In many ways, the issue of terrorism transcends policy analysis; it also raises fundamental philosophical questions about the worth of individual human life when a person is held hostage, the existence and importance of American values as a constraint on operations even against those who are terrorists, the credibility of American diplomacy, the utility of military force, and the legitimacy of assassination. This Note touches upon these questions as it addresses the policy issues that are likely to confront the Bush Administration. Although rooted in analysis, it offers the author's personal view. In particular, he discusses the options available when terrorism is viewed as crime or as war; considers whether military force should be used; evaluates the use of covert operations against terrorists; outlines the problems associated with securing the release of hostages; and reviews the chances for sustaining international cooperation against terrorism. Finally, the author cautions about the domestic terrorism of gang violence associated with drug trafficking.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.
This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.