Deterrence, Terrorism, and American Values
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This article explores the practical obstacles to applying deterrence to United States counterterrorism policy. Many commentators still discuss deterrence as a tool for U.S. policymakers to use to prevent future terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland or its interests abroad. This paper argues that, while theoretically deterrence may be a viable approach to defending against terrorism, the actual policy choices that will be required of the U.S. to deter terrorism are morally and politically problematic. To effectively deter elements of a terrorist organization the U.S. would be forced to pursue policies that come into direct conflict with American core values. This paper aims to identify a number of the actual policy choices the U.S. must consider in order to deter the elements that comprise a terrorist organization and assess the compatibility of those choices with democratic values.
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (February 2007) v.3 no.1
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