Why do everyday citizens' reactions to terrorist attacks matter?

A terror attack is, by definition, designed to elicit a political or social response.

Terrorist networks assess the success of an attack not by the immediate and tragic casualties of the attack, but by the attack's success in moving a government, military, and society to react in a way that demonstrates a self-indicting cocktail of public hypocrisy, cruelty, and weakness. For this reason, how American citizens and  policymakers respond to attacks matter.

Americans reactions must be treated not simply as a policy or military issue, but also as a public health and safety concern.

Only Through US seeks to empower citizens to protect American founding principles and counter the corrosive effects of reactionary politics in the war on terror.


"Fear-based, Reactionary Politics" we've seen following previous terror attacks:

  • After terrorist attacks in Paris in the fall of 2015,  U.S. House Democrats and Republicans passed H.R. bill 4028, known as the "SAFE Act," which would have functionally halted Iraqi and Syrian refugee resettlement--including Syrian families escaping violence and Iraqi partners who had assisted American service members in Iraq. (The bill was never voted on in the Senate.)
  • After 9/11, America created Guantanamo Bay detention camp, suspended habeus corpus, and created a legal loophole for indefinite detention of persons under the term "enemy combatants," asserting that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to detainees from the war in Afghanistan, etc.
  • As part of the Bush administration's War on Terror, the government provided legal arguments sanctioning torture and war crimes.
  • During the 2016 presidential campaign, including immediately after 2015 terror attacks in Paris, then candidate Donald Trump suggested a ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S.
  • Starting in winter 2017, the President released an executive order banning American green card holders and U.S.-approved refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, defending that the travel ban was necessary for national security.  Consecutive executive orders focusing on refugees from still mostly Muslim-majority countries were, like the original executive order, are mired in U.S. courts. 
  • In the aftermath of the New York City attack in later October 2017, President Trump suggested that he would send the detained assailant to Guantanamo Bay. President Bush functionally stopped sending inmates to 'Gitmo' in 2006 and no more were sent under President Obama.

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