September 11th’s legacy: success for the terrorists, failure for the rest

Before you read this post, consider the following question: what do you think terrorists want to achieve with their actions?

Is the world a more dangerous place after 9/11? Perhaps. Now there are wars in Afghanistan (good idea) and Iraq (bad idea), which have increased (and will continue to increase) the polarisation between extremist muslims and liberal democratic governments. There will be more violence to come. But does that mean that citizens in the West should be afraid?

Whether or not they should be, they are. The CBC called the United States “a nation still bleeding from the wounds it suffered five years ago… and millions of Americans still live in fear.” Who is bleeding? American soldiers, prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and the families of the 9/11 victims. That’s it. The rest of the people have nothing to worry about. Yeah, there could be another terrorist attack, but there has only been one in the US in five years. Why are we so afraid of terrorism when all but the most irrational of us know we’re more likely to die of cancer, AIDS, car crashes, gunshots, heart attacks and anything else you can think of?

Now the Canadian and American governments are working hard to restrict everyone’s access to airlines, slowing down traffic across the border and using billions of dollars of public money in order to provide the illusion of security. Taking away our freedoms and money are backward ideas designed either to scare us more or make us safer from terrorist attacks, but there is no evidence we’re any safer. If you don’t think it’s all an illusion, answer me this: do you really think you couldn’t find a way to kill a bunch of people and scare everyone? Of course you could.

So we’re not much safer, in spite of all the freedoms taken away, all the money spent, all the racist suspicion and all the killing. Do you have an answer yet for my initial question? What do terrorists want to achieve? Terror! Well, congratulations Mr bin Laden et al., you are successful.