Eight years ago, the world rallied to our side. "Nous sommes tous Americans"—We are all Americans—read the headlines in French newspapers. Could different leadership have brought the world together to address the core issues that feed terrorist hatred or that create the conditions in which it flourishes? Would Muslim extremists find recruits or an audience if the world regarded Western nations as kind, benevolent and generous rather than as selfish, materialist consumers?
I guess the hardest question of all on this anniversary is this: Did we end up with the leaders we really deserve? I know that true transformation must begin within. Tragedies can be the motivator to change, or they can reinforce our defensiveness. Which one happens is always our toughest choice.