents attacking the Capitol on January 6” to the 9/11 terrorists. Finally, Shapiro played video of Vice President Kamala Harris saying conservative Americans “talk about their fellow Americans the same way that Bush talked about Al Qaeda after 9/11.”

The January 6 riots, Shapiro said, were closer to the racially charged riots of the summer of 2020 than to the nation’s darkest day. But comparing the Capitol riot to 9/11 is a cynical political ploy, he said.

“That is a clear and overt attempt to compare 9/11 to 1/6 and those are not the same thing,” Shapiro said. “The Democratic idea here is to broaden out January 6 to include all Republicans.

“The lesson we learned after 9/11, which is that Americans are not your enemies Americans are your friends against the real enemies out there, that’s gone.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Ben Shapiro: The 5 Lessons America Learned From 9/11 — Then Forgot