Michael van der Galien

Terrorism Works, Even When It Doesn’t

Posted on January 8 2010 5:55 am
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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September 11, of course, was the most successful and devastating such attack in the history of modern terrorism, but the casualties it inflicted went beyond thousands of dead and physical destruction, as they were calculated to do. The economic repercussions were also massive. The airline industry, the tourist trade, the Nasdaq, oil prices, and the export and import enterprise were all profoundly affected. If the “London three” had succeeded in their plot to bring down a veritable fleet of airliners over the Atlantic within minutes of one another, the death toll would have been horrendous. At the same time, important sectors of the market would have imploded and the livelihoods of numberless people around the world would have been ruinously impacted. Losing one’s job is a lot better than losing one’s life, but such theoretical consolation eventually wears thin for those struggling to make ends meet.

Nevertheless, a terrorist attack that doesn’t come off will still have an explosive effect. Nigerian terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab may have been as incompetent (or unlucky) as Richard Reid the shoe bomber in failing to detonate Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day, though not for lack of trying. But he also initiated a ripple effect throughout the world as security measures at airports everywhere were instantly beefed up, causing long delays, canceled flights, the installation of embarrassing screening techniques, and the increasing reluctance of travelers to fly in the first place. Scumbags like Reid and Abdulmutallab did not succeed in bringing down an airliner, yet they or their imitators may ultimately succeed in bringing down an airline.

Read the whole thing at Pajamas Media.

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