the terrorists will have won
- (idiomatic) Phrase used to indicate that if a specified activity is not continued or carried out, those who seek to disrupt normal activities through terror will have succeeded, which is an unacceptable result.
1979, Edwin Nobles Lowe; Harry D. Shargel, Legal and other aspects of terrorism, page 222:
- If you throttle the free press, the terrorists will have won.
1989, Susheela Bhan, Terrorism: an Annotated Bibliography, page 116:
- If governments overact and become oppressive, the terrorists will have won, for their theory is that repression will eventually lead to revolution.
2009, Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Claiming Earth As Common Ground: The Ecological Crisis Through the Lens of Faith, page 17:
- If we have to wear sweaters and turn down our thermostat, the terrorists will have won.