Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Policing Global Terrorism

Broadly speaking, there are two competing approaches to dealing with global terrorism. The first is the "war or terror" approach advocated by Dick Cheney and his boss, which advocates crushing terror cells at their source. The other is usually described as a more of a police action focused on identifying and preempting specific threats or blunting their potential through better defenses.

The two approaches are not mutually exclusive, of course, and debates about which is better are fraught, not least because terror attacks are extremely rare. The US has not had a domestic terror attack since 9/11, but is this because US policy has been effective or just because such attacks almost never happen even when the US is doing nothing to prevent them?

New York City takes terrorism very seriously for obvious reasons. New Yorkers mainly advocate the second approach and since the Bsh administration cared little for such an approach, the burden of defending New York from foreign attacks has fallen disproportionately upon New York. A new book explains it all.

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