"Oh my, getting on a US plane is so unpleasant with these new security measures. Truly, the terrorists have won."
I have seen the above statement made in a bunch of places, almost exclusively with regard to TSA security screening fiascos (link goes to the Bruce Schneier's extensive backscatter controversy summary). Mostly on Slashdot.
Each time I see it I have to rebut it individually, but I'm tired of that, so here it is once and for all.
The terrorists have not won, because the goal of "the terrorists" is not to give you a hard time at airport security. The terrorists don't care how long it takes you to get on a plane, or whether you are allowed to take liquids or sharps with you. The terrorists don't care about invasive body scans and searches, be they electromagnetic or physical. They don't care about seeing you naked.
They don't care about your freedom (if they did, the Statue of Liberty would have been the target). Then don't even care that it makes it harder for them to get on the plane.
Get over yourself. This is not about you.
What was the motive for 9/11? United States foreign policy in the Middle East. This is what the perpetrators themselves claimed.
What was the goal of 9/11? It wasn't "kill thousands of people". Terrorism is a distinct methodology from supervillainy. "Killing and frightening people" is, by definition, the means, not the end. The desired long-term outcome is much less clear-cut and I don't have the resources to answer that. Presumably, the goal was to effect a positive (from their perspective) change in US foreign policy, and presumably, what with the two wars launched in the wake of the attacks, the attacks failed catastrophically in this goal. If I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me in the comments below. I do know, though, that the reason why a suicide bomber kills himself may be different from the reason why his handler talks him into killing himself, and likewise at each step up the chain of command. And if I'm correct that these goals were not achieved, it may be reasonable to assume that further attacks might not even happen because of their disastrous negative effect.
So have the terrorists won? Maybe, but they have complicated and subjective victory conditions. Which don't concern you, personally, in any way.
You've still "lost", of course. Freedom and liberty and privacy and so on. But that's a different game entirely, between you and the airport people.
This discussion is closed.