CNN Shares Responsibility for the Fear-Mania of the GOP Debate – The Atlantic

Let’s start with the First Rule of Terrorism, which this era’s attackers either know instinctively or have learned. That rule is: The purpose of terrorism is not to kill or maim or destroy.For the attackers, such crimes are merely tactics, on the way to a different goal, which is to terrorize. The strategic ambition is to use attacks and atrocities to change people’s emotions and arouse their fears. The aim is to make strong societies feel desperate and helpless, and to make objectively very small threats seem subjectively very large. (Nearly 100 Americans die each day from gunshots. The horrific gunshot deaths of 14 people in San Bernardino, a few hours’ toll at normal rates, have the potential to change the country’s domestic politics and international policies.) With enough provocation, eventually a strong society may lose its sense of proportion and understanding of its long term interests and instead take some panicky self-destructive step. (See: War in Iraq, origins of.)

-James Fallows

Source: CNN Shares Responsibility for the Fear-Mania of the GOP Debate – The Atlantic