The terrorists have accomplished their mission

Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. … Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror) (Wikipedia)

Right after 9/11, I flew to Australia for a vacation I had been planning for almost a year. Many people asked me if I was afraid to fly and implied that I should have stayed home, close to family and friends. I replied that if I had stayed home, the terrorists would have won.

Unfortunately, my government does not agree with my definition of winning. They think that living in fear and trying desperately to keep us all 100% safe while flying is the most effective way to fight terrorism. It reminds me of a boss that told me he liked it when people lived in fear of being fired, they worked harder. I told him being fired held no fear for me. When you live in fear, you do irrational things – like sending millions of people’s shoes through an xray scanner every day.

The terrorists that used planes as bombs on September 11, 2001 have changed our lives forever. Now I spend hours each month standing in line waiting to be closely inspected and treated as a potential terrorist myself. I buy shampoo in small bottles. I buy special bags to get though security faster. My life and our economy has been fundamentally changed by those terrorists. Not because it needed to change in response to their actions but because we choose to let them create irrational fear in us. We allowed them to terrorize us.

I had to watch my older son fight back tears at the airport as his bags were taken, all his toys were examined by a stranger and his bag was searched for explosive residue. And I had to answer his questions about why they were doing this and why I was letting them.

Today I read that the TSA will now tell children that groping them is a game. Terrorists, through a series of acts in one day 9 years ago, are now causing our children to be sexually molested when we travel. Having a stranger touch your genitals is not a game unless you are both consenting adults.

We need to grow up, crawl out from underneath the bed, trust each other and fight back. We need to carry our fingernail clippers and our knives on the airplane again. We need to give up the charade that we can be stripped of everything that can be a weapon. We need to fight back with intelligence, not fear. Invest all the money that is going into scanners and use it to fight terrorists not travelers.

Remove TSA from the airport process. Let airlines decide how to run security for their flights and let travelers vote with their money for the type of security they want.

Take the money you were using to fund TSA and fight terrorists. Fight terrorists in a much smarter, more targeted fashion. And while you are at it, think beyond weapons as planes. I certainly think the terrorists are thinking beyond planes at this point. But that tactic sure worked well for them!

15 Replies to “The terrorists have accomplished their mission”

  1. People agreeing: 100%
    Please acting: 0-1% max

    Great write, yet useless. Everyone will agree but no one will act.

    As a side note: You completely disregard terrorism as an idea, which is much more fundamental and dangerous than physical terrorism (it is the source, after all). To fight those ideas, we will have to leave our beliefs and principles behind for a while, and get really violent – socially, economically, etc… even physically – with those people until they get enough “beating” that they give it up.

    I had to deal with such behavior during college (in Egypt), especially with Muslims, and I came to the conclusion that they believe that your human rights are up to them to decide, and thanks to the lack of education (ie, the Arabic world and the middle east) and poverty, it is a crime to be out of the norm.

    Now try fighting that back sweetheart, with patience and tolerance (which is what Europe is going for, from what I can see), it just doesn’t work, they count on your tolerance to act. Europeans will find out sooner or later that they got screwed. I tried, more than once. But for me, that’s it, I’m not tolerating any fucked up behavior from those people.

    Anyways, you probably won’t get most of what I’m talking about. You have to experience it yourself to get to where I am now.

    1. I don’t know which World do you live in, but what we’ve seen in every 3rd world country is terrorism of USA, UK and Israel.
      We aren’t living in fear like you, we’re living in wars. People are dying while you’re afraid.
      You’re talking about a demonization of a culture.
      Let the truth be known.

  2. I wish more Americans would see things the way you do. It saddens me how Americans are trashing their country, and it’s a country that had so much potential.

  3. “Sweetheart”? That’s not called for.

    The more that our “safety” takes on comical (shoe X-raying) and now illegal (unlawful search and seizure, physical abuse) qualities, the more I want a ten-year-anniversary 9/11 report that takes the laws of physics into consideration. Without such a document, this all looks more and more like a carefully-crafted scam to put tax dollars into the hands of the traditional military industrial complex and a new generation of security vendors.

  4. After 9/11, and even before 9/11 was over, we (airline passengers) decided to no longer give hijackers free reign as was the case before. We became willing to fight (and in the case of Flight 93, die) to keep hijackers from taking control of the plane.

    That was the logical response to 9/11. And in fact almost every case of terrorism-in-air has been prevented not by the security theater that terrorizes your child, but by the vigilance of fellow passengers.

    Why can’t people just accept this as the lesson of 9/11? Box cutters were *not* the problem.

  5. I think as long as there is money to be made (TSA Bureaucracy, post-security food and drinks, naked scanner companies), the ludicrousness will continue.

    But even though it occasionally takes on distressingly partisan tones, i’m heartened by the continuing discussion. The liquid ban’s uproar lasted all of a week, and the shoe x-ray barely elicited a peep that i heard when it started.

