That a small band of dedicated zealots could accomplish this in the 21st century against the only global superpower speaks to the ease with which we, meaning people living in what are supposed to be "advanced" countries, can be diverted from all things important and led down a narrow path that is ultimately self-defeating. We cut spending on education while boosting what we call “homeland security”. How shortsighted is that? Where do we think “security” comes from?
Should we ignore threats from ideologues, bigots and fanatics who see us as a threat to all they hold dear? Of course not. Do we need to better understand what motivates their hatred, learn the history of that region and the role western powers have played over the last hundred years or so? That would be a huge step in the right direction. Ultimately, once we’re done rejoicing at the death of bin Laden we need to take a good look at what this war of conflicting values has cost and soberly assess what has been won – and what has been lost. Our leaders have said the death of the man has not meant the death of his ideology. Others will likely follow. The experience of the British, Russians and Americans has been that the more we bomb the “bad guys”, the more bad guys there are to bomb. Perhaps we can develop a more rational and effective strategy?