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Countering Terrorism

No Simple Solutions

By Martha Crenshaw and Gary LaFree
9780815727644

Can We Construct a Grand Strategy to Counter Terrorism?

Fifteen years after September 11, the United States still faces terror threats—both domestic and foreign. After years of wars, ever more intensive and pervasive surveillance, enhanced security measures at major transportation centers, and many attempts to explain who we are fighting and why and how to fight them, the threats continue to multiply.

So, too, do our attempts to understand just what terrorism is and how to counter it.

Two leaders in the field of terrorism studies, Martha Crenshaw and Gary LaFree, provide a critical look at how we have dealt with the terror threat over the years. They make clear why it is so difficult to create policy to counter terrorism. The foes are multiple and often amorphous, the study of the field dogged by disagreement on basic definitional and methodological issues, and the creation of policy hobbled by an exacting standard: the counterterrorist must succeed all the time, the terrorist only once. As Countering Terrorism shows, there are no simple solutions to this threat.


Martha Crenshaw is a senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, as well as professor of political science, by courtesy, at Stanford University. She is also professor of government emerita at Wesleyan University and a lead investigator with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. 

Gary LaFree is professor of criminology and criminal justice and director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. He is a past president of the American Society of Criminology, a member of the Attorney General’s Science Advisory Board, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Law and Justice.

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