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.

  • When George Bush and Tony Blair invaded an oil rich Arab state, they did Osama bin Laden’s bidding.
  • Extraordinary rendition is doing Osama bin Laden’s bidding.
  • Dropping cluster bombs in cities, is doing Osama bin Laden’s bidding.
  • Dismantling the separation of powers is doing Osama bin Ladens bidding.
  • 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.



    1. Bush’s comment over the weekend that if you vote Democrat “the terrorists win” was the loathsome vomit of a despicable, pathetic little man. I have grown to despise him and his ilk. I hope the Democrats cream this mob, not because the Democrats represents political Messiahs, but because Cheney, Rove, and Co. have to be punished. They won’t though, because the fear card is oh so compelling.


    2. Ronan,

      don’t forget the loyalty and morality cards. Conservatives have been spoonfed so frequently that Democrats are immoral that, no matter how horrible Republicans are, they could never conceivably vote for a Democrat.

      The thing that troubles me the most, partisanship aside, is that our leaders, the ones who should know key points, do not. On my blog I highlight some key leaders in Congress and the FBI who can’t tell the difference between Sunnis and Shi’ites. How come a librarian knows more about the difference between these two factions than the vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence? I quote from Jeff Stein who asked this:

      “Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” I asked him a few weeks ago.

      Mr. Everett responded with a low chuckle. He thought for a moment: “One’s in one location, another’s in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don’t know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something.”

      To his credit, he asked me to explain the differences. I told him briefly about the schism that developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and how Iraq and Iran are majority Shiite nations while the rest of the Muslim world is mostly Sunni. “Now that you’ve explained it to me,” he replied, “what occurs to me is that it makes what we’re doing over there extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but that whole area.”

      Know thy enemy. Sun Tzu was so right two thousand years ago. It seems many have not learned that lesson, even now.


    3. Amen, brothers. Love it, love it, love it.

      I like Keith Olbermann’s latest: The key to terrorism is not the act – but the fear of the act.. Go watch his editorial here. Great stuff.


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