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Americans Still Feel Impact of 9/11 on Life, Politics

September 11, 2006 at 12:00 AM EDT

JIM LEHRER: Now, a fifth anniversary discussion of the impact of 9/11. It’s among eight Americans we invited to our studio last Friday afternoon.

I began by asking them to introduce themselves.

CHARLES MITCHELL, Recent Graduate, Bucknell University: My name is Charles Mitchell. I work in Washington. And I was a freshman in college when 9/11 happened.

ANNE NELSON, Playwright & Screenwriter: I’m Anne Nelson. I teach at Columbia University. And I wrote a play about September 11 called “The Guys.”

REVEREND JIM FORBES, Senior Minister, New York City Riverside Church: I am Jim Forbes, the senior minister at the Riverside Church in New York City, and a radio host on Air America, “The Time Is Now.”

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, Comedian: My name is Dean Obeidallah. I’m from New York City. I’m an Arab-American comedian. I used to be a lawyer.

JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN, Professor of Ethics, University of Chicago: I’m Jean Bethke Elshtain, author: from Nashville and Chicago. I teach political philosophy. And I, too, have written a book called “Just War Against Terror,” concerning the events of 9/11.

LUIS RODRIGUEZ, Poet & Social Activist: My name is Luis Rodriguez. I’m an author of 10 books, including “Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.” I’m also a co-founder of Tia Chucha’s Cafe Bookstore, Cafe and Cultural Center in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles.

REVEREND RICHARD LAND, Southern Baptist Convention: I’m Richard Land. I’m from Nashville, Tennessee. I’m a Southern Baptist theologian and ethicist, and head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics Commission, and have authored a book called “Real Homeland Security.”

GINA GALLO, Clinical Psychologist: I’m Gina Gallo. I’m a clinical psychologist and author of two books, including “Armed and Dangerous: Memoirs of a Chicago Cop.” And when 9/11 occurred, I was just ending my 17-year police career in Chicago.

Varied effects of 9/11

Rev. Richard Land
Southern Baptist Convention
One of my permanent reactions to 9/11 is that I will never think about firemen the same way again.

JIM LEHRER: Reverend Forbes, has 9/11 had any lasting effect on you personally? What happened, in terms of your work as a pastor?

REVEREND JAMES FORBES: Nine-eleven struck me hard, and it still hangs in my spirit.

From the very moment I heard about it, things began to be so complicated. The day it happened, we were downstairs in a meeting of community leaders. So, we just stopped the meeting, joined our hands, and started praying about what shall we do, silence, and asking, lord, have mercy. That's where I was.

But, after that, my job became going around for funerals. We didn't have anybody that died from my congregation, but organizations invited us to come, hold memorial services at the Plaza Hotel, Madison Square Garden. We had the opportunity to have several of the major memorials at our church.

Yankee Stadium, they asked us religious leaders to come out and offer prayer, just one rite after the other for, it felt like, for an eternity, those awful days after September, October, and even on into November.

JIM LEHRER: Professor Elshtain, were they awful days for you?

JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN: They were terrible days. My bags were packed. I was going to head to the airport to fly to Rome for a conference on work and social justice at the Vatican.

And I received a call that the Nashville Airport was shutting down, which seemed extraordinary. I immediately put the television on in time to see the second plane hit. And I knew that my world, as a political thinker, as a grandmother, as a citizen, and as a frequent flier, had changed quite dramatically.

One of the things that hit me was the fact that, as Americans, we have been a rather lucky people, in many ways, and I certainly thought we were secure on our homeland. We didn't expect that there would be agents intent on killing us, when we had just gone to work that day, as all those folks had done. So, that was a fundamental change.

And one other thing that struck me is that the world of my grandchildren was forever altered. In the immediate aftermath, the grandkids couldn't get 9/11 off their minds. They sat around and drew pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, and it hit me that the primary political memory they will have from their childhoods is that event, because it was so dramatic and it affected everyone inside the household so, so badly.

My daughter and I encouraged the kids to bake some cookies, so we could take them over the nearest fire station, and thank the firemen for helping to protect us. And it just hit me that we don't think about all those folks out there whose job is to help keep us safe, and now we were required to do it.

JIM LEHRER: Reverend Land, you were shaking your head while she was speaking.


