Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why Terrorism Doesn't Work

Here is an interesting article on why terrorism does not work. Why it rarely achieves the policy objectives of the terrorists.

Briefly, the thesis of the article is that the victims of terrorism, rather than listening to the terrorists declared objectives, assume that the terrorists real objectives are simply to cause their death and destruction. People, in general, assume the motive of an action from its results. They assume that declared objectives are just a smoke screen. Since terrorists kill innocent people, their ultimate goal must be to kill more innocent people. And why would you placate people who only want to kill you, your family and your friends?

This "correspondent inference theory" makes sense to me? It certainly explains the reaction of most Israelis and most Jews to Palestinian suicide bombings.

But it also explains why Israeli actions - such as: "targeted" assassinations that kill as many innocent passers by as "targets"; harassment and intimidation of Palestinians at checkpoints; limiting Palestinians freedoms and economic prospects so that most Palestinians are now impoverished; - are equally ineffective. The Palestineans assume, that since the results of these policies make their lives misearble, that that is the ultimate goal of these Israeli policies. And why would you compromise with a bunch of SOBs whose only goal is to make you a miserable third class being?

I wish all sides could read and absorb the implications of this article. Harming civilians rarely works. Not only is it immoral, it is counter productive.

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