US Dilemma: Fighting Terrorism Without Inspiring New Foes


Newsweek asks, “How do you aggressively fight terror at home and abroad without exacerbating the very conditions that fuel the jihadist cause?” The jihadist movement seems to have become “self-recruiting,” with alienated Muslims deciding to join a terrorist outfit after reading or listening to English-speaking Qaeda ideologues on the Internet, or after downloading videos showing the effects of American military actions. Since the beginning of 2009, at least 25 American citizens have been arrested on federal charges related to Islamist extremism. A Justice Department spokesman said it is “not an encouraging trend.”

In New York City, there is a palpable sense of impending danger, if not inevitability, among senior law-enforcement officials. In Washington, national security officials already are worrying about the overreaction that could follow a terrorist attack. Politicians will demand severe new laws–and revenge–and accuse the Obama administration of going soft on terrorism. The cycle of repression and violence will beget more violence, and the “long war” against terrorism will enter a new and darker phase, which is just what terror organizations want.

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