On Christmas an al-Qaeda affiliate launched an operation using one person, with no special target, and a failed technique tried eight years ago by “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. The plot seems to have been an opportunity that the group seized rather than the result of a well-considered strategic plan. A Nigerian fanatic with (what appeared to be) a clean background volunteered for service; he was wired up with a makeshift explosive and put on a plane. His mission failed entirely, killing not a single person. The suicide bomber was not even able to commit suicide. But al-Qaeda succeeded in its real aim, which was to throw the American system into turmoil. That’s why the terror group proudly boasted about the success of its mission.
Is there some sensible reaction between panic and passivity? [continued…]
Editor’s Comment — We have a saccharine view of life where normal is supposed to mean safe and destiny stretches towards a happy ending. In reality, life is like a minefield where success means you make it all the way to the far side — and then step on a mine. To sanely accommodate this fact within consciousness requires acquiring a certain amount of comfort in the face of danger. There’s a difference between not feeling afraid and feeling safe.
An appropriate response to terrorism on an individual and national level has more to do with cultivating the right attitude than in perfecting security procedures. The procedures are necessary but they should not be portrayed as the core response.
Until America demonstrates that it cannot be easily terrorized, the attacks will keep on coming. The attackers are not lured by security loopholes, they are drawn by our own fear.