A report recently issued by the Rand Corporation offers interesting insights into the current war on terror. The report tracked 648 terrorist groups operating between 1968 and 2006. It concludes that traditional most terrorist activities ceased for one of two reasons: “They were penetrated and eliminated by local police and intelligence agencies (40 percent), or they reached a peaceful political accommodation with their government (43 percent).” Only 10 percent of all terrorist groups studied during that time ceased to operate as a result of military defeat.
The report’s findings offer new a poignant critique of the current war on terror. The Rand Corporation—hardly a bastion of left-wing politics—concludes that US “military force has not undermined al Qaeda” and that the recent resurgence of al Qaeda “should trigger a fundamental rethinking of US strategy.” That strategy, according to Rand, should focus on policing and intelligence, with terrorists being arrested and subject to legal proceedings while simultaneously minimizing the use of military force. “Terrorists should be perceived as criminals, not holy warriors,” the summary concludes.