REVEREND RICHARD LAND: One of my permanent reactions to 9/11 is that I will never think about firemen the same way again.

Those firemen charging up into those buildings, with reckless self-regard for themselves, seeking to rescue their fellow human beings, is a moment in time that I will never forget.

Of course, 9/11 changed everything, I think, for most Americans. It certainly changed everything for me. For one thing, I'm old enough to remember the duck-and-cover drills of the 1950s, when we had air raid warnings. And I had the little dog tags, you know, so they could identify the cinder that would be me after an atomic attack.

And, after 9/11, for the second time in my life, I had to think about whether or not my way of life and my country were worth dying for. And the answer is yes. It was yes when it was the Soviet threat, and it's yes today, with the threat of terrorists who hate us, hate everything we stand for as a nation, and mean us harm. And that's a new reality. We had a vacation from it for about 10 years. We had a post-Cold War vacation from having to ask ourselves those kinds of questions. And that vacation is over.

JIM LEHRER: Is the vacation over for you, Gina Gallo?

GINA GALLO: Well, I think it's interesting that everyone here mentioned something that police know all the time and integrate into their daily jobs.

People ask cops all the time, how can you do the job that you do every day, go out there and know that this might be the day that you don't get to go home again? And now that 9/11 has happened, people can ask that of themselves. What happens if? If we go out there, this could be the day that we don't make it home. This could be the day of another attack.

I think the reason that terrorists are so successful is that they choreograph a fear within us that modifies our behaviors, and it kinds of creates a new paradigm of how we act, what we incorporate into our daily lives, and whether or not we choose to allow that fear to lead us to tinge everything we do, where we have to live in fear and live in the shadow, or do we go out and do the best we can and hope that our responses will be what they need to be, if this should happen again.

An attack on all Americans

Anne Nelson
Playwright and Screenwriter
You know, in a way, I feel guilty as a mother, because, for them, that was the end of their childhood.

JIM LEHRER: Mr. Rodriguez, out in Los Angeles, was fear one of your immediate reactions when you heard about 9/11?

LUIS RODRIGUEZ: Well, I was actually on the way to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I was going to speak on violence. And the violence that I talk about is urban violence, what happens in our streets, and I have been very much active in trying to deal with violence in our communities. I know about violence for years.

It did shock me. I was extremely saddened. I was saddened for all of us. I was saddened for what we needed to understand about ourselves. My feeling is that, you know, there's a reason why everything happens. I think that there's a lot of hurting in this world. There's a lot of people who are hungry, a lot of people who don't feel connected, who don't get heard, who don't feel that their voices are there.

And some of them are going to respond very badly. And I think that the best way to handle it is to find a way for all of us to pay attention to each other, what respect really means, which is to see each other again.

I really felt that this was going to be a healing time, as painful and as tragic as that terrible thing was, because it was a shock to all of us. And I really thought that now we're all going to wake up to the kind of violence I see every day in the streets, the kind of violence that I deal with.

And I look at it now as a global thing. How do we find a healing path for every one of us? Because now it's not just an urban street reality. It's a reality that every one of us is facing.

JIM LEHRER: Anne Nelson, on a personal level, what was the effect of 9/11 on you?

ANNE NELSON: Well, it transformed my life. I live maybe four or five miles from the World Trade Center in New York City. My kids were in school that day. And...

JIM LEHRER: How old are your kids?

ANNE NELSON: They are now 15 and 17. And, certainly, this has been the formative experience in the life. I...

JIM LEHRER: The formative experience in their lives?

ANNE NELSON: Yes, absolutely. They were different people before.

JIM LEHRER: Explain that.

ANNE NELSON: You know, in a way, I feel guilty, as a mother, because, for them, that was the end of their childhood. And they were -- you know, five years ago, they were, you know, elementary school children. And until then, you went outside and it was a celebration. You went to the park. You got on the subway. You lived your life.

And now people in New York have signs that say: Watch what you say. Watch under -- you know, be cautious. And it's a whole "1984" atmosphere. What's in that backpack? Who's sitting next to you? It's an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. And it's its own prison for us.

JIM LEHRER: So, the healing that Mr. Rodriguez is talking about, you do not see in your life?

ANNE NELSON: Oh, well, immediately after the attack, there was a spirit afoot in New York that was, I think, glorious in its own way, and New Yorkers reaching out to each other and supporting each other. It still exists in pockets.

