Reading Jean Baudrillard's various essays on 9/11 and terrorism in general:
Terrorism is immoral. The event of the World Trade Center, this symbolic challenge is immoral, and it answers a globalization that is immoral. Then let us be immoral ourselves and, if we want to understand something, let us go somewhat beyond Good and Evil. As we have, for once, an event that challenges not only morals, but every interpretation, let us try to have the intelligence of Evil. The crucial point is precisely there: in this total counter-meaning to Good and Evil in Western philosophy, the philosophy of Enlightenment. We naively believe that the progress of the Good, its rise in all domains (sciences, techniques, democracy, human rights) correspond to a defeat of Evil. Nobody seems to understand that Good and Evil rise simultaneously, and in the same movement. The triumph of the One does not produce the erasure of the Other. Metaphysically, one considers Evil as an accident, but this axiom, embedded in all manichean fights of Good against Evil, is illusory. Good does not reduce Evil, nor vice-versa: there are both irreducible, and inextricable from each other. In fact, Good could defeat Evil only by renouncing itself, as by appropriating a global power monopoly, it creates a response of proportional violence.
In the traditional universe, there was still a balance of Good and Evil, according to a dialectical relation that more or less insured tension and equilibrium in the moral universe; - a little as in the Cold War, the face-to-face of the two powers insured an equilibrium of terror. Thus, there was no supremacy of one on the other. This symmetry is broken as soon as there is a total extrapolation of the Good (an hegemony of the positive over any form of negativity, an exclusion of death, of any potential adversarial force: the absolute triumph of the Good). From there, the equilibrium is broken, and it is as if Evil regained an invisible autonomy, developing then in exponential fashion.
Keeping everything in proportion, it is more or less what happened in the political order with the erasure of communism and the global triumph of liberal power: a fantastical enemy appeared, diffused over the whole planet, infiltrating everywhere as a virus, surging from every interstice of power. Islam. But Islam is only the moving front of the crystallization of this antagonism. This antagonism is everywhere and it is in each of us. Thus, terror against terror... But asymmetrical terror... And this asymmetry leaves the global superpower totally disarmed. Fighting itself, it can only founder in its own logic of power relations, without being able to play in the field of symbolic challenge and death, as it has eliminated the latter from its own culture.
Therefore, here, death is the key (to the game) not only the brutal irruption of death in direct, in real time, but also the irruption of a more-than-real death: symbolic and sacrificial death - the absolute, no appeal event.
This is the spirit of terrorism.
Never is it to attack the system through power relations. This belongs to the revolutionary imaginary imposed by the system itself, which survives by ceaselessly bringing those who oppose it to fight in the domain of the real, which is always its own. But (it) moves the fight into the symbolic domain, where the rule is the rule of challenge, of reversal, of escalation. Thus, death can be answered only though an equal or superior death. (Terrorism) challenges the system by a gift that the latter can reciprocate only through its own death and its own collapse.
The terrorist hypothesis is that the system itself suicides in response to the multiple challenges of death and suicide. Neither the system, nor power, themselves escape symbolic obligation -and in this trap resides the only chance of their demise (catastrophe). In this vertiginous cycle of the impossible exchange of death, the terrorist death is an infinitesimal point that provokes a gigantic aspiration, void and convection. Around this minute point, the whole system of the real and power gains in density, freezes, compresses, and sinks in its own super-efficacy. The tactics of terrorism are to provoke an excess of reality and to make the system collapse under the weight of this excess. The very derision of the situation, as well as all the piled up violence of power, flips against it, for terrorist actions are both the magnifying mirror of the system's violence, and the model of a symbolic violence that it cannot access, the only violence it cannot exert: that of its own death.
This is why all this visible power cannot react against the minute, but symbolic death of a few individuals.http://www.egs.edu/faculty/jean-baudrillard/articles/the-spirit-of-terrorism/