Fundamentals of Counterterrorism
Terrorism is the weapon of the weak. It is a strategy that cannot prevail but for the cooperation of the enemy. Spreading fear terrorists hope to provoke disproportionate violence by the government to radicalize bystanders. That’s the only way that terrorists can win.
Terrorists aspire to be revolutionaries. Lack of capacity holds them back. They have to agitate to build support. That’s why anarchists referred to terrorism as the propaganda of the deed. Terrorist violence is militarily insignificant. It’s valuable propaganda when governments overreact.
Terrorists can kill us but without our help they cannot prevail. That means that governments have to protect their people by responding carefully and with deliberation. Unless reason trumps fear, we are doing the bidding of the terrorists.
To prevail against al Quaeda, the United States needs leaders that are more courageous. It requires the courage to say no to revenge, the courage to target violence, the courage to fight on our own terms, and the courage to uphold the United States Constitution.
If we are guided by courage rather than fear then victory is inevitable. So far our response has been dictated by fear. That’s why our strategy is not working.
We have to remember the essence of terrorism. They are weak. We are strong. Otherwise they would be revolutionaries rather than terrorists.
The willingness to acknowledge mistakes is a sign of courage. Denial, on the other hand, is a sign of fear. Fighting terrorists, the American people cannot afford fearful leaders who refuse to take responsibility. They will continue to do the bidding of the enemy.