11.7.07

Terror

Full article from Reason

By definition, the aim of "terrorism" is not to topple the U.S. government, or even to rack up a massive body count (though that seems to be a perk for them). The aim of terrorism is to cause terror. It's to scare us. Frighten us. Alter our way of life, and get our government to change its policies.

In this sense, the very people who are supposed to be protecting us from terrorists are playing right into the terrorists' hands. Despite the absence of any specific information, and despite the fact that his saying as much would do little if anything to actually thwart a pending attack, Chertoff still feels he has to go public with his "gut feeling" that something awful might happen this summer. And so the newspapers and Drudge and the blogs run with it. And now we get to go about our summer business with the foreboding cloud of a possible terror attack looming on the horizon.

Al-Qaeda doesn't actually have to kill people to cause terror, especially if we're doing their PR work for them. They don't need to actually land any body blows if we keep falling to the canvas every time they fake a punch. What if Chertoff's right? Maybe there will be an attack this summer. I hope not. But if there is, what purpose did this vague, scary warning serve, other than to frighten people?

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