"Calling the 2000s 'the worst' may seem an overwrought label in a decade in which we fought no major wars, in historical terms. It is a sadly appropriate term for the families of the thousands of 9/11 victims and soldiers and others killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the lack of a large-scale armed conflict makes these past 10 years stand out that much more. This decade was as awful as any peacetime decade in the nation's entire history. Between the West's ongoing struggle against radical Islam and our recent near-death economic experience - trends that have largely skirted much of the developing world - it's no wonder we feel as if we've been through a 10-year gauntlet."