I was just thinking about this on the bus. What makes terrorism effective? Clearly, the "terror", which is right there in it's name. Take the fear away from terrorism, and it's something else. Sabotage. Murder. Of course, we think of 9/11. The big terror event that will leap to the fore in such discussions, hopefully for years to come. (That is, I'm hopeful something worse doesn't come along for years.)
While tragic, it's not an issue of lives-lost, and statistics bear this out. In America, more people died in 2002 from choking on non-food objects than died from terror attacks in the last ten.
Financially... I'm not sure about direct financial losses, but I'd argue most of the losses are in the form of market behaviors, which leads to my next point:
Fear. It is the essence of terrorism. To act to spread fear, and to influence a country through that fear. I see some conservatives label others as "enablers" of terrorism. Often, this accusation boils down to not being willing to give up our rights in order to "protect" them with foreign-policy escapades. Or believing in rule-of-law. Objecting to the torture of prisoners. etc.
It's a loony accusation. So I have my own accusation, which is also a bit loony. I wouldn't want to straight-out advocate it, but here it is: Many of the war-hawks are also enablers. They enable terrorism... by spreading fear of terrorism, constantly trying to refresh that fear, enhancing it's main detrimental effect for their own ends. In the current UAE ports deal kerfluffle, it's interesting to see that this blade has two edges, and has rebounded against the Bush Administration.
A second, far less loony accusation, can be made in terms of what the war-hawks of today have done in the past. Training and arming Osama Bin Laden and his compatriots (as a force against the Russians) comes to mind. Or less terror-ish items, like giving Saddam Hussein biochemical weapon components, even after his alleged gassing of civilian Kurds. Installing a dictator into Iran, and trying to send him nuclear technology... But I digress.
Why can't they remember that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself"?