Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Killing Terrorists Is A Surprisingly Good Counter-Terrorism Strategy

In the 1990s the idea took hold that terrorists were just misunderstood and you had to negotiate with them to solve the underlying problems. This approach has proved disastrous in many countries with armed groups being given space to commit more and more terrorism. In the last three or four years a new approach to defeating terrorists has enjoyed immense success in Colombia, Sri Lanka and Iraq. Instead of talking to them you kill them, it turns out that far from breeding more terrorists, the whole 'being killed' thing really puts off potential recruits.

As this excellent WSJ article from bret Stephens puts it:
When military strategies fail – as they did in Vietnam while the U.S. pursued the tactics of attrition, or in Iraq prior to the surge – the idea that there can be no military solution has a way of taking hold with civilians and generals eager to deflect blame. This is how we arrived at the notion that "political reconciliation" is a precondition of military success, not a result of it.

{via Centre Right}

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