What the Public Thinks on the Anniversary of 9/11

The public has lost hope that we’ll ever catch Bin Laden, and the majority now think that Iraq was a mistake, writes Ruy Teixeira.

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This week marks the seventh anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Yet over the past seven years, we have yet to catch the perpetrator of this horrific crime, Osama Bin-Laden, or even come particularly close. This is despite good general knowledge about the part of the world and type of area he is likely residing in. Not surprisingly, given this 0-for-7 streak, the public has lost confidence that we will ever capture or kill Bin Laden.

A new CBS News poll found that just 36 percent of Americans believe it is very or somewhat likely that we will be able to bring the perpetrator of 9/11 to justice. That’s down from 70 percent in October 2001.

Chart One

The other thing the public believes is that the war in Iraq, which the Bush administration has focused on instead of bringing Bin Laden and his ilk to justice, has been a mistake. According to Gallup, 58 percent of the public now believes the war in Iraq is a mistake, while back in 2003, only 23 percent thought it was a mistake and 75 percent thought it wasn’t.

Chart Two

This seventh anniversary of 9/11 would be a good time to start doing what needs to be done to capture or kill Bin Laden while moving swiftly to end our tragic and resource-draining mistake in Iraq.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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