Book Review: The "New" Terrorism: Myths and Realities


by Thomas R. Mockaitis

Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008. Pp. xiii, 158. Diagr., tables, notes, biblio., index. $21.95 paper. ISBN:0804759707

Prof. Mockaitis, of DePaul University and the Strategic Studies Institute, has written extensively on counter-insurgency, peace operations, and terrorism.  In this work, he examines terrorism quite effectively, beginning with the theoretical concepts of terrorism, and even provides an potential answer to the perennial question, "What?s the difference between a 'freedom fighter' and a 'terrorist'?" -- noting, among other things, an indifference to innocent casualties.

Mockaitis proceeds to look at contemporary patterns and trends in terrorism, demonstrating that not only have terrorist acts increased over the last several decades, but in the same period we have seen the emergence of  "religious terrorism" to an extraordinary degree.  He then goes on to discuss Al-Qaeda, the most prominent of these "religious terrorist" movements, delving into its character and objectives as well as its current and potential capabilities, while discussing some possible responses to this form of terrorism. 

Mockaitis then makes a case that the most effective anti-terrorist campaigns have been comprehensive integrated efforts that combined military force, police action, and social, economic, and political development. He closes with a discussion of the degree of actual risk and the potential costs of overdoing responses.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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