The Military’s Role in Counterterrorism
Military force is a powerful tool for good or ill, and it can prove instrumental in combating terrorism. The potential effect on terrorist capabilities can be immediate and unqualified, as when a strike kills or otherwise disables a prominent terrorist leader. Military strikes — or the threat of such strikes — can disrupt terrorist operations. The limitations and drawbacks of using the military, however, are numerous. Strikes aimed at terrorists can result in death or injury to innocent bystanders and collateral damage to infrastructure. The victims of this violence will often focus their anger on the attacker, generating support and sympathy for terrorists. Pillar and Preble will discuss these and related issues and show how effective counterterrorism balances the immediate gains of particular policies against the unintended medium- to long-term consequences.