The terrorist attacks of 9 /11 opened a window on a host of questions and assumptions about terrorism. Terrorism, An Unconventional Crime, uses those questions and assumptions as a starting point to explore the history, ideology, movements, leaders, and modern methodology of what is in fact an ancient phenomenon. Chapter topics include the following:
What Are the Historic Roots of Terrorism? September 11How Could It Happen Here? Who Are the Taliban?
Is al Qaeda Taking Root in America? What Are the Tactics of Terrorism? Are Rebels, Guerillas, and Drug Cartels Terrorists? Is Islam a Major Threat to Europe? Can Terrorism Be Eradicated? If Terrorism Is an Unconventional Crime, What Are the Unconventional Solutions?
The books principal focus is the current war on terrorism. The book discusses the various reasons for conducting operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, examines the tactics used, and evaluates their effectiveness. It devotes multiple chapters to the Taliban and al Qaeda, allowing readers to distinguish between the two groups and their varying interests and motives. There is also a detailed, chapter-long biography of the late Osama bin Laden.
One of the most important chapters is the one dedicated to the September 11 attacks. The rapid narration of the timeline of events, along with the descriptions of each of the nineteen hijackers and the modus operandi they used to succeed in the attack, transports the reader back to that fatal day. The gaps in the security system, the near misses of local authorities, the hijacker- pilot who was a near no showthe what-ifs of the day are brought into sharp and painful focus.
Finally, Terrorism, An Unconventional Crime, presents factual information to debunk the idea, all too common in some circles, that all Muslims are terrorists or potential terrorists. The book cites a wide spectrum of studies, ranging from statistical surveys of terrorist incidents to social demographics, psychological profiles, compilations of correspondence, and the views of religious scholars specializing in many faiths. The latter affirm that every faith has a fundamentalist wing that could be radicalized at any time.
This kind of approach is a hallmark of Terrorism An Unconventional Crime. When dealing with contemporary material, the book carefully presents at least two different points of view, usually starting with official government reports and then comparing and contrasting the opinions of various experts. The object of the book is not to impose a particular viewpoint on readers, but to inform and involve them in what for years to come will likely be an urgent and important issue.