Although separated by thirty months, the al-Qaeda attacks in Madrid and in New York offer a unique opportunity to compare the rhetorical and practical reactions to the bombings on March 11, 2004, and destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, revealing their countries' strikingly different assumptions about and approaches to terrorism. Ultimately, the rhetorical dimensions of domestic security come to involve a threat to civic discourse that can be cured only by a civilian-imposed silence on the government.

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