the terrorists will have won
Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (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.
- 1981, International Organization for the Study of Group Tensions, International Journal of Group Tensions, p. 151:
- If you treat it purely as war and you start curtailing civil liberties of your own populace to meet their needs to fight with them, as you would, in the black days of World War II, then the terrorists will have won.
1986 May 13, “editorial”, in Chicago Sun-Times:
- The situation is clear: If the treaty is nibbled to death, the terrorists will have won another round, at the expense of a strong ally.
- 1986, Jeffrey K. Hadden, Anson D. Shupe, Prophetic Religions and Politics, p. 101:
- If we stay home out of fear, the terrorists will have won.
- 1989, Susheela Bhan, Terrorism: an Annotated Bibliography, p. 116:
- If governments overact and become oppressive, the terrorists will have won, for their theory is that repression will eventually lead to revolution.
2005 July 28, Sarah Kershaw, “Terrorist in '99 U.S. Case Is Sentenced to 22 Years”, in NY Times:
- "The tragedy of Sept. 11 shook our sense of security," Judge Coughenour said. "Unfortunately, some believe this renders our Constitution obsolete. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."
- (Can we date this quote?) Judge John Coughenour, sentencing Ahmed Ressam to 22 years in prison:
- Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.
- 2006, Judith Levine, Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping, p. 2.
- Buy that flat-screen TV, our leaders commanded, or the terrorists will have won.
- 2009, Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Claiming Earth As Common Ground: The Ecological Crisis Through the Lens of Faith, p. 17.
- If we have to wear sweaters and turn down our thermostat, the terrorists will have won.