The bombings of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and of the World Trade Center in New York City have joined a long history of terrorists acts against the United States. In this newly updated edition of his book, Jeffrey Simon reaches back to the founding days of the Republic to tell a story that is both instructive and alarming. Simon uncovers the dynamics of a deadly conflict that affects all Americans. His in-depth interviews with terrorists and their victims, with reporters, government officials, and others bring to life a tale of presidents and terrorists, media and society, all entangled in a drama of international violence.
The Terrorist Trap traces the government response to terrorism from the days of Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates to William Jefferson Clinton's confrontation with homegrown terrorism. It explores the terrorist trap: the psychological, political, and social elements that make terrorism unlike any other conflict. With the end of the Cold War and the defeat of Saddam Hussein's army in the Gulf War, many believed that the threat of terrorism had been significantly reduced. But Simon shows how terrorism grows out of political, economic, and social grievances that can never befully resolved, as events in Israel and elsewhere continue to demonstrate. Living with terrorism will be an inescapable part of life in the twenty-first century. Simon calls on officials to move away from the useless rhetoric of defeating terrorism and to focus instead on achievable goals in combating this global problem.
Reviews of the first edition: "A solid, commonsense look at a phenomenon capable of producing the strongest emotions... Simon's predictions for the future, and what our responses should be, seem reasoned and right. Informative." Booklist "In a disturbing, timely, compelling report, [Simon] scrutinizes America's response to terrorism ... he outlines steps that governments, intelligence agencies and the news media can take to reduce terrorists' psychological advantage and to thwart their actions." Publishers Weekly (starred review) "The first edition of this book was written in 1994, which means that much more recent information about terrorism is absent and the author provides, in part, a useful snapshot of the attitudes of the time... Lots of information, pro-US analysis, selective omissions, and one warning about "aerial terrorism"--written in 1994--who says the Bush administration had no clues about what might happen to tall buildings in New York? This is a purportedly academic text intended to underwrite US ideology--a typical example of the genre."--Morning Star, 20 August 2002