Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America's War Against Terrorism

David C. Martin, Author, John L. Walcott, With HarperCollins Publishers $22.5 (392p) ISBN 978-0-06-015877-4
This is at once a survey of terrorist incidents involving U.S. citizens and a review of the Reagan administration's attempts to formulate a coherent and effective counterterrorist policy. The authors show ``the American Gulliver being run ragged by Lilliputian terrorists'' and charge the president with confusing the war against terrorism with the war against Communism, as well as confusing the emotionalism of the phenomenon with its true significance. They contend that the damage caused by terrorist activity, aside from the suffering of its victims and families, has been slight, and that its power lies ``almost exclusively in the fear it creates.'' Martin and Walcott express skepticism that the Pentagon can devise an effective military counter to terrorism and suggest that terrorism does not threaten our national security although it does menace international law and order. ``Diplomacy and law enforcement,'' they argue, ``must be the cornerstones of any successful attempt to contain international terrorism.'' Martin (Wilderness of Mirrors) is CBS Pentagon correspondent, Walcott national security correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
Paperback - 392 pages - 978-0-671-68642-0
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