TCS Daily – Killing Us Softly

My latest for TCS Daily, “Killing Us Softly” (original title: “Terrorists Win Even When they Lose”) is up.

The lede:

The news that Scotland Yard managed to foil a terrorist attack that would have conceivably dwarfed the 9/11 attacks is not quite as good it might first appear. Certainly, the prevention of “mass murder on an unimaginable scale” is something for which we can be tremendously thankful. Still, our reaction to it has already furthered the terrorists’ aims.

The rest at the link. Read it and comment here and/or there.

FILED UNDER: Published Elsewhere, Terrorism, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    James, I agree with you 100%. We have to strike a balance between security and common sense. Overreaction will ensure that we lose more of our freedom and the terrorists, in the end, will have won. Let’s see how long the new restrictions last, or will they be permanent? I don’t want any more “feel good” figleaf security measures. I’m also glad I don’t travel as much as I used to.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Makes a good companion piece with what I wrote yesterday.

    I think you’re underestimating the costs a little, James. My back-of-the-envelope calc shows something a little closer to $1 trillion over 5 years. That includes the direct costs and the incremental security costs.

    What too many seem to forget is that affirmative response is a political necessity. The clamor to do something is inescapable after a successful terrorist attack. And a lot of something’s are inevitably wasteful and counterproductive.

  3. JKB says:

    I don’t think altering how we do something to improve security after some nut thinks up a new way to threaten us is losing. The problem is there is not a will to make the big changes. Most airport terminals are remnants from the ’50s and ’60s and are not designed for security. They are rather a hodgepodge of hurried implementations. Almost all should be razed and new systems with build designed for flexibility and security.

    Instead we get civic interference and some architect more interested in impressing the magazines than getting people from the parking lot to the planes. That things will change and some will be inconvenienced is inevitable. Let’s open up the airport system to private operation and not punish airlines who choose to operate out of those airports designed to facilitate air travel rather than one the result of some politicians pandering.