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Thinking Like a Terrorist: Insights of a Former FBI Undercover Agent Paperback – January 1, 2008
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From the Publisher
Written by a former FBI undercover agent and counterterrorism expert
Differentiates amont various types of terrorists to better evaluate solutions for stopping them
Includes case studies of different terrorist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Irish Republican Army, and al Qaeda --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Mr. German has written a very enlightening and informative book on not just how to get into the mind of a terrorist but also to understand their motivations. Though he discusses primarily the KKK and the IRA, he does mention Al-Qaeda occassionally. In essence, all terrorist groups are motivated by the pursuit of legitimacy, regardless of if this means losing every physical battle with auhtorities. As he says in the book, when they lose, they win. For terrorists it is not about military victory; it is about legitimacy.
This book has helped make it very clear to me that the USA is losing its battle against Al-Qaeda in the same way it lost against the Viet Cong, in the same way the French lost against the Algerians and in the same way the British lost against the IRA; by not understanding how terrorists think and what motivates them and by treating their actions (regarding Al-Qaeda) as military acts and not the criminal acts they truly are.
I truly hope many in our government at all levels read this book.
This book describes Mr. German's undercover experiences in a white supremicist organization. He tells us what it's like to buy illegal weapons, bombs, and plan terrorist attacks. He also describes what he learned and how it can be applied to today's war on terror. It's a very interesting and engrossing read. It's not at all preachy, nor is there a single mention of party affiliation. His suggestions are not partisan.
That other's here have given this book a low rating is a reflection of that rater more than this book. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone is rather resentful that their type have been clearly identified and made to look like the fools they so often are, for Mr. German pulls no punches when describing who our own domestic problem children really are. You may be surprised at what you learn. This really should be required reading...starting with right wing extremists...
And what he learned about terrorism from his first-hand experience flies in the face of much of the conventional wisdom on the subject, but makes far more sense than the conventional wisdom, if you really think about it. Moreover, his findings have important implications for how best to fight terrorism. If we don't understand what motivates terrorists and what they're trying to accomplish, we run the risk of playing right into their hands and giving them exactly what they want. And, unfortunately, that's exactly what we've been doing in the so-called "War on Terror". We've done exactly what the terrorists were hoping we'd do. Until we understand why the terrorists are doing what they're doing, we can't respond appropriately. But once we understand how terrorists think, we can come up with effective strategies for fighting terrorism. This book not only explains how terrorists think and what they want, but also how best to thwart their plans. I won't give away any of the author's findings (it's best if you read them for yourself so that you can follow his line of reasoning, and understand why he reached the conclusions he did); but I will say that our instincts about the nature of terrorism and how best to fight it are often wrong, and need to be reevaluated. This book will help us do just that. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning about terrorism, and especially those who are responsible for developing policies for fighting terrorism.