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Countering Terrorism

Can We Construct a Grand Strategy to Counter Terrorism? Fifteen years after September 11, the United States still faces terror threats both domestic and foreign. After years of wars, ever more intensive and pervasive surveillance, enhanced security measures at major transportation centers, and many attempts to explain who we are fighting and why and how to fight them, the threats continue to multiply. So, too, do our attempts to understand just what terrorism is and how to counter it. Two leaders in the field of terrorism studies, Martha Crenshaw and Gary LaFree, provide a critical look at how we have dealt with the terror threat over the years. They make clear why it is so difficult to create policy to counter terrorism. The foes are multiple and often amorphous, the study of the field dogged by disagreement on basic definitional and methodological issues, and the creation of policy hobbled by an exacting standard: the counterterrorist must succeed all the time; the terrorist only once. As Countering Terrorism shows, there are no simple solutions to this threat.
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Table of Contents

Contents: Preface 1. Introduction: The Context for Analyzing Counterterrorism Difficulties—Current Threats and the State of Academic Research 2. Overresponding to Rare Events: The Problem of Uncommon Threats with Irreversible Consequences 3. The Tip of the Iceberg: Accounting for Failed and Foiled Terrorist Plots 4. Pinning Down an Elusive Adversary: What Is a Terrorist Organization? 5. Who Did It? The Attribution Dilemma 6. Counterterrorism Results: Can Effectiveness be Evaluated? 7. Moving Forward Notes Index

About the Author

Martha Crenshaw is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, as well as professor of political science by courtesy, at Stanford University. She is also professor of government emerita at Wesleyan University and a lead investigator with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. Gary Lafree is professor of criminology and criminal justice and director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. He has written over 80 articles and book chapters and five books, mostly looking at criminal and political violence.


This is an important academic and public policy analysis of the role of the "conceptual and empirical requirements of defining, classifying, explaining, and responding to terrorist attacks" in "crafting effective counterterrorism policy."--Dr, Joshua Sinai, Perspectives on Terrorism A substantial contribution to the literature on terrorism and counterterrorism.--Paul Pillar, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Center for Security Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Services, Georgetown University A corrective to oversimplified analysis. The scholarship is sound and the book is a welcome offering from two scholars whose knowledge and credentials are superlative.--Audrey Kurth Cronin, Professor of International Relations, American University, and author of How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns

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