What the terrorists want

August 28th, 2006

Bruce Schneier with a cooly reasoned take on the recent terror scares:

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.

One of the links debunking the liquid explosive plot is especially interesting.

On an airplane, the whole thing is ridiculous. You have nothing to cool the mixture with. You have nothing to control your mixing with. You can’t take a day doing the work, either. You are probably locked in the tiny, shaking bathroom with very limited ventilation, and that isn’t going to bode well for you living long enough to get your explosives manufactured

Schneier ends with instructions:

…our job is to remain steadfast in the face of terror, to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to not panic every time two Muslims stand together checking their watches … Our job is to think critically and rationally, and to ignore the cacophony of other interests trying to use terrorism to advance political careers or increase a television show’s viewership.

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