Despite spending billions of dollars to fight endless wars, global terrorism rose 43% in 2013. As a result, terrorism has been brought to the fore of not only the American mentality, but the international mentality as well. Consequently, we must do a few things in order to maintain our sanity, dignity, power, and security.
We must retaliate forcefully and successfully. We must garner support for our cause and give other countries a reason to want to stand behind America. We must reassure the world of our confidence as a great power, and our ability to retain that status. Lastly, and most practically, we must explore the possibilities of terrorism that exist and attempt to grasp the actual threat that these possibilities realistically pose for us.
Undeniably, there is a faction of people out there who want to bring America down. On September 11th, terrorists hit decisively a few places of weakness in the psyche of the American citizen. They got us psychologically, we were paranoid. They prompted our awe, we were fearful. They governed our hearts, we were devastated. They killed American people. But the terrorists merely grazed the actual Achilles heel of American society and vitality: our economic infrastructure. Although an integral symbol of the success and predominance of the American capitalist economic system was brought down in September, our economy and financial markets did not suffer unacceptable damage. The quality of life in our country has not changed significantly for the majority of the population.
This is reassuring, but it also reveals that if somebody wants to attack America, he’s still got plenty to work with.
The term “Critical Infrastructure” is used to discuss the systems that are at risk. Critical Infrastructures are systems whose incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on the defense or economic security of the nation. These include:
Telecommunications, electrical power systems, gas and oil, banking and finance, transportation, water supply systems, and government and emergency services(Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office). These systems and their role in our every day lives cannot be taken for granted. What would we do if they were to break down?
I’m walking a fine line here with regards to the definition of terrorism. It is not often implied that the goal of the terrorist is to cause irreparable damage to a particular state system. Instead, the goal of a terrorist is to communicate a message, attract attention, or to advance a political ideology through violent ( and not necessarily ubiquitous) acts. Wiping out a country’s economic foundation may be an action that would be expected as an act of war; a state-sponsored project in response to another states adversary nature, as we have demonstrated by employing economic sanctions in response to Saddam Hussein’s disregard for morality.