Download Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism by John Mueller, Mark Stewart PDF

By John Mueller, Mark Stewart

Following Sep 11, american citizens' fears of terrorists-especially locally dependent Islamic extremists-reached near-hysteria degrees. the govt. and media stories stoked fears that malign actors residing within the US had not just the need however the ability to wreak severe havoc and destruction. Early stories anticipated a little bit greater than three hundred al Qaeda operatives dwelling within the usa, and it wasn't lengthy earlier than this quantity turned 2,000 or 5,000 family terrorists. As those estimates snowballed, so did spending on federal counterterrorism businesses and measures, and it now totals over one thousand billion funds. the government introduced extra covert operations within the identify of battling terrorist adversaries than they did within the entirety of the forty-five 12 months chilly battle. for every apprehension of a reputable terrorist suspect, the U.S. executive created or re-organized counterterrorism organisations. the size of those efforts has been huge, immense, but by some means american citizens stay scared of what they understand to be a tremendous terrorist danger. yet how well-founded is that this worry? Is the specter of terrorism within the usa as sizeable because it turns out and are counterterrorism efforts potent and appropriately-scaled?

In Chasing Ghosts,two of our major critics of the mushrooming nationwide defense country express that it has now not, statistically talking, been effective or successful-to say the least. just one alarm in 10,000 has confirmed to be a sound threat-the relaxation are what John Mueller and Mark Stewart confer with as "ghosts." those ghosts are huge, immense drains on assets and give a contribution to a national paranoia that has led to frequent help for (and minimum severe wondering of) big bills and infringements on civil liberties, together with ordinary invasions of privateness and legally questionable imprisonments. Mueller and Stewart contend that the "ghost chase" occupying that occupies American legislation enforcement and fuels federal spending persists as the public has been bring about think that the terrorism probability is important.

As they convey, it isn't an important threat-certainly now not sufficiently big to justify the large protection kingdom equipment that has emerged to strive against it. the opportunity that an American might be killed via a terrorist locally in any given 12 months is ready one in 4 million (under current conditions). but regardless of this statistically low threat and the extreme quantity of assets placed in the direction of combatting threats, american citizens nonetheless fear and the govt. nonetheless spends billions. until eventually the real risk of household terrorism is known, the rustic can't start to confront even if our pursuit of ghosts is definitely worth the price.

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Extra info for Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism

Sample text

Al-Qaeda may have been seeking to use its singular American recruit to hit its far enemy. He was dedicated to the cause and violence-prone; a former Chicago street thug, he had kicked a fellow gang member to death as a teenager. However, there seem to have been no specific terrorism plans afoot, and Padilla’s skills and mental capacity seem to be quite limited. One case involves an American who may have plotted abroad to do damage in the United States, but was arrested long before he could do so.

S. from overseas,” stated that his chief concern within the United States had now become homegrown groups. 139 Over the ensuing years, the fear of the homegrown escalated to fill the gap and soon became standard. 145 What changed was not a new appearance of the homegrown, but the evaporation, or the discrediting, of the notion that there were a bunch of non-homegrown terrorists abroad in the land. Increasingly Fearing the Lone Wolf There has been another, related development. Public officials have also publicly expressed alarm that the “greatest concern” has now become the “lone wolf” terrorist.

In fact, with perhaps one exception, no one ever seems to even have dreamed of the prospect. The exception is Jose Padilla, arrested in 2002, who apparently mused at one point about creating a dirty bomb—a device that would disperse radiation—or even possibly an atomic one. 96 Even if the weapons were made abroad and then imported, their detonation would require that there be people in-country with the capacity to receive and handle the complicated weapons, and then to set them off. Thus far, the talent pool appears to be, to put it mildly, very thin.

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