Over the last decade, there has been no end to the number of instructions attached to the phrase "or the terrorists win."
But you needn't be familiar with the misery of commercial airline travel to know the terrorists are indeed winning, and continue to chalk up victories.
Whether you think "the system works" or not, the aftermath of last month's attempt by the would-be underwear bomber or the infamous shoe bomber of 2001 are reminders, if any were needed, that terrorists win whether they are successful in their primary task or not.
And what is their primary task? To blow up a plane or simply to plunge the travelling public and international airport network into complete and utter chaos?
To have us spend our time and money, both individually as travellers and collectively as taxpayers, in or on various ports of call?
Or is it more insidious than that?
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