But I think, in a lot of ways, it's been kind of drowned out by a kind of national media and the commercial culture, and it's harder to connect to. It's still there.

GINA GALLO: I have two sons. When you were talking about parenting and how that changed you, how 9/11 changed.

When you're a cop, you see things that nobody ever gets to see. And I can say that this is kind of similar to what we're talking about, in that I see the risks and the realities and the horror on a daily basis, and I know that I have to prepare my sons. But how do you that without forfeiting their innocence? And how much of that do you want, in the interests of keeping them safe, in the interests of making them aware of what's out there, and how they have to prepare themselves, and how they can't be capricious in their trust?

JIM LEHRER: Dean Obeidallah, the personal change that 9/11 brought to you?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH: Well, to me, I mean, just, 9/11, I was downtown in the Village. And I went outside in the street and saw the second tower fall. And I will never forget it, the surrealness of people running by me with tears in their eyes, and cars driving by with debris on it.

So, I knew that moment that it was a dramatic moment in my life. I never knew how dramatically my life would change. In all honesty, it's changed in every way possible, professionally, personally, socially, psychologically.

Before 9/11, I identified simply as a white guy. I mean, my father is of Arab heritage. He is Palestinian. But I was barely in touch with that at all. And my mom's Italian. And I really was maybe slightly more Italian-American, to be honest, before 9/11.

In the five years since, I have much more embraced my Arab heritage. Before 9/11, I didn't belong to any Arab-American organizations. I was a stand-up comic for about six, seven years. I never talked about being Arab in my shows, maybe one joke here or there. I didn't have Arab-American friends who weren't related to me.

Since then, my life has changed. I have joined Arab-American groups. I have numerous friends who are Arab-American. I have co-founded the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival in New York, which was designed three years ago not just to make people laugh, but dispel stereotypes and foster understanding.

I have been to the Middle East in 2004, and now three times since. I even performed there. I have performed comedy in Beirut, Haifa, Ramallah, and Dubai. So, my life has changed dramatically. I used to simply be a white guy, and now I'm much more of an Arab-American.

But, at the same time, oddly enough, I really feel more American than ever, because, sometimes, my outrage or upset with what's going on in America has to do with my view of what America stands for, my ideals of equality and fairness and religious tolerance.

So, I'm not less of an American now. Oddly, I feel very strongly about America. I'm very proud to be an American. I'm very happy my father came here from Palestine to make a life in America.

But it's been a very odd journey, a challenging journey, and a very eye-opening journey.

JIM LEHRER: Charles, you were in college on 9/11, right? You were a student.


JIM LEHRER: Tell us about what it was like for you.

CHARLES MITCHELL: Well, I was a freshman at Bucknell University, which is near New York City, on 9/11.

Everyone was shocked. What I think is more significant than the way everyone reacted that day is the way that people have reacted since then. There was an article in The New York Times the other day, asking, "Where have all the protesters gone?" referring to Vietnam and how young people then, the campuses were in flames.

When I was in college, there were protests as big for support the troops or support the war or whatever as there were for the anti-war rally. It's an entirely different climate. Rather than protesting, students, at my own alma mater on 9/11, right now, are selling flags, raising money to donate to soldiers' causes.

This is an entirely different response. And I think this generation, in that way, looks more to the World War II generation than to our parents and the baby-boomers.

JIM LEHRER: Do you think that's because of the nature of 9/11...


JIM LEHRER: ... the terrorist attack...

CHARLES MITCHELL: Yes, if you look at...

JIM LEHRER: ... against civilians?


I think of the formative experience of my parents' generation, as 9/11 was called earlier. The formative experience of my parents' generation was JFK getting shot. They know where they were. They can always tell you where they were when it happened. I can tell you where I was on 9/11. So can everyone my age.

But it was different. On 9/11, we were attacked. It was not like a crazy person shooting the president. It was people from another country invading our homeland and attacking us. It was more similar to Pearl Harbor. And I think that our generation has reacted to 9/11 in a way similar to the way that that generation reacted to Pearl Harbor.

And that is, they went to war. Many people I know are fighting -- or many people my age are fighting this war. People I know are enlisting. That's the way that we have reacted.

Debating the war on terrorism

Rev. James Forbes
Senior Minister, Riverside Church
Shall we just talk, or shall we engage in serious efforts to restrain the concerns of those who would destroy us?

