I am Optimism Man — but I will admit that I wavered toward the dark side of pessimism in 2003.
I was asked for a prediction of how much time America had before the next terrorist “large scale” event. At that time, I said that it would probably happen within 3 – 5 years — it was difficult to imagine that we could mount a truly effective war on terror that would prevent it over the longer term. After all, terrorists hide mostly mixed in with the common people, in common and crowded places, in many cities in many countries. The U.S. military is unstoppable when facing a conventional army within the borders of a conventional country, but this game is far different and far more sinister.
Today, we have proof that optimism, action, and resolve can accomplish the extraordinary. Ten years have passed and our vigilence and determination have kept what seemed inevitable from happening. America has not had to suffer another huge blow that kills thousands in spectacular fashion. Nor has Europe, or Asia. These last ten years are incredible proof that we should always remain optimistic, no matter the odds. What seemed impossible in early 2003 has turned out to be possible.
Sincere thanks to our leadership, our military, our intelligence communities, our law enforcement professionals, and our allies for all you do. We are reminded every day that freedom isn’t free. Thank you for all you do — it gives us great reason to believe and to be optimistic. I am sorry that I doubted in 2003, but I have been taught a great lesson just the same.
Today, we still face a determined and sinister enemy. We are also confronted with difficult challenges including the economy, the jobs outlook, the political impasse, teetering foreign banks and economies in a highly interconnected and somewhat fragile global finance network, and of course the quickly growing U.S. deficit. But, all of this seems more manageable and even winnable, compared to the challenges we did manage to overcome in the last ten years.
I.M. Optimism Man