Terrorism is not an existential threat to America. our reaction to it might be.

Today, America is at an inflection point.

While the scale of events and number of fatalities inflicted by foreign terror attacks in the U.S. have greatly diminished, Americans’ fear that they will be victims of an attack continues to rise steadily. This rising fear, and the reactions it produces, pose an existential challenge to our democracy and a direct threat to the rights of vulnerable populations.

In the political aftershock of 9/11, America invaded Iraq under the prism of counter-terrorism, we constructed new legal terms like “detainees” and built indefinite detention centers. We pushed Muslim residents to enter the NSEERS program, rounded- up and interrogated Muslim students and citizens, and legally sanctioned the use of torture in interrogation.

It is now clear, including among leading national security experts, that those decisions served to bolster the political efficacy of the 9/11 attacks and terror networks’ own recruitment efforts. Terrorist groups explicitly use attacks to induce our government, military, and society to react—often in a way that leads to a self- indicting cocktail of public hypocrisy, cruelty, and weakness. It is incumbent on Americans to play a role in diminishing the efficacy of terror attacks.

Each of us, all of us—and Only Through US—must work to protect American society and principles, and guard against reactionary, fear-based policy-making in the wake of terror attacks.


Only Through US seeks to protect American principles and freedoms against fear-based reactionary politics that follow in the wake of foreign terror attacks. We empower communities to hold policymakers accountable for their decisions and their votes by collaborating with national security validators, building the capacity of journalists, and partnering with organizations to mobilize citizens in our fight against terrorism.

To partner with Only Through US, email info@onlythroughus.org.