Berman does not ignore the potential pitfalls of these approaches. In one telling anecdote, he recounts how a U.S. officer in Iraq launched a program of paying citizens to sweep local streets. The officer earned high praise, but not for coalition forces. Credit went to Iraqi extremist Muqtada al-Sadr, whose cadres had quietly convinced the citizenry that he, not U.S. forces, was responsible.
However valid Berman’s insights, they illuminate only some of the many variables leading to terrorist action. Studies of terrorists and other extremists suggest that many appear overwhelmed by religious fervor. Also, like all humans, they are motivated by many factors. The text, however, is worthwhile for security professionals in that it offers a novel, intriguing take on a highly complex problem that we all hope to defeat.
Reviewer: James T. Dunne, CPP, is a senior analyst with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. He is a member of the ASIS International Global Terrorism, Political Instability, and International Crime Council. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the State Department or the U.S. Government.