Maybe, maybe not. It does bear mentioning that the US economy isn't exactly in the best of shape right now, though, and even though the loss of the World Trade Centre wasn't directly responsible for that it probably helped.Big Daddy wrote:I don't know. While the Pentagon and White House would qualify as military targets, with the WTC it seemed to be as much about symbolic value as anything else - they can't really have been stupid enough to expect America's economy to fall apart completely as a result of hitting the towers. From a tactical point of view, they'd have got further doubling those planes on the other two targets, surely?
That was definitely a big part of the plan, but it was also a big part of the reasoning behind the Blitz, the Allied firebombing of Dresden and the nukes used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The history books are filled with hundreds of examples of civilians being killed en masse to further military objectives, but few of them are ranked among the ultimate evils of the modern age like 9/11 is.Big Daddy wrote:EDIT: "Indiscriminate" is probably the wrong word for the WTC killings, as Al-Qaeda would have known the place would have been surrounded by people. But massive casualties were quite likely something they banked on, and that to me is what makes it terrorism - a lot of the plan seemed to be aiming for killing a lot of civilians and trying to scare the USA into submission by creating a feeling of nowhere being safe.
I think a big part of that is because the world was a different place then. The only people who saw Dresden burning or Hiroshima disappearing in a mushroom cloud were the people who were there, but millions of people watched 9/11 unfolding on TV as it was happening and billions have seen the footage of the towers coming down. Watching something happen is a lot more visceral than hearing about it on the radio or reading about it in the newspaper and I think that contributes to the perception of it being even more horrible than it actually was (and don't get me wrong, it was horrible).
Also, the fact that most of the people in the West had completely ignored the Middle East for their entire lives -- and thus had no idea that there were groups like al-Queda running around capable of pulling off attacks like this -- probably contributed too. I don't want to seem glib, but if the IRA blew up a building in the UK in their heyday or when Hamas fires rockets into Israeli border towns, no one is really surprised. It's horrible, certainly, but anyone living there would have known that it was a possibility. But who in their right mind would have expected such a huge attack on American soil?
I'd imagine the history of the war gets taught a bit differently on this side of the border, then, because from what I was taught the Revolutionaries committed more than their share of atrocities against Loyalist civilians.Notabot wrote:I think the notion of target defining war or terrorism has some merit. Many cite the US Revolution as a form of terrorism as the colonials broke from the traditional rules of warfare and used guerrilla tactics instead of defined and declared lines. However, for the most part, they were attacking military troops and targets, people and places that knew of an inherent risk.