Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University


The recent terror attempt in the skies over Detroit by a Nigerian passenger who attempted to detonate an explosive device on an airplane brought back memories of other terrorist attacks: Richard Reid, the unsuccessful shoe bomber; the attack on the USS Cole, and, looming over everything else, September 11th. After the horrific events in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., a bipartisan commission was created to identify the failures that prevented us from stopping that attack. The 9/11 Commission concluded that the greatest failure was our utter lack of imagination. Leaders at many different levels simply could not imagine the size, scope, and focus of these attacks. Malcolm Gladwell noted that same failure in a review of a book about military history: “In Military Misfortunes, the historians Eliot Cohen and John Gooch offer, as a textbook example of this kind of failure of imagination and adaptation, the British-led invasion of Gallipoli in 1915. Cohen and Gooch ascribe the disaster at Gallipoli to a failure to adapt—a failure to take into account how reality did not conform to their expectations. And behind that failure to adapt was a deeply psychological problem: the British simply couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact that they might have to adapt.”