Inside the Pentagon's secretive and revolutionary new strategy to fight terrorism--and its game-changing effects in the Middle East and at home
In the years following the 9/11 attacks, the United States waged a "war on terror" that sought to defeat Al Qaeda through brute force. But it soon became clear that this strategy was not working, and by 2005 the Pentagon began looking for a new way.
In Counterstrike, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker of The New York Times tell the story of how a group of analysts within the military, at spy agencies, and in law enforcement has fashioned an innovative and effective new strategy to fight terrorism, unbeknownst to most Americans and in sharp contrast to the cowboy slogans that characterized the U.S. government's public posture. Adapting themes from classic Cold War deterrence theory, these strategists have expanded the field of battle in order to disrupt jihadist networks in ever more creative ways.
Schmitt and Shanker take readers deep into this theater of war, as ground troops, intelligence operatives, and top executive branch officials have worked together to redefine and restrict the geography available for Al Qaeda to operate in. They also show how these new counterterrorism strategies, adopted under George W. Bush and expanded under Barack Obama, were successfully employed in planning and carrying out the dramatic May 2011 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
Filled with startling revelations about how our national security is being managed, Counterstrike will change the way Americans think about the ongoing struggle with violent radical extremism.
Schmitt and Shanker, national security correspondents for the New York Times, draw upon a decade of reporting and hundreds of interviews for this behind-the-scenes account of the "evolution of strategic thinking" since the September 11 attacks. The authors point out that the Bush administration's initial strategy of "capture or kill" was based on the notion that traditional concepts of deterrence could not be applied to the terrorist threat. Behind the scenes, a small group of relatively anonymous counterterrorism experts began to develop a new strategy to combat violent religious extremism. They argued that focusing on terror networks instead of terrorist leaders, and utilizing an approach combining economic, military, political, and psychological tactics, would enable the U.S. to influence decisions within those networks. The new deterrence strategy was approved and implemented by President Bush in 2006, largely reaffirmed by President Obama when he took office, and in practice continues to evolve. While the authors' reporting is necessarily centered on policy making, Schmitt and Shanker are careful to relate theory to practice and to consider its implications for a spectrum of terrorism issues: from homegrown terrorists to cyber deterrence. Schmitt and Shanker's straightforward analysis of counterterrorism strategy should appeal to anyone who wants to understand the parameters of the ongoing fight against terrorism.
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this book is great! it 's very informative, well written and quite interesting