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FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: The U.S. vs. al Qaeda

Somebody Else's Civil War

Call it a city on four legs

heading for murder. ...

New York is a woman

holding, according to history,

a rag called liberty with one hand

and strangling the earth with the other.

-Adonis [Ali Ahmed Said],

"The Funeral of New York," 1971

In the weeks after the attacks of September 11, Americans repeatedly asked, "Why do they hate us?" To understand what happened, however, another question may be even more pertinent: "Why do they want to provoke us?"

David Fromkin suggested the answer in Foreign Affairs back in 1975. "Terrorism," he noted, "is violence used in order to create fear; but it is aimed at creating fear in order that the fear, in turn, will lead somebody else -- not the terrorist -- to embark on some quite different program of action that will accomplish whatever it is that the terrorist really desires." When a terrorist kills, the goal is not murder

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