JIM LEHRER: What about your students?

JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN: My students are enormously preoccupied with the kinds of issues that 9/11 put on the table.

And I do think that it reminded us -- and some comments around the table have also reminded me of this -- that there are limits to conversation, that there are limits to when healing can occur, that there are particular vocations in politics, the statesman, the stateswoman, that their job is different from the job of the therapist and different from the job of the priest or pastor.

It's a harrowing job in many ways, but it's a public job. It's certainly a job, I think, infused with certain ethical norms, or ought to be. But the task is to provide for the common defense. I think it's difficult for Americans to realize that there really are determined people who mean you harm, and that one has to take that very, very seriously, and figure out ways, consistent with your own tradition, consistent with the Constitution, to respond to that.

In responding, because it's a new situation for us, in many ways, you know there are going to be missteps. You know that you may overreact. You may also under-react. And both, in their own ways, are problematic.

But talking to al-Qaida isn't going to do a darn thing. I mean, you know, you're talking about determined people who are very clear about what their goals are, very clear. They're not hiding them from us.

JIM LEHRER: Reverend Forbes, do you have a reaction to that?

REVEREND JAMES FORBES: Shall we just talk, or shall we engage in serious efforts to restrain the concerns of those who would destroy us?

It seems to me that balance has always been the course that led to greater wisdom. It is clear that we need a strong defense against adversaries, but if we are so absorbed in the prospect of military solutions that we do not ask ourselves what kind of world we are in, who do we have to talk to, what's the tone with which we talk, and how do we make sure that, while we are keeping ourselves as secure, from a military perspective, we are building a deeper security, and that is figuring out how to learn to navigate our way through many global conflicts in the world today.

LUIS RODRIGUEZ: I think that there's another level, though, because I don't think it's even -- balance is not even happening. You really don't have the dialogue that everybody is talking about. There isn't happening.

My feeling is that the real important thing that's missing here is imagination. We have lost all imagination for what to do. How do we act when we get confronted with this kind of tragedy? And I think that some people went that way. It was mentioned, some people moved closer. Some people -- this happened around the country. People started to feel more connected.

They seemed more like they were now one nation. And that really rapidly began to divide us. I think, right now, we're more divided than ever before. And I also think that this war on terrorism actually created more terrorism.

My feeling is that we actually made the problem worse. The whole Iraq debacle, to me, had nothing to do directly with terrorism. So, this is what I'm saying, that we ended up going in all these directions without thinking about all the imagination and all the healing that could be possible in this.

REVEREND RICHARD LAND: Well, I disagree with a good bit of that.

First of all, I think it's pretty imaginative for the president to have said, after 9/11, the way we have done business in the Middle East has been wrong, under Democratic presidents and Republican presidents, because we placed too much emphasis on shoring up and assisting fascistic and oligarchical regimes that proved to be the breeding grounds for terrorism, and that we needed to renounce that policy, and we needed to make it a major policy of the United States to promote freedom and democracy in the Islamic world, that that was the only way to permanently eliminate the radical jihadist threat.

And I think the president is right in his fundamental goal to seek to spread freedom in the Middle East. Now, freedom, we can't impose it. We can't impose it. But we do have an obligation and a responsibility to seek to share it. And I think what we have seen so far in the world is, when people are given that choice, and nobody's holding a gun to their head, they make the choice for a government that represents them, and is accountable to them, and has their interests and their families' and their children's best interests at heart.


DEAN OBEIDALLAH: I mean, I think the idea of bringing democracy to the Middle East is a fabulous idea.

Forcing it upon people, though, is not working in Iraq. I mean, clearly, 3,000 civilians were killed last month. They just found -- today, they said there's 1,500 bodies, new bodies, in the morgue in Baghdad. Democracy would be great, if the people had chosen it, or if there was a postwar plan that took into account really the facts on the ground, that encouraged a real democracy to flourish, not some -- a country that's about to break into three states.

Really, what it gets down to, how is making American safer? How is that helping us, Iraq? Finding bin Laden, destroying the al-Qaida infrastructure makes America safer.

I agree in the balance that you both talk about. And that is going after the right enemy in the right place, not distracting us with Iraq. We have lost too many American men. Too many civilians have been killed to allow that to continue.

