POLITICAL TERRORISM: The Offer You Could Refuse by

POLITICAL TERRORISM: The Offer You Could Refuse

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Watson writes about what he terms the big brainwash: terrorism. Unlike John Ellis (A Short History of Guerrilla Warfare, p. 165) he is not interested in the social and historical conditions which generate violent irregular fighting forces; nor does he waste his time differentiating guerrillas from terrorists. The various Palestinian groups, the Tupemaros, the SLA are all one to him. A retired Army officer, Watson maps a ""counter-strategy"" which will deprive the terrorists of their initiatives by rallying the people behind ""basic values."" The first and most crucial step is an attack on the prevailing ""rhetoric of vilification"" directed at society's institutions. If this is not dammed, propaganda and recruitment will follow and then--bombings, kidnappings, hijackings, blood in the streets. Government can't do it alone; a grass-roots movement is necessary to discredit the discreditors. Already churches, business groups, the media are unwittingly abetting the pestilence. ""Simplicity and sincerity"" is the keystone of the defense Watson envisions, starting with the ""nuclear-family with well-defined sex roles"" and ""professionalism"" among law enforcement personnel--who will, however, be needing ""sophisticated weapons and communications equipment."" Watson lacks the intellectual ballast of Brian Crozier (,4 Theory of Conflict, 1975), a far more sophisticated strategist of counterinsurgency; his muzzy sense of who the enemy is, and how it is perceived by the public doesn't bespeak much faith in the good sense of the people--in America, or anywhere else.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1976
Publisher: McKay