Signs to date indicate that it worked. For over a decade now, we've spent trillions of dollars and spent the lives of US soldiers to wage war on a fringe militant group who has fewer members than Placerville, California has citizens. We've become a nation who spies on its own citizens in the name of rooting out "terrorists" – which started out meaning "People who want to bomb our stuff" and is becoming synonymous with "people who don't support the War on Terror".
We're spending ourselves, our money, and our lives, to death chasing ghosts that can't actually hurt us. 3000 people died in 2001. 6938 soldiers died in Iraq and Afghanistan since then. To date, we've done more damage to ourselves than Al Qaeda. There's something seriously wrong with that.
My final thought. As children, we develop our first permanent memories sometime around age 5.
This year marks the year that the cohort of children who do not remember 9/11/2001 become adults. They are 17 years old, and preparing for graduation and entry into the world. They have only ever seen the events of 2001 replayed through the eyes of history, which lacks both the immediacy and the context that the people who were there have.
This year, 21% of Americans will definitely "Never Forget" 9/11 – because they were too young to remember.
Our collective therapist would tell us that it's time to let it go, to live in the present, and to let the things we want for the future guide our decisions, instead of clinging fearfully to the terrible thing that happened as an excuse to not spread our wings and be the very best we can possibly be.