I know that this edition was published on April Fool's Day, but terrorism is no joke. Terrorism is indeed, as Netanyahu says, "the deliberate and systematic murder, maiming, or menacing of the innocent to inspire fear for political ends."
Those who support terrorism tend to reply that actually, those who fight terrorism are the terrorists. And that the real question to ask is "what drives such good people to commit acts Netanyahu calls 'terrorism?'" And the most famous line, that one Man's terrorist is another Man's freedom fighter. Um, right. And one Woman's cat is another Woman's dog, I suppose! A better analogy might be that one person's policeman is another person's robber. Well, there is a difference between terrorists and those who oppose them. And it is counterproductive to give in to terrorist demands. That is what this book is about.
There are over three dozen contributors. George Shultz focuses on the need for better intelligence. I agree: that would have helped avert 9/11. Benzion Netanyhau points out that the PLO can't be freedom fighters, given that they fight for oppression rather than against it. Paul Johnson says we must have courage to deny hiding places to terrorists. Daniel Moynahan explains that there is a justification to go after terrorists internationally, given that terrorism opposes both freedom and human rights. Alain Bescancon shows how Russian terrorists in the 1870s obtained public support. Leszek Kowalski says that state-supported terror is simply war and ought to be treated as such. Jeane Kirkpatrick argues that terrorist victories lead to the establishment of totalitarian states.
There is a section on Islamic terrorism. Bernard Lewis tells us about the Assassins. It's worth remembering that their goals were arbitrary and are long forgotten. After that, we see the connection between domestic terror and international terrorism. Then there is a section on international terrorism. Jillian Becker tells us about how Europeans could come to Lebanon as guests of the PLO, be given rifles, shoot some civilians with impunity just for fun, and go home without any fear of reprisals.
Perhaps the most important section is on terrorism and the media. Charles Krauthammer explains how the terrorists have made those in the media "partners in crime." And he advises that the media at least avoid romancing terror. John O'Sullivan wants to deny publicity to terrorists. And Lord Chalfont reminds those in the media that when the terrorists win, the first freedom that will be taken away will be that of the press. A short panel discussion of terror and the media is at the end of the book.
The following section deals with the legality of fighting terror, including rights of "hot pursuit." Meir Shamgar recommends an international convention against terrorism. After that, there are articles about domestic terrorism and global terrorism. Alan Cranston discusses the threat of nuclear terrorist states. Yitzhak Rabin recommends starting a U.S.-led international agency against terrorism. Midge Decter warns us that if we lose the battle to the terrorists, those in the future will not say of us that we were too noble and good to fight. They'll say we were too morally lazy to keep freedom alive for them. Jack Kemp reminds us not to draw a false symmetry between us and those who terrorize us. Benjamin Netanyahu has an important point to make: the more scared we are of civilian casualties, the more terrorists will attack civilians and use civilians as shields. And the net result may well be even more civilian casualties.
This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.