How did this happen? For twenty years we have been told that terrorism is the greatest threat to our well being. As a result we have patiently queued at airports, taking off our shoes and boots, submitting to personal searches and suffered the inconvenience of wasting time and the inelegance of looking slightly ridiculous as we sought to avoid the terrorist threat. Our leaders have solemnly told us that we must fight wars in places like Afghanistan, depose tyrannical leaders in other places all to avoid the terrorist threat. We did so resulting in the deaths of so many of our soldiers and even so more many civilians including babies killed by our bombing dispossessed by our policies and actions.
While all this was going on, while we were fighting the terrorist threat, we discover that the terrorist threat has taken the opportunity of reorganising itself into a new nation. ISIS has virtually created a new state out of parts of Syria and Iraq and it threatens to expand in other directions. It seems to finance itself with arms and supplies, notwithstanding that every lawyer in Europe has a copy of the passport of folk he or she might have known for years as well as a utility bill not more than three months old from when the lawyer was instructed. ISIS has grown notwithstanding all the anti money laundering laws which we were assured would cut off the supply of money to terrorists, and ISIS has grown notwithstanding that we fought a war for a decade in a place we described as a home for terrorism (Afghanistan) and have occupied another neighbouring place (Iraq) for twenty years.
Is there any conclusion we can draw that our actions have fed terrorism and made it more prevalent, but instead of blowing up the occasional aircraft terrorism, an abstract noun, has converted itself into a proper noun – a nation state. Soon the war will no longer be fought against an abstract noun, but a proper noun.