Sententiae viri ex temporibus duobus


I stand by my assertion that makes me hated by a certain person in Austin. I said, in November 2001, that I thought that, given that the goal of terrorism is to force a change in the way of life of the terrorized al-Qaeda etc. could be said to have “won”.

I was greeted by a harsh barrage of right-wing ideologue statements and an ad hominem for good measure, but I ask, how can it be otherwise? No terrorist organization has ever sought military victory (else they would be “an invading army” not “terrorists”, history gets written by the winners).

If a terrorist changes the culture of the terrorized, he has won. If he makes them live in fear, he wins, if he makes them afraid of their neighbors he wins. If he encourages them to weaken fundamental principles like _habeas corpus _ he wins. If he makes them register previously anonymous citizens he wins. If he polarizes the electoral debate, he wins.

Has the US mentality changed since 9/11 Have the terrorists, under this definition, “won.” I must sadly assert that I think so. Here’s the case that I think cinches my argument.

Jose Padilla, whatever else he is (loathsome, a traitor, etc.) is still one very important thing - a U.S. citizen subject to the protections of the bill of rights. It’s apparent that the Constitutional guarantees of habeas corpus and a speedy trial are not being carried out for this citizen.

Thus, the attacks quickened a policy and an administrational attitude that has allowed the executive branch to act counter to our founding documents. Sigh. Causing the enemy to undermine his philosophical foundation - how can this be anything but a victory for the enemy?