Book Forum

Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them

(Free Press, 2006)

December 13, 2006 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST


Featuring the author, John Mueller, Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies, Ohio State University; with comments by James S. Gilmore, III, Former Governor of Virginia and Chair of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction and Chairman, National Council on Readiness and Preparedness.

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Since September 11, 2001, there have been no terrorist attacks in the United States, even though a single person with a bomb‐​filled backpack could carry one out. Why hasn’t it happened? Among the possibilities is that the threat of domestic terrorism is not as great as generally assumed. In his provocative book Overblown, national security expert John Mueller argues that the capacity of al‐​Qaeda or of any similar group to do damage in the United States pales in comparison to the capacity other dedicated enemies have possessed in the past. Our responses to the terror threat may be more costly than any damage terrorists could do. Indeed, they may play into terrorists’ hands. Mueller argues that it is time to rethink our approach to terrorism, target resources proportionately to the threat, and avoid the fear‐​mongering that has been such a staple of post‐​9/​11 public dialogue. Please join us for a lively discussion with this interesting author and a very distinguished commentator.