Why Terrorism Does Not Work

This is the first article to analyze a large sample of terrorist groups in terms of their policy effectiveness. It includes every foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designated by the U.S. Department of State since 2001. The key variable for FTO success is a tactical one: target selection. Terrorist groups whose attacks on civilian targets outnumber attacks on military targets do not tend to achieve their policy objectives, regardless of their nature. Contrary to the prevailing view that terrorism is an effective means of political coercion, the universe of cases suggests that, first, contemporary terrorist groups rarely achieve their policy objectives and, second, the poor success rate is inherent to the tactic of terrorism itself. The bulk of the article develops a theory for why countries are reluctant to make policy concessions when their civilian populations are the primary target.

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3 thoughts on “Why Terrorism Does Not Work”

  1. You may claim that acts of terrorism are effective to the extent of killing people, but the author, I think, ment that politically there is nothing to gain with terrorist attacks. Even though you may be a 100% right in your political views, attempting to achive change through terrorism is futile. If Jesus was a terrorist would you be a Christian? The answer is probably NO!
    Terrorism just piss people off, it just strenghten the resolve of the victim. Especially if the victim is the western world! The west won’t ever give in to terrorists, and thank God for that.
    Terrorism on the other hand is a different way of waging war, and is difficult to fight.
    Terrorist seldom wear uniforms, so identifying them is difficult, and they are willing to sacrifice themselves for the kill….. How do you fight that?

    PS my written english may have some mistakes because english is my second language

  2. Having been in the military, I have witnessed terrorist tactics, as well as been taught how to terrorize our enemys.
    No one wants to talk about our service members, doing these things, but I was forced or rather told it was my duty to follow all orders , even ones given to me while I was off base.
    Terrorism can bring a army to its knees. how? Its simple. One soldier or up to 3 may be required to pull off a succesfull maneuver,the fewer the better. Its much easier to act as a civilian with a friend or alone carry enough
    plastic explosive in a gym bag and never draw any attention. We are even as soldiers, not been around terrorist and seen the devestation they cause to mistrust foreigners to a point of being safe. Americans have been pampered in this area, this is why Mr.Bushs military cannot fight back and our soldiers are target pratice for any terrorist. One problem is if you see a small child wave to you and run up to you smiling, what do you do?
    Many young children are sacraficed and are armed to the nines, If you shoot one who is running toward you and find out this child had no weaponry strapped to them
    then you could be shot in retaliation,and creat more hatred toward the american people, or you could be held responsible,and face prison time, or execution. this would happen if our military deceided this must happen in order to appease, the innocent foreign masses,and to show that the united states will not tolerate those types of actions, or mistakes from our well? trained soldiers. I have witnessed these things in my time served.
    We need congress to step into the new war game of the future. Send less soldiers to die in mass gravesites, train the new tactics using few soldiers.

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