Terrorism Owns Us

“Terrorism” is not new.  Call it activism, rebellion, guerrilla warfare, resistance or the underground, combat by other than “conventional” means has been practiced for hundreds of years.

The power of what we’ve come to experience as terrorism is not a particular violent act, but the psychological effects of that act.  The physical devastation – primarily the loss of life – that was 9/11 was a precursor to true terrorism.  For months, even years, many were afraid to fly.  The mere sound of airplanes frightened folks.  We altered how we fly and changed forever the once simple act of getting on an airplane.  The “shoe bomber,” though unsuccessful, dictated to a nation that its airline passengers must now take off their shoes before they are considered non-risks.

In warfare, the same tactic is used.  A single mine in a large harbor will shut down sea traffic for days until the entire area can be swept.  That one mine doesn’t even have to explode, just become known, and shipments will come to a halt.

ONE submarine spotted in home or international waters will alter sea lanes and create panic among shippers.

So it is with today’s terrorism.  Over eight years after September 11, 2001, we still look over our collective shoulders and worry.  There is a national paranoia that grips us and, well, terrorizes us.

It doesn’t matter if there has been a terrorist “attack” on our soil since then or not.  As long as we get reminders – the “shoe” bomber, the “underwear” bomber, raids on cells, bin Laden videos, etc. – we will continue to live under the grimy thumb of terrorism.

It doesn’t matter if we cleanse Iraq, contain Iran, flatten Afghanistan or neutralize al Qaeda, terrorism owns America at least for the remainder of our generation.

It owns us because it made us change.  It scared us and it continues to do so.

The Kaiser didn’t change us, neither did Adolf Hitler.  But al Qaeda did.  Oh, we stood together in a very American, jingoistic way immediately after the towers and the Pentagon attacks, but too many in positions of influence were/are weak and couldn’t stand the pressure of fear.

They waffled, they denied, they apologized to the rapist.  And in doing so, gave up another victory to terrorism.

I don’t believe our campaign in Afghanistan will result in removing al Qaeda or terrorism as threats to American security or national interests.  The best we can do is establish a very high price for challenging that security and those interests.

But we’ll never undo the scar.


2 thoughts on “Terrorism Owns Us

  1. Pingback: Terrorism Owns Us « The Political Inquirer

  2. I’m ready to rethink everything we’re doing world wide.

    We are playing policemen to the world and getting very little to zero help. There is no end in sight to the lives lost or damaged and the trillions of dollars in foreign welfare supplementing the defenses of other countries who could be no less grateful if they tried.

    We need to pull our troops home and make the rest of the world get more actively involved in their own defenses. It’s not only the right thing to do morally, it is the right thing to do legally in order to bring our foreign policy in line with the U.S. Constitution.

    We need to finally figure out that we’ve done enough–all that our military men can be expected to do–in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ve destroyed the enemies’ military forces, toppled their governments, destroyed their infrastructures. We have no obligation to do ANYTHING more if, as it is assumed, we had the right to go into those countries to begin with as the wronged parties.

    Unless we’re going to annex those countries, it is counter-productive and immoral to leave our troops perpetually occupying those countries as convenient targets. Every argument I’ve heard put forth as to why we can’t leave yet or why we’re still there means that we’ll be there forever by such logical contortions. If our goals are so ill defined that we can’t say we’ve accomplished the mission, there was no mission effectively defined to begin with.

    If we were to, upon every provocation against the security of our country, declare, wage, and end the war with the logical, legal means available to us rather than let such matters be milked by politicians for all the power, glory, and campaign contributions they can get, we’d be in and out of those countries in a matter of months with true successes to rack up for our country.

    By swift and sure retaliation and then leaving the countries to be fixed by the remainder of the population, we’d send a message to the world that we expect them to act as responsible adults and when they don’t we’ll hit them hard and leave them to rot in their own mess. We’ll also engender respect by various and sundry other cultures by showing that we will respect them enough to not stay indefinitely and allow them to be adults on their own without our interference to re-build and re-structure their country.

    That being said, if they do allow violence against our country again, we’ll do exactly the same thing as many times as necessary. The costs of the repeated invasions, especially in terms of casualties, would be many times cheaper than to attempt to stay in those countries and wage eternal, slow-boiling wars that benefit politicians and their corporate leeches as has been going on for many years now. It’s a sad state we’ve allowed the standing of our country’s military to descend to being mere mercenaries for money- and power hungry-politicians here at home and for money interests of mega-corporations from all over the world.


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