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Paul R. Pillar – Misunderstanding the Terror Threat

A couple of unfortunate ways of thinking about terrorism continue to plague discourse about the subject and create a political environment that encourages destructive policy responses. One is to conceive terrorism not as what it really is — a tactic — but instead as an identifiable group of bad actors: “the terrorists.” These bad guys are thought of as, if …

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Paul R. Pillar – Putting the ISIS ‘Crisis’ in Context

Emotional and ill-focused reaction to the latest mass shooting in the United States, coupled with misguided but unfortunately well-entrenched ways of thinking about terrorism and counterterrorism, along with a political campaign featuring jingoistic appeals, is increasing the pressure on the U.S. administration to embark on costly and counterproductive new endeavors in the Middle East. A dominant theme in public discourse …