Lots of people made a lot of predictions and presumptions in the hours and days immediately following the attacks. Senator John Edwards had a particularly lousy appearance on Charlie Rose that night where he was made to look like a lightweight by the likes of fiction writer Tom Clancy. The President made a so-so speech to the nation on television. Later, through a bullhorn, he was inspiring and uplifting while speaking off the cuff to construction workers in the New York rubble. "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!"
My favorite opinion writer, John Derbyshire, wrote an article for National Review Online less than an hour after the attacks started. NRO reprinted it today and it holds up after three years as more accurate and important than ever.
Let nobody think that Americans are incapable of facing this foe and defeating him. Let nobody think that this country is any less able to "face the naked days" than she was in 1861, in 1917, in 1941 and 1950. We shall rise to this. We shall take our revenge. We shall absorb these blows, and strike back a hundred times harder. Let America's enemies crow today: Tomorrow they will tremble, and weep.