Whoever the terrorists are, they won
America is a super proud country. We like to think of ourselves as being the biggest and baddest nation on the planet. We get nervous when other countries do anything better than us. ANYTHING. We constantly want to be the best at all sports, the best at coming up with new technologies, and we are scared out of our minds that other countries are catching up to us in terms of national wealth.
Pride isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we take it to the extreme. For example, Independence Day was on TV the other day. I’ve seen that movie a kablillion (actually not actually a real number) times, but something caught my attention in the last half hour. Jeff Goldblum had just revealed his plan to infect the alien mother ship computer with a virus. The US then took to telegraph machines to tell the rest of the world. And in every scene of another country deciphering the telegraph, it looked like everyone, EVERYONE, in the entire world was helpless until the Americans came up with a plan. No one could come up with a single idea, except us. You want a real life example? We put a freakin American flag on the moon. The MOON! We pretty much claimed the moon as the 51st state. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what I’m talking about. It’s subtle, and maybe even a bit nondescript, but it’s pride.
…Which brings me to terrorism. For as long as I can remember, terrorism has been a thing. But ever since that Tuesday in 2011, it’s been THE thing. Our mission since then has been to wipe out terrorism. We’ve chosen to chase it down, wherever it may be (despite how general and obscure the idea of terrorism is), whatever it may look like (as long as it impedes us from getting oil), and kill it dead. We swear up and down that we won’t let the terrorists win, and just after 9/11 we instituted that color code thing that tells us just how terrified we should be on a given day. We’ve completely revamped the process of air travel to keep us safe from all those terrorists that need 4.7 oz of fluid to make a bomb instead of the 3.2 oz we’re allowed on the plane. In fact, you can’t even say “bomb” on a plane without being arrested immediately.
Whether we admit it or not, we’re afraid. And if a terrorists job is to inflict terror, then they win. Need more proof? Recently, Sony Pictures was hacked as a result of that
incredibly stupid and unfunny looking movie called The Interview. There have been threats made for any theater that airs the movie, and as a result of five major theaters refusing to show it, Sony has decided to cancel it.
Say what you will, but we live in a constant state of “I hope they don’t get us again”. Over the course of 12 years, we’ve killed the heads of a bunch of terrorists groups only to have people that hate us just as much take their places. None of those groups are really that big in comparison to us. At no point was their aim to destroy us; that’s not really possible. Their aim is to make us hurt. To make us second guess ourselves. To make our knees buckle at the thought of another 9/11. If you ask me, they won.