Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Terrorists

Bruce Schneier has a pretty detailed blog entry on why most counter terrorism policies fail, mostly revolving around the concept that we misunderstand what motivates terrorists in the first place.

Here's the abridged version, where he quotes Max Abrahms:

Terrorists, he writes, (1) attack civilians, a policy that has a lousy track record of convincing those civilians to give the terrorists what they want; (2) treat terrorism as a first resort, not a last resort, failing to embrace nonviolent alternatives like elections; (3) don't compromise with their target country, even when those compromises are in their best interest politically; (4) have protean political platforms, which regularly, and sometimes radically, change; (5) often engage in anonymous attacks, which precludes the target countries making political concessions to them; (6) regularly attack other terrorist groups with the same political platform; and (7) resist disbanding, even when they consistently fail to achieve their political objectives or when their stated political objectives have been achieved.

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