Measured in lives and dollars, government reactions to terrorism often impose greater costs on the societies attacked than the terror attacks themselves. Indeed, what makes a terrorist attack “successful” is its ability to goad victim states into wasting their own resources, taking actions that drive support to terrorism, and behaving in ways that confirm terrorist worldviews. The strategic logic of terrorism demands better counterterrorism policies than those adopted by American policymakers after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Our counterterrorist activities communicate to important audiences about the United States, its values, and moral authority. Overreaction can frustrate our goals by sending the wrong messages about the utility of terrorism and the viability of terrorist groups. Accordingly, while government authorities pursue terrorists assiduously, the public face of U.S. counterterrorism should be unflappable, cool, and confident.
Featuring Benjamin H. Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies, Cato Institute; Spencer Ackerman, Senior Writer, WIRED Magazine; and Julian Sanchez, Research Fellow, Cato Institute; moderated by Laura Odato, Director of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.
Featured PublicationWe are grateful to the Harry and Lynde Bradley Foundation and the Carthage Foundation whose support of the October 2012 Cato Conference “Europe’s Crisis and the Welfare State: Lessons for the United States” made possible this special issue of the Cato Journal.
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More Bang for Your Buck
The Cato Institute tops a new measure of think tank performance in the United States, according to a recent report. Cato bested all other U.S. think tanks in the main category of “Aggregate Profile per Dollar Spent.” “I’m grateful to the Center for Global Development for showing that Cato gives its sponsors something I wish government gave more of to taxpayers: bang for the buck,” said Cato CEO John Allison.