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What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat Paperback – November 13, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
First of all, she contends that you cannot have a war on terror. To her, it is a war on a tactic, a fear that is a war on an emotion. She insists that you cannot wage a war on either. As long as anyone can commit a terrorist act, it debunks any contention that such a war is being won.
The author declares that terrorists seek three essential elements to their acts: revenge, renown, and reaction. In the destruction of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA, they achieved all three. Richardson explains that all terrorists and their organizations seek revenge for a humiliation or defeats real, imagined, and unknown to us. By declaring a "War on Terrorism and al-Qaeda we provided them with renown. By pursuing a war in Afghanistan and Iraq and by giving them Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo we gave them a reaction beyond their wildest dreams. "by using the extreme language of conviction that bin Laden uses, by declaring war, even a crusade, against him in response to his war against us, we are mirroring his actions. We are playing into his hands...elevating his stature...permitting him to set the terms of our interactions."
For terrorism to succeed, terrorists require personal dissatisfaction, an enabling society and legitimizing ideology. Their personal dissatisfaction comes from our support of Israel beating them time and again with US built weapons, killing of their civilians, and occupation of their lands. According to Richardson, being the only superpower and having the most influence in the world, also incurs their enmity.Read more ›
Louise Richardson, now an expert in terrorism, grew up in rural Ireland in the 1960s “with a passionate hatred of England”.
In “What Terrorists Want”, a primer on the subject, Dr. Richardson started the discussion with a reminiscence about her adolescence when many of her friends joined the IRA. She herself also attended meetings and discussions, but didn’t join the terrorist group at the end, as she “had concluded that killing people was not the right way to advance the cause of reuniting Ireland.”
“Those who did join were like me in almost every respect. They were young idealists wanting to do their part for their country as their forebears had (or as they thought their forebears had). They were motivated by a desire to right wrongs and to do their best for a noble cause. They knew that they were likely to suffer personally from their decisions. They justified the use of force on the grounds that it was the only way to make progress toward the legitimate goals they sought,” she wrote.
Throughout years of research at Trinity College and Harvard, she dug out documents and other evidence about terrorist groups and their activities. She also interviewed people who were and ARE from those groups.
Dr. Richardson’s background and painstaking research render this book a very compelling read. She said our “complicit society”, where economic and political inequality is pervasive, could be a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists. That was when I felt this book is a must-read for all of us. Also, interaction with a subject is the first step toward dispelling the fear of it.
Unlike Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism by Professor Robert Pape, which I highly recommend as a complement to this book, the author here has written a definitive history, a rational appreciation, and ends with six specific recommendations, each of which has been gleefully and ignorantly violated by the current Administration, which now declares Bin Laden to be "irrelevant" and continues to cover up the fact that Rumsfeld authorized the Pakistanis to fly 3000 Al Qaeda out of Tora Bora, and Rumsfeld refused to order a Ranger battalion in to capture Bin Laden during the four days that CIA has "eyes on" and tracked him to the border (see my reviews of Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA's Key Field Commander and First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Explains everything with relevant support material, including comparisons with earliest Groups,Religions,Sects,etc with more recent, and current examples including IRA, Red... Read morePublished 1 month ago by R.J.PRATT
As a contrasting definition of terrorism this book seems a sane approach compared to that of Noam Chomsky in his various books on terrorism. Read morePublished 13 months ago by William S Jamison
Excellent framing of issues surrounding the causes and sources of terrorism for further thought and discussion. It is also a very readable text. Read morePublished on December 11, 2013 by Jonker
Long before most of us were thinking about this subject, the author was thinking very deeply indeed about it. Read morePublished on May 8, 2013 by M. D. HEALY
I remember debating back in 2001 how best to handle 9/11. I wish this book were around then...or that the Bush Administration had consulted with the author. Read morePublished on May 1, 2013 by Joshua B. Parker
Strictly for those interesested in the topic. Very insightful, well written and will give you a greater understanding of the topicPublished on December 21, 2012 by tennischamp
I purchased this book for a class on the topic and I have to say it is a very interesting book to read - I find myself going beyond the reading assignments and I thoroughly enjoy... Read morePublished on February 18, 2011 by Alba