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How the Terrorists Won

November 3rd, 2004 · No Comments

It’s a pretty simple equation. The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize in order to change people’s behavior. To scare people. When people start making major decisions based on acts of terror, the object of the terrorist has been accomplished.

Could be any major change in behavior, I don’t know, say, the election of the most powerful leader in the world (next to Osam Bin Ladin, of course, because you just gave him the power too, you realize? Even if he’s dead, he beat you.).

Pretty much all of the pre-election polls said that the economy was not going in the direction people wanted it to, that they were the same or worse off than they were four years ago, that they were not satisfied with the direction the country was going, and we were about fifty-fifty on whether we should be at war in Iraq at all, but 62% of the people thought the war in Iraq was being mis-handled. Yet Bush won. How is that possible?

The one issue where Bush consistently polled better than Kerry was in the war on terror. Because he told us that he would do a better job. And here’s where Osama got your vote: you believed that the war on terror was, in the final analysis, the most important issue of the campaign. You were frightened enough to vote based on fear of terrorism.

And here’s the kicker, the states that went for Bush are the last that will ever have a terrorist attack. The only terrorist attack that ever happened in a red state was perpetrated by a right-wing redneck from Michigan, not some international Muslim mastermind.

No one disputes that the attacks on 9/11 were tragic, and scary, and that seeing three thousand people lose their lives is horrifying, but if it’s fear of being killed that motivates you, take these figures into account:

In 2001, while 3028 Americans died from terrorist acts….

922,334 died of heart disease 156,058 died of lung cancer 42,443 died from auto accidents 38,784 died from kidney failure 32,238 died of septicemia (that’s right, general infections) 29,573 died from firearms (16,869 suicides, 11,348 homicides, 802 accidents, 323 police) 27,035 died of liver failure brought on by alcoholism 21, 683 died from drug reactions 15,019 fell to their deaths 14,078 died of accidental poisoning

That’s right, you have a nearly five times better chance of poisoning yourself than you do of being killed by terrorists. Would you have voted for Nader if he’d promised you syrup of ipecac, activated charcoal, and a skull and crossbones on every scary bottle, despite the fact that he’s a certified loon? Well, you did it with Bush. You voted for Osama. He scared you and you voted.

Even if it was determined that you had to die this year, the chances of the causes of death being a terrorist attack is less than 1/100th of 1% . If your tag isn’t up for sure, if you’re in the mortality tables with the rest of us, your chances of being killed by terrorists are less than 1/1,000th of 1%, or, about one in every 87,000 people, and that’s based on the year of the worst terrorist attack in American History! (In any normal year the odds are about 1 in 100million, and that’s only if you count getting your head cut off in Iraq.)

So what in the hell were you so afraid of, that you allowed the biggest political decision you were ever going to make, to be swayed by a terrorist? Shame on you.

Time and again I’ve heard the born again conservative, Dennis Miller, end his descriptions of world events and conditions with, “and it scares the hell out of me.” It’s his number one rational for turning into a Bush toady, yet I can’t help but think, “Here’s a guy who I used to admire, who obviously has a head on his shoulders, yet by his own admission, will kow tow to an administration who only a few years ago he satirized and criticized, because now he is afraid.” The cowardice disgusts me.

So how about a suggestion for those of you who felt that the tough-talking cowboy would better protect you against the renally challenged Islamic tunnel rat than an actual combat veteran? The damage of this election is done, but here’s an idea for what you, personally, can do to fight the war on terrorism.


Instead of picking the guy who turned his boat into machine gun fire and charged the enemy, you picked as your protector the cheerleader who hid out in Alabama, so I’m at a loss as to your definition of courage, but just try the whole, “don’t be afraid” experiment. Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s carrying on in the face of fear. It’s power over fear. Try it.

You got your guy, now grow a set, for Christ’s sake. The sweater on the chair is just a friggin’ sweater. You fucked up the country and possibly the world for the rest of us, the least you could do is have the courtesy to not sleep with the light on.

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