But, at the same time, we just can't leave now. But we're in a difficult position. What do you do now?

REVEREND RICHARD LAND: First of all, we have had -- there were three elections in Iraq. And the Iraqi people elected -- they approved a constitution. They elected a government, the most freely elected government in the history of Arab civilization.

 JIM LEHRER: Anne, how would you respond to Reverend Land?

ANNE NELSON: The best analysis I have heard of this region is that we're looking at a kind of internal Islamic reformation.

You look back at Europe. When the Catholics and Protestants divided, they chopped up the territory; they chopped up each other. And we had several hundred years in Europe of religious warfare. And whoever entered into it would get drawn into it.

Right now, that's going on across the Middle East. It's a very dangerous time. If you are going to wade in, and try to play a role, try to play a constructive role, you better know what you're doing. You better have the resources at hand to do it well. And you better have thought out the expected outcome, who your allies are, and, most importantly, how to minimize the enemy.

If it's extremists, figure out who they are. Figure out how to attack them effectively. Figure out how not to alienate the surrounding populations and the moderates, who would like to be allies of the United States, but have a hard time watching this policy play out in such a tragic way.

LUIS RODRIGUEZ: Yes, because you can't just tell me that this is not a democracy that -- I remember when the bombs fell down.

Shock and Awe, what is that? That is a jihad from our side. You can't tell me that this is not just also related to what we do. Whatever happens in the world, we have a lot to do with it. What we needed was real leadership that took into account all these things, the split between the Sunnis and the Shiites; that took into account what was going to be possible, the civil war that now is going raging; that took into account the fact that 10,000 or even more civilians were going to die; took into account now we got 3,000 of our own soldiers dying, almost as much as what happened at the Twin Towers.

My feeling is that all this was not taken into account. None of this was being dealt with. It was just one thing: We're going to get our revenge. We're going to figure out one way we know how to do it. It's like no imagination, the same old thing over and over again.

And, you know -- and in the urban streets I live in, that's what I see every day. I see kids doing this all the time. I see kids thinking that way all the time: My friend got killed. My homey is dead. I'm going to go out and get my revenge. I'm going to do a drive-by.

I see -- you know, I realize that, you know what? What they're doing, which I would hate to see happen anymore, I see that we, our leaders, ourselves, are contributing to this. The way think, the way we do things ends up being the very same thing that we told these kids, you're not supposed to do that.

JIM LEHRER: Charles, react to Mr. Rodriguez.


Students that are of my generation are just not all that impressed by, you know, saying that we should be responding to the attacks with more imagination. The mentality is, again, we were attacked. The way that you respond to an attack is, if there is imagination in it is in an imaginative military strike.

The changing tides in the nation

Jean Bethke Elshtain
University of Chicago
Most of the time, we're concerned about our own goals and our own purposes and our own desires. And this forced us outside of ourselves, I think, in a rather extraordinary way.

JIM LEHRER: Let me ask Gina.


GINA GALLO: I think it's interesting how, in this country, since 9/11, the politics of war seem to be framed according to your orientation, in that, are you for the war? Are you a supporter? But, then, if you're not, you're not a good American.

You know, do you support the troops? Do you support an invasion? Because, if you do, then, you know, you're in accordance with what we want to do, which is a knee-jerk reaction. Right after 9/11, suddenly, it seemed like, oh, there's this patriotism; there's this national cohesiveness. And everybody was out there with their little flags that they had attached to their cars, and there was this rah-rah jingoism.

What happened to it? It went out of fashion, you know, much like last season's clothes. And then...

JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN: Well, I don't think we should be cynical about that moment in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

It wasn't people waving little flags. It was people expressing that sense of a collectivity, of a we. This happened to us. It didn't just happen to those folks in New York City or in Washington. And it strikes me that that moment was moment of recognition for many of us, because we do have such an individualistic society.

Most of the time, we're concerned about our own goals and our own purposes and our own desires. And this forced us outside of ourselves, I think, in a rather extraordinary way. And I disagree profoundly that our reactions have been largely knee-jerk reactions. If that had been the case, we would have started flaying about and bombing immediately.

That didn't happen. There was considerable reflection. It's a real problem when you try to analogize from, you know, what happens in a street culture or what happens in the neighborhood to what happens on the international stage.

JIM LEHRER: Reverend Forbes.

