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Be Very AfraidThe Cultural Response to Terror, Pandemics, Environmental Devastation, Nuclear Annihilation, and Other Threats$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730872

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730872.001.0001

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Waging War on Terror

Waging War on Terror

(p.68) Four Waging War on Terror
Be Very Afraid

Robert Wuthnow (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the threat of peril driven home to Americans by the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. Moral responsibility in 2001 reflected how it had come to be understood during the preceding half century. Government officials, scientists and policy makers continued to be the professional experts who set the agenda for how the public would think about and respond to the attacks. People feared for their safety, thought it likely that terrorists would strike again, and registered doubt that they could do much to protect themselves. The initial sense of loss led quickly to calls for retaliation, as if a stricken nation needed to demonstrate its strength. Within days, public officials turned the response from questions about why the attacks had occurred to plans for retaliation. The Cold War was thus replaced by a new war, a controversial war that dominated public debate and again divided the world into defenders of freedom and purveyors of evil.

Keywords:   terrorism, peril, threats, 9/11, terrorist attacks, war on terror

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