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Trapped in the War on Terror Hardcover – September 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812239830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812239836
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,976,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An important book. . . . [Ian Lustick] is willing to engage in a critical examination and speaks truths that politicians and pundits run from."—Middle East Policy



"Ian Lustick has written a brave, forceful, and very valuable book. I wish that every politician promising to 'defend' America would read what he has to say. Failing that, the voters should."—James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly



"Ian Lustick's excellent book presents in an engaging and most intelligent manner a point of view that should be far more widely considered. It brings the problem of terrorism, such as it is, back down to earth and deftly skewers the large political, economic, and media industry that has an interest in exaggerating terrorism's effect and in scaring people unnecessarily. I recommend the book highly."—John Mueller, Professor of Political Science, Ohio State University



"A must and timely read for all who worry that we are trapped in a self-defeating strategy. Lustick courageously swims against the within beltway wisdom by raising the question whether the U.S. government treatment of counter-terrorism is worse than the disease itself."—Marc Sageman, author of Understanding Terror Networks

About the Author

Ian S. Lustick is Professor of Political Science, Bess W. Heyman Chair, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books and coeditor (with Ann M. Lesch) of Exile and Return: Predicaments of Palestinians and Jews, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mark Sumner on September 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
With the "war" generating more harsh rhetoric and more flying spittle by the day, here's the first book that dares to tell the truth: the metaphor doesn't fit. The prosecution of the war on terror makes about as much sense as trying to fight the war on poverty by sending tanks into West Virginia.

Lustick gets past the distortions of the day and gets to the heart of the matter.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Retired Reader on May 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The thesis of this book is that the so-called `War on Terror' is an exercise in futility that is driven by opportunism and demagoguery. Strong words, but they are backed by very persuasive arguments. This book is a good follow up to "Overblown" by John Mueller (Amazon.com) that effectively puts the much hyped terrorist threat into perspective. This book provides the approaches that would best mitigate an over-hyped, but still real threat from minority elements of the Islamic extremist movement.

Social scientist that he is, Lustick devotes the first two chapters of the book to statistical analysis concerning the average U.S. citizen's understanding of terrorism and real or imagined terrorist threats. He then attempts to demonstrate, successfully I think, that the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks has been transformed into a massive fraud dubbed the `War on Terror'. In Lustick's opinion, the reality of the terrorist threat has been turned into a political hobby horse by politicians of both parties, a ratings game by the print and electronic media, and a money cow by almost everyone else. These of course are matters of opinion, but they have a ring of truth to them. The War on Terror itself is a really silly concept rather like declaring a war on skirmishing. You can't fight a war against a tactic. In point of fact, the strategy for the War on Terror is fundamentally and irretrievably flawed.

The book makes clear that a "serious understanding of motivations and predicaments of al Qaeda and other Jihadist groups" is absolutely essential to developing a defensive strategy that can mitigate the threat from Islamic brands of terrorism. One might add that such a strategy ought to also be based on an understanding of the organizational structures of al Qaeda and other such entities.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Micaela De Lignerolles on February 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Having heard Ian Lustick speak today at Princeton Univrsity I immediately ordered his book (on which the talk was based).

HIs revelations on the subject of the War on Terror are frightening because since 2001 we are led to believe only war and destruction will deliver us from evil.

I hope a lot of smart people will buy this book and spread the word.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John S. on December 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was especially struck by the author's parallels between today's "terrorist" cells and those of 1950's Communists (equally far-fetched). Also appreciated his coverage of the Administration's mixed messages of "there are plotters everywhere" and "don't panic". My only disappointment was that he never touches on the overblown airport security situation (Kabuki as its often called); one could infer that he agrees with that policy, although logically he wouldn't.
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