Testimony Before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Regarding Senate Bill Against Terrorism, January 27, 1978

by Brian Michael Jenkins

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Abstract

The author believes that terrorist tactics will persist as a mode of political expression, of gaining international attention, and of achieving limited political goals. Unique problems involved in combatting terrorism are enumerated, among them the fact that the terrorist adversary does not act according to established rules of warfare or diplomacy. Although lessons can and should be learned and contingency plans formulated, there can be no prescribed course of action based on prior terrorist episodes. The author suggests consideration of a small permanent staff to support the proposed Council to Combat Terrorism and details its advantages. He concludes that the fight against terrorism will remain a continuing task, that governments must be flexible when dealing with terrorism, and that, above all, they must demonstrate that they and not the terrorists are in charge.

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