    Unfortunately, the responses i’ve gotten from writing my various governcritters have assumed that it’s all about the naked scanners and groping, and haven’t talked about the Cult of Fear 🙁

  6. Hey,

    Thank you so much! This is exactly what I think about all this terrorism lie going on.

    If they kill me they killed a person! – nothing more. if they frighten the whole country up to a point where the main task of the government is to collect money for war (killing people) they made the country the terrorists and the terrorists just won (whoever that is)!
    So lets spread the information about warcrimes! lets spread the idea of peace and stop being so god damn frightened.

  7. I think USA should go to maximum with the security and stop all outside traveling until they find bin laden in Afghanistan and when they will find out that he ain’t there they should really start searching for those nuclear weapons that Iran is building which are similar to those of Iraq only nuclear (Saddam’s ware biological :)) and then after all the DANGER is gone if americans won’t become them selfs terrorists they can reopen the borders.

    I’m sure The Kelley’s were impressed by the 9/11 “terrorist”. although they won’t say anything because they envy them.

  8. {sarcasm}
    Just get on with murdering Julian Assange (Mr WikiLeaks). That will stop all the terrorism.

  9. Stripping your rights for starters.
    Unconstitutional search and seizures as a side.
    Funnelling your tax dollars into the millitary industrial complex for mains
    And finally a good show of security theatre to make you scared enough to be complaint for desert.

    Welcome to the United Plutocratic Dictatorship of Amerika. Enjoy your stay.

  10. Generally agreed, except that the terrorists have most certainly *not* accomplished their mission. I rather suspect they want much more chaos than mere disruption of flying (even if it’s incessant), if terror is all they desire. But it’s not: terror is merely a means to solve a different problem, which for America happens to be that they don’t like details (perhaps details is an understatement) of our foreign policy. But those details as concern them haven’t really changed all that much: we still generally support Israel, we still assert ourselves in the Middle East, we still aren’t letting them return to Taliban rule in Afghanistan, we’re still assisting in Iraq as needed, and so on. So the terrorists, in some ways, are winning some battles, but they are consistently losing the ones they really care about, and they’re losing the overall war *as they define it* as a result.

    1. > they’re losing the overall war *as they define it* as a result.

      Supposedly OBL said back in 2001 that his goal was to draw the USA into a war to bankrupt it–basically the same thing they did to the USSR. Are they losing?

      1. Is Osama bin Laden a trustworthy actor whose words always have the ring of truth? Or might he mislead, dissemble, or even lie if it advanced his goals? I am unwilling to take what he says at face value.

        TSA over-spending will not bankrupt the US. Nor, even, will two overseas contingency operations do so. Fiscal woes owe themselves in the short term to higher spending overall (plus new programs like Medicare Part D) and in the long term to entitlement spending and growth in that spending. War spending doesn’t help, certainly, but it’s not quite the massive proportion of debt it’s made out to be. (And do you really think that money would have gone unspent if it were not spent on wars? To paraphrase one economist, politicians will spend every penny they get, then as many more as they can.) Finally, I do believe we have the fortitude to cut when necessary to continue doing the things we believe worth doing.

        Can you clarify who “they” binds to? My first thought was to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but it’s also plausible it binds to “the USA”.

        1. Jeff Walden writes, “Fiscal woes owe themselves in the short term to higher spending overall (plus new programs like Medicare Part D) and in the long term to entitlement spending and growth in that spending. War spending doesn’t help, certainly, but it’s not quite the massive proportion of debt it’s made out to be.”

          It’s always interesting to see how quick people can be to point out spending on things like health and social programmes when military spending is questioned, as if the former is some kind of undesirable black hole, while the latter is somehow essential “to protect the nation’s interests”. Of course, Iraq and Afghanistan expenditure was off the Federal book for the best part of a decade, so maybe the military bill dwarfs the budget for giving people a decent quality of life (or at least trying to do so) – something which every civilised society should be trying to do.

          “And do you really think that money would have gone unspent if it were not spent on wars?”

          That’s an interesting point. While America was working to put men on the moon, it was also shovelling money into the futile Vietnam campaign. Would it not have been more worthwhile spending money on sustaining the Apollo programme and transitioning to follow-up programmes? The trick is always to have something to show for your expenditure.

          “Can you clarify who “they” binds to?”

          It’s obvious that the question is this: are the terrorists losing? When the US has to sustain a sizeable military presence in several locations, it is not only spending a substantial sum of money doing so, but since it has to consume large amounts of things like petroleum, a lot of money is being channelled towards people who will quite gladly fund opponents of the US.

          So, the US is not only funding its own efforts, but it is also indirectly funding its opponents. To bankrupt the US, then, is best attempted by keeping the US playing the game – there doesn’t even need to be another superpower involved this time around.

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