WOTY Candidate: The terrorists have already won

Grant Barrett grant.barrett at VERIZON.NET
Thu Nov 22 02:13:41 UTC 2001

I'd like to nominate a phrase for Word of the year: "The terrorists will
have already won" or one of the variations.

It's already so used it has ventured into the realm of cliché, as disussed
in The Columbus Dispatch, October 18, 2001: "And this is the point: How many
times have you heard that if America doesn't do x or if it does do y, "the
terrorists will have won"? Perhaps it's time that we went about our daily
business again without relying on this shopworn phrase. Because if we don't
go about our daily business, the Durham, N.C., Herald Sun warned, the
terrorists will have won."

It was used with irony today in a Village Voice cartoon that I can't seem to
find online. Also, there's this nice send-up from The Onion:

"If I Don't Get My Medium-Rare Shell Steak With Roasted Vegetables In The
Next 10 Minutes, The Terrorists Have Already Won"

Here are a few more earnest citations, from Lexis-Nexis, although it's all
over the Internet, as well.

The Toronto Sun, September 18, 2001: "Pray that we do not so easily
surrender a way of life for which our fathers and grandfathers fought the
tyrants of a century just past. Because if this is so, then the terrorists
have already won."

Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2001: "If we're not careful, we're going to
be perceived as the enemy by 1 billion Muslims worldwide. If we act rashly,
the terrorists have already won."

Financial Times (London), September 19, 2001: "I do not believe that
sacrificing essential liberties in a vain hope of improving security is good
for America or the world. The United States should not take steps toward
becoming a police state, or otherwise undermine our own freedom in the name
of defending that freedom from terrorist attack, or the terrorists have
already won."

Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2001: [Headline, leitmotif and topic of
article]: Have the Terrorists Already Won?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 23, 2001: "It's a new world and that
situation won't change for any of us for years to come. What these pea
brains don't realize is that by giving in now, the terrorists have already

There are other such citations from articles as recent as November 18.


Grant Barrett
gbarrett at worldnewyork.org
New York Loves You Back

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