REVEREND JAMES FORBES: It's interesting how we forget that, after 9/11, you were almost made to feel like you were anti-patriotic or unpatriotic.

People don't seem to remember. I do. I'm on a plane. And there's a book that I was taking that was critical of the government. And I put it on my suitcase. But, before going, I thought, let me take this out. I'm a pretty mature guy, afraid that even the book I carried would have me labeled as unpatriotic or anti-American.

The energy to mobilize for the war made it very difficult for people on campus, but even in churches and mosques and synagogues, to really have freedom of speech about what their thinking was. So, a very skillful task was done -- that is, to make Americans afraid.

There was the code that went up and went down. And if people are not prepared to remember that it felt almost un-American to say anything negative against that war -- and the media experienced it. People paid a price for thinking that way.

And I was beginning to ask, where is freedom in America, that you can't really criticize and still be considered a good patriot, a good American? My friend...


JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN: On our college campuses, I don't -- Reverend Forbes, with all due respect, I don't recognize the world you're describing. It seems to me...



It seems to me that, certainly, in the venues I'm familiar with, the campus that I teach on, the campuses I visited, these issues were aired all the time. And there -- if anything, there was more criticism of what was going on than there was affirmation.


LUIS RODRIGUEZ: Even more so.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH: To me, I don't think there was a knee-jerk reaction with the war in Iraq. I think it was planned. It was poorly planned. There was not an understanding of what was going to go on there.

But what it comes back to every time is, what makes America safer? Does a war in Iraq make America safer? Does the war in Afghanistan? Perhaps that did. That made sense to me, as an Arab-American. I can tell you, most of the Arab-American community, I think, was in favor of going after the terrorists who had attacked our country.

The war in Iraq is a different thing to me. It's completely different.

And I can tell you, I want America to be safe, because, when there's an attack by some radical person who happens to be an Arab or a Muslim, it makes the life of the average American who -- Arab-American who lives here who is not involved much more difficult on a daily basis.

JIM LEHRER: For you? For you? For...

DEAN OBEIDALLAH: For -- well, you know, not, I look pretty white. So, I get away with a lot.

But, for my cousins, my family, my fellow Arab-Americans, fellow Middle Eastern Americans, be they Muslim or Arab, even though the terms aren't interchangeable -- people use those terms as being the same -- they suffer a backlash here, not just from events in America, with the U.K. terror plot that got uncovered recently, or the Madrid, Spain, bombing, or the bombing in the subway in London. We suffer here.

Sometimes, it goes beyond talking about fear. It's fear-mongering. It's hate-mongering. It's us being afraid of the brown guy out there at the airport, or when he's walking around, or the guy with an accent.

JIM LEHRER: Go ahead.

REVEREND RICHARD LAND: Well, I think that we all experienced 9/11 and the aftermath, and I think we all were encouraged by the aftermath and the sense of unity that we felt.

But it really papered over some deep divisions in this country. And they are deep divisions. And we need to acknowledge them. And what we need to do is to get them on the table and to talk about them in responsible ways.

REVEREND JAMES FORBES: And the time to do that is now.

We have had five years, and we have looked at what the results have been from our first response to 9/11. I think we need to say, not everything they tried worked. Is there anything else we can do to move ourselves beyond the polarization, into that which is going to heal our nation?

REVEREND RICHARD LAND: I agree with that, as long...

REVEREND JAMES FORBES: And I'm hoping that...

REVEREND RICHARD LAND: I agree with that, as long as we acknowledge the first of what you said. Not everything they tried worked.

But some of the things they tried did work, and we haven't been attacked. And I must tell you, I'm shocked. I'm shocked. Personally, I'm shocked that there has not been another successful attack on our soil in the last five years.

REVEREND JAMES FORBES: Well, I'm grateful that there has not been. But what I want to recognize is that, in this war thus far, we have come to recognize that military solutions alone will never bring us the security we want.

There has got to be the recovery of some spiritual and moral values deep down, across party lines. And that's why I think, maybe now that we have reached the five-year mark, let's look to see how do we recover the moral and spiritual values that will help sober us up.

And I like your word, Luis, about imagination, regarding how a new America addresses the new crisis in the globalized situation we live in.

JIM LEHRER: I just want to thank all of you for being here today, and for sharing your views, and your candidness.

And we look forward to doing it again some time.