Giving the Terrorists What They Want
Bruce Schneier writes about how the U.S. is giving the terrorists what they want by reacting with fear.
I'd like everyone to take a deep breath and listen for a minute. The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act. And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want.
I made a similar argument here when discussing the London attacks and proposed racial profiling programs as a response.
Why do we need terrorists to destroy the cornerstones of democracy with bombs when governments are willing to do it themselves out of fear? Isn't that a sign that the terrorists have won? First the U.S. with its Patriot Act and warrantless NSA surveillance and now Britain, which is considering a new racial profiling program aimed at Muslims based on behavior, ethnicity, and religion.
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