Washington Post to West: Drop dead. Lie down and die. Don’t you dare fight back against jihad terrorism — that will only lead to…jihad terrorism.
“Fighting terrorism may actually increase the risk of terrorist attacks. Here’s how,” by Thomas Jensen, Washington Post, March 29, 2016:
Days before the Brussels attacks on March 22, Belgian authorities raided the attackers’ safe houses and arrested Salah Abdeslam, who had helped organize the Paris attacks in November. Because of the raids, according to media reports, the attackers struck sooner than they’d originally planned.
Here’s what that shows: Terrorists are rational actors in many ways. They react predictably when circumstances change. To be effective, anti-terrorism authorities need to better understand how terrorists respond when the government acts.
In a recently published research paper, “The timing of terrorist attacks: An optimal stopping approach,” I use a simple mathematical model to study the decision making of autonomous terrorist units. And what we’ve just seen in Brussels illustrates the main finding. As authorities close in on terrorists, uncovering plots and arresting suspects, they will attack sooner so that they’re not caught first. Unfortunately, increasing efforts against terrorism may, in the short term, increase the risk of attacks.
That doesn’t mean anti-terrorist efforts are useless or, worse, dangerous. Belgian authorities found large amounts of explosives and other materials to make bombs – such large amounts, in fact, that apparently the Brussels attackers had originally planned an even more spectacular act, perhaps even an attack on nuclear facilities, although that’s currently just speculation.
But the Brussels attack isn’t the first or only such response as authorities were closing in. Only two weeks after the July 7, 2005, London subway and bus bombings, another terrorist cell tried to carry out a similar plot. The bombs didn’t detonate, however, so no one was hurt or killed. Did that second cell hurry to carry out its attack before it was ready, because London had boosted its anti-terrorism efforts after 7/7 bombings? If so, the British investigation – and the attackers’ rush to stay ahead of the authorities — may have saved lives….