ISIS Thrives on the Disunity of Its Enemies

Cockburn, Patrick
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/23/isis-thrives-on-the-disunity-of-its-enemies/

Publisher:  Counter Punch
Date Written:  23/11/2015
Year Published:  2015  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX18252

The aftermath of terrorist attacks such as the massacre in Paris are a bad time to produce new policies, but they provide ideal political conditions for a government to take radical, if ill-thought-out, initiatives. Leaders are carried away by a heady sense of empowerment as a worried or frightened public demands that something be done in response to calamity and to prevent it happening again. The moment of greatest risk is not when the bombs explode or the guns fire, but when governments react to these atrocities.

Abstract: 
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Excerpt:

The aftermath of terrorist attacks such as the massacre in Paris are a bad time to produce new policies, but they provide ideal political conditions for a government to take radical, if ill-thought-out, initiatives. Leaders are carried away by a heady sense of empowerment as a worried or frightened public demands that something be done in response to calamity and to prevent it happening again. The moment of greatest risk is not when the bombs explode or the guns fire, but when governments react to these atrocities.

Terrorism is, in the first instance, aimed at showing defiance, exacting revenge and demonstrating strength. But, to be truly successful, it needs to provoke a poorly considered overreaction by those targeted. This has always been true. The greatest success of the 9/11 hijackers was not destroying the World Trade Center, but tempting the US government into launching wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in which it failed to achieve its ends and which are still going on.
...

More likely is the use of drones and special forces to assassinate Isis leaders, whose demise, going by past experience, will do nothing to weaken the movement as a whole. The main purpose of these killings and tales of derring-do is to add substance to the pretence that something effective is being done.

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