I know what you’re thinking. “God, he’s not one of those 9/11 truthers, is he?” Actually, the truthers believe it was a terrorist attack. I don’t think any government (especially the United States government) is competent enough to pull of such a job and still keep the information hidden for a decade. I’m just arguing semantics here, so bear with me.
Terrorism is defined by the tactic of using the fear of your opponent to get what you want. Hence the word, “terror” right in the word. The utilisation of fear is a requisite for terrorism.
Violence, unlike fear, is not a requisite for terrorism but, if it’s to be used, it’s likely to either be followed or preceded by demands. Typically, when one uses violence in terrorism, one makes a small attack first, and then promises a larger attack (or progressively larger attacks) unless demands are met. Sometimes, one makes the demand first before ever attacking. In the most entertaining scenario, one sets up their violent situation and promises to defuse it if demands are met in time. This is the least practical and, ergo, the least used, but it’s the most entertaining so it’s the one most often seen in films. These are not the only ways to use terrorism, but if you’re blowing up buildings as a terrorist act, chances are, you’re using one of these three methods.
Unlike the United States response to them, the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in 2001 did not have the fear requisite to classified as terrorism. President Bush would have you believe that there hasn’t been another attack since then because of his retaliatory tactics. This is simply not true. There hasn’t been another attack since then because the first one got the job done. If it were terrorism, the next thing the American public would have heard back would have been demands. But, alas, the next thing the American people heard back was the claim of victory. And why is that?
Because the attacks were a success. By attacking the World Trade Centre, the central location for financial matters in the United States, they made about as big a hit to the economy as an attack of violence could pull off. By attacking the Pentagon, they angered the military. America, in their all feeling and no thinking attitude that they are wont to possess, decided to get involved in not one, but two middle east wars, thus reversing the budget surplus and sinking the national debt to unprecedented levels. And, that was exactly the goal of Al Qaeda. Don’t believe me? Go back and see their claims of victory again. This is exactly what they had in mind when they made the attacks. They won.
In hindsight for everyone else (but complete foresight for me), it seems a better response to the attacks would be to secretly deploy half a dozen CIA operatives covertly in Afghanistan and Pakistan to secretly and silently assassinate Osama bin Laden. Far fewer resources, far less show of bravado, and without destroying the economy. Al Qaeda would have lost if only the U.S. government had listened to me back in 2001.
Of course, I’m not too sure this is really that much of a loss. Yes, hundreds of thousands have died since then around the world, and that can’t be reversed. But some good may come of this. America’s attitude shifted in a major way that day, and with it, the American people started to slowly catch on what they’ve really been up to since the civil war. The sloppy way the United States handled the 11 September, 2001 attacks may ultimately be their undoing. And that would bring a silver lining to these very dark clouds.