Lessons from the Fight Against Terrorism

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon - * Israel considers the morality of counterterrorist measures within the framework of three tests: the "mirror" test, in which the counterterrorist executor asks whether the policy meets his own ethical standards; the "our own society" test, in which a policymaker must consider whether the policy meets the moral standards of his broader society; and the "international" test, which considers whether the policy satisfies internationally recognized moral standards, as well as what would be the response of the international community. * The short-term battle against the terrorists is ultimately a cost-benefit analysis of lives lost versus lives saved by a given operation. Preventing collateral damage while targeting terrorists is therefore essential; during the past five years of conflict, Israel often declined to attack terrorist leaders when they were in densely populated areas for fear of inflicting collateral damage. Yet the consequence for not acting against terrorists due to concern for civilian casualties was often more terrorist attacks and Israeli deaths. * Terrorism can be fought surgically - focusing exclusively on the terrorists - by achieving three advantages: intelligence dominance, which includes the capability to intercept terrorists, foil their financial support systems, and prevent the smuggling of weapons; information dominance, which includes the ability to deliver the intelligence to decision makers, so intelligence can be used effectively and quickly; and operational flexibility and creativity, which include the ability of all arms of the military to arrest or kill terrorists on short notice. * Effective counterterrorism should be based on two guiding principles. The first is that the best defense is a good offense. The second is the imperative never to surrender to terrorism.

2006-01-03 00:00:00

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