Terrorism and America: A Commonsense Strategy for a Democratic Society

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The bombings of the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City federal building have shown that terrorist attacks can happen anywhere in the United States.

Around the globe, massacres, hijackings, and bombings of airliners are frequent reminders of the threat of terrorism. The use of poison gas in the Tokyo subway has raised the specter of even more horrible forms of terror — including the use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.In this book, Philip Heymann argues that the United States and other democracies can fight terrorism while preserving liberty and maintaining a healthy, unified society. Drawing on his experience in the US Departments of State and Justice, he shows how domestic and foreign intelligence-gathering can thwart terrorism, how the United States must cooperate and share information with its allies, and how terrorism can be prevented in many cases. Terrorism will never disappear completely, but the policies Heymann offers can limit the harm to Americans and protect the integrity of US governmental processes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A useful contribution to the growing body of work on terrorism." Ronald Payne Times Literary Supplement
Ronald Payne
Reading Philip Heymann's book is a useful antidote to the apocalyptic warnings of the more excitable terror analysts. Heymann surveys a scene too often clouded by emotion, panic and overhasty reactions with a clear head and cool logic. He stresses the importance of prevention, the need for good intelligence work and determination in prosecuting the guilty. Had President Bill Clinton consulted him before launching his missile strikes, I fancy Heymann would have recommended caution, for he doubts whether it is legitimate to justify such action with a plea of self-defense.
The European, September 7-13, 1998
Seth G. Jones
At precisely 1:30 p.m. Eastern time (7:30 p.m. in Sudan and 10 p.m. in Afghanistan a barrage of Tomahawk sea-launched cruise missiles, with turbofan engines purring, slammed into their respective targets. These actions, authorized by President Clinton a response to the Aug. 7 bombings of United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in particular, and to future terrorist plans against the US in general offer an apropos moment to reconsider terrorism and America's role in combating it. And this is just what Philip B. Heymann, a professor at Harvard Law School, succinctly does in Terrorism and America: A Commonsense Strategy for a Democratic Society... Heymann's book is a step in the right direction.
The Christian Science Monitor, September 3, 1998
James Pontuso
... the best part of the book carefully considers the consequences of reprisals against terrorists. What might occur if we respond with force? What could happen if we do not? Should we conspire to assassinate terrorists, capture them, imprison them? Heymann argues that there are no easy answers to these questions and that we must be guided by a prudent calculation of the circumstances.
The Times Higher Education Supplement, February 19, 1999
The Times Literary Supplement
Philip Heymann's thoughtful book Terrorism and America concentrates on transatlantic political violence... Heymann, well aware of the new threats, keeps a clear head, insisting that the complicated strategy needed to master terrorism must be one `that respects law and is concerned for life, liberty, and unity'.
— January 15, 1999
Carlin Romano
Terrorism and America thus offers perhaps the clearest, leanest, most even-toned account yet published of U.S. policy considerations about terrorism.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 1999
Gideon Rose
Terrorism and America gives us a sensible guide to how the U.S. government should respond.
Foreign Affairs, March/April 1999
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Philip B. Heymann is James Barr Ames Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a former Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He is author of Terrorism, Freedom, and Security (2003) and Preserving Liberty in an Age of Terror (2005), both published by the MIT Press.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 An Introduction to Terrorism 1
Ch. 2 The Special Problems Presented by International Terrorism 19
Ch. 3 Hostage and Other Negotiations 35
Ch. 4 International Cooperation in Preventing and Punishing Terrorism 47
Ch. 5 State-Sponsored Terrorism and Retaliation 65
Ch. 6 Prevention of Terrorism: An Overview 79
Ch. 7 Using the Criminal Justice System to Catch and Punish 105
Ch. 8 Domestic Intelligence-Gathering and Processing in the United States 129
Ch. 9 A Strategy of Common Sense 153
Notes 159
Index 167
About the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs 180
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