New book calls for bold new response to terrorism

Author: Arts and Letters

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The two University of Notre Dame scholars whose research demonstrated – before the Iraq war – that it was highly unlikely there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are co-editors of a new book on counterterrorism.

In “Uniting Against Terror: Cooperative Nonmilitary Responses to the Global Terrorist Threat,” just released by MIT Press, George A. Lopez and David Cortright argue that winning the fight against global terrorism requires a bold new strategy – one based on cooperation rather than military might.

“The punish-and-destroy model is not the answer,” Lopez said. “Despite six years of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorist attacks and suicide bombings are on the rise. Diplomatic strategies can and do work effectively, but they have been overshadowed by the constant drumbeat of war.”

“Uniting Against Terror” examines diplomatic and economic responses that have worked since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, especially those of the United Nations, the Financial Action Task Force, the European Union, and a wide array of multilateral institutions. It also addresses the changing face of terrorism and al-Qaida and recommends effective nonmilitary counterterrorism strategies.

The book includes a foreword by former U.S. Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, co-chair of the 9/11 Commission that studied in-depth the rise of al-Qaida. More recently, Hamilton co-chaired the Iraq Study Group.

“Lopez and Cortright have done a huge service to all those interested in pursuing the pros and cons of an activist foreign policy, short of the recourse to war,” said A. Peter Burleigh, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The book is not a critique of U.S. policy, the editors said. Instead, “we question the utility of the big military front and ask why we shun the reality that, since 9/11, cooperative economic, diplomatic and police operations have been very effective in reducing terrorism,” Lopez said. “Unilateral military action may feel good, but it is quickly counterproductive.”

Lopez is the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor of Peace Studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Cortright is a research fellow at the Kroc Institute and president of the Fourth Freedom Forum.

In 2002, before the Iraq war, Lopez and Cortright analyzed U.N. reports and other sources that detailed what weapons and materials had been identified and destroyed in Iraq. They then published articles showing that sanctions had succeeded in dismantling the Iraqi regime’s weapons program.

Lopez and Cortright have published extensively on the use of targeted sanctions for counterterrorism. They work closely with the U.N. and European governments and agencies on the implementation of sanctions as an alternative to military intervention.

Contact: George Lopez, 574-631-6972, or David Cortright, 574-631-8536, .

Originally published by Joan Fallon at on September 05, 2007.