"Think about the optics," he said, "You had a billion dollar warship nearly sank, with 17 Americans killed. You had the United States not doing anything publicly about it. Bin Laden and al-Qaida were able to issue a series of videotapes crowing about their achievement. So, if I'm an impressionable young man who aspires to conduct jihad, and I see what al-Qaida did and they weren't held responsible, hell yeah, I'm going to go toward them. And that, in effect, is what happened."
On October 12, 2000 I was sitting in an airport, waiting to fly to Great Lakes, IL for my first day of Navy Boot Camp when I saw this on TV. Even though I wasn’t yet a sailor, it still royally pissed me off. I thought for sure we’d get the bastards who had done it.
It’s a shame that we didn’t see this as the act of war that it was and instead treated it as a criminal matter. It might have saved a lot of lives later on if we had decided then to oust the Taliban for harboring Bin Laden.