Vol. 55, No. 4

In this edition

by LOU ZICKAR With the Taliban once again in control of Afghanistan and America marking the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, The Ripon Forum examines “The Lessons of 9/11” and what has been learned — and not learned — from that tragic and fateful day.


On September 11, 2001, 10 members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for breakfast at the Pentagon. This is their story.

We Cannot Create a Safe Haven For Terrorists

President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan allows, and even accelerates, the nation returning to the conditions that permitted the 9/11 terrorist attack to happen in the first place.

We Cannot Be Complacent in the Face of New Threats

Twenty years after the horrific attacks of September 11th, we are once again facing an Afghanistan that will serve as a refuge and training ground for terrorists.

We Cannot Change the Past, but We Must Learn From It

The American people know that what happens over half a world away can have a direct impact on their safety. It happened on 9/11, and it can happen again.

We Must Always Honor Our Commitments to Our Allies and Friends

President Biden’s ill-advised, disorganized, and dishonorable flight from Afghanistan makes America less safe, and raises questions about our resolve and credibility around the world.

We Must Never Again Underestimate Our Enemy

We downplayed the threat of terrorism 20 years ago and Americans paid the price with their lives. This is a mistake that we cannot repeat if we hope to prevent future attacks.

We Need to Be Unified Against All Threats, Both Foreign and Domestic

America came together in the weeks and months following 9/11, and we need to do the same in the face of continuing threats overseas and increasing threats here at home.

Measuring the Effectiveness of the War on Terror

Are we eliminating more terrorists than are being created? Unfortunately, no one seems to know.

From Unity After 9/11 to the Threat of Homegrown Terror Today

by JAVED ALI The terrorist threat in America has evolved in a way that seemed unimaginable 20 years ago.

Preparing for the Next Biological Threat

Despite the threat, funding for some of our key biodefense initiatives overseas atrophied.

Ripon Profile of August Pfluger

The first-term Congressman from Texas’s 11th District discusses his service in the military, his new career on Capitol Hill, and how the attacks of September 11, 2001 affected both.

Ripon Profile of August Pfluger

Name: August  Pfluger

Occupation: Representative for Texas’s 11th Congressional District

Previous positions held: Currently a Colonel, U.S. Air Force Reserve, previously an F-22/F-15 pilot with 300+ combat hours and 2,000 flight hours, a Squadron Commander, an NSC Advisor, and a NATO officer.

Where were you on September 11, 2001? On 9/11, I was in Del Rio, Texas — one week away from graduating pilot training and entering the ranks of the US Air Force as the newest fighter pilot.

How did the 9/11 terrorist attacks shape your career in the military? 9/11 changed everything for the US Air Force. From that day on, the Air Force has been constantly deployed around the globe fighting against terrorism and deterring growing powers like China and Russia. I have been deployed all over the world in support of the security of our Nation as well as our allies and partners. This includes fighting against ISIS in Iraq/Syria, deterring Russia in Europe, and deploying multiple times to the Pacific to deter China. As a member of the National Security Council staff, I was able to draw upon these experiences to advise the President and keep our nation safe and secure.

What are the lessons of 9/11 that are shaping your career in Congress today? The attacks of 9/11 have imprinted upon me the fact that our freedom is not free. We must remain vigilant about assessing threats, and we must be willing to use every instrument of power to keep our country and our allies safe. Negotiating from a position of weakness or turning a blind eye to threats will only result in a less secure nation. 9/11 reminds me of how important it is to deter and defeat any and all threats before they reach our borders.