As its name implies, the point of terrorism is to scare people, and the modern media can be the terrorists' best friend.
It is the transmission of the images of the terrorists' savagery that gives them an influence far beyond their actual power to do harm. Such was the case last week with the video images of the beheading of American contractor Nicholas Berg in Iraq.
At the same time, the modern media can be the greatest enemy of those who seek to fight terrorism. While terrorists take pride in the images of their incredible brutality, the American people are horrified, ashamed and embarrassed by the images of our soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison.
Yet, the terrorists occasionally overplay their hand.
Certainly, they overplayed it on September 11, 2001, when they roused a slumbering nation to the reality of the terrorist threat.