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Last Updated: Monday, 11 September 2006, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
US media focus on 9/11 aftermath
Dawn breaks over Ground Zero on 11 September 2006
The attacks led to the "war on terror" - but has it lost focus?

US newspapers have been marking the fifth anniversary of the 11 September attacks.

But rather than concentrating on the loss at the time, most prefer to focus on the consequences, in particular whether the US can now consider itself a safer place.

The Boston Globe asks "How safe a world?" after 9/11.

While saying the Bush administration "deftly handled the campaign to topple the Taleban" it adds that the "long war against the insurgency in Iraq has further inflamed Mid-East opinion against the United States without enhancing US security".

The New York Times says the war on terror appears to be "stuck".

On one hand, it says, the White House warns of the dire consequences of pulling out of Iraq, while critics call the situation there impossible.

"They are almost certainly both right. But unless people on both sides are willing to come up with a plan that acknowledges both truths and accepts the risk of making real-world proposals, we will be stuck in the same place forever."

USA Today says it is painfully clear the war on terror "has lost the focus it had".

Its editorial says the "mishandled" war in Iraq "has proved to be a devastating blunder".

Policymakers can easily stray from giving the threat of terrorism the attention and resources it deserves
Orlando Sentinel

"The administration's questionable approaches have ranged from a tolerance for torture to a 'my way or the highway' attitude to much of the world. That has to change, and alliances must be rebuilt - something that has been handled better in Bush's second term."

Christopher Hitchens, writing in the Wall Street Journal, questions whether there was a US "loss of innocence" on 11 September 2001.

"Anyone who lost their 'innocence' on September 11 was too naive by far or too stupid to begin with," he writes.

He says the US has to "become more ruthless and more experienced" and says it is an "unspoken advantage" that US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are now learning the tactics needed to take on "the worst imaginable enemy".

"These are faculties that we shall be needing in the future."

The LA Times complains that the "rawness" of 11 September 2001 has dissipated.

"Washington's trivialising war-on-terror rhetoric has become tedious background chatter, not unlike the stream of terrorist chatter officials shrugged off before 9/11," its editorial reads.

It says what distinguishes the US from its enemies should be "the vitality of our society and the openness of our culture. That's a message that needs reinforcing in the years ahead".

The Orlando Sentinel criticises policymakers who "can easily stray from giving the threat of terrorism the attention and resources it deserves".

It points to officials diverting funds from an explosives detection programme and failures in the Department of Homeland Security to spend allocated research money.

It writes: "On the anniversaries of 9/11, the nation will always come together to share its grief and honour the fallen. But it mustn't turn away from the terrorism threat facing the US all the days in between."

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