As we continue to strategize on the war against terrorism we need the best understanding of what our enemies are striking at. For this reason we must reflect on their choice of targets on 9/11, both in terms of physical and symbolic importance. What they attacked were not symbols of our freedom but of our preeminence in the world.
As I see it we know of 3 targets that were attacked, the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and the Airlines. The Pentagon represents our military might so striking it had at least two objectives: One to show the world they were willing to attack out strength. The second a statement of “If we can strike here we can strike anywhere.”
The World Trade Center clearly had the psychological impact of killing so many people. It would also have economic repercussions. Add to this its place as a symbol of economic might and it becomes clear target for those wishing to challenge our financial dominance. Of course the buildings themselves were an accomplishment of our technological progress. In the end this was an attack of them showing what havoc can be wrought by their distorted ideals of commitment in spite of US power.
Airlines were both a weapon and a target. A way of showing we can be used against ourselves. Attacking travel is also an insidious way to make many American’s feel vulnerable. This target also provided an additional economic attack.
So what do we learn from these targets? They are not striking at out freedom. Their attacks will strike fear and may make it tempting for us to attack or own freedoms, but their goal is to hurt our economic and military power. So as we decide how best to protect ourselves, we all should do what it takes to keep our economy healthy. We cannot let fear dissuade us from living or from using the power we do enjoy well.
A Madman has spoken…