The World Trade Center bombing was only one more chapter in a long history of terrorist acts against the United States. The story told here, reaching back to the founding days of the Republic, is both instructive and alarming. Simon uncovers the dynamics of a deadly conflict that affects all of us. 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 the dramas of international violence.
The Terrorist Trap traces the government response to terrorism from the days of Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary pirates to the confrontation of George Bush and Saddam Hussein. 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 return of American hostages from Lebanon, many believed that terrorism was over. But Simon shows how terrorism grows out of political, economic, and social grievances that can never be fully resolved.
Living with terrorism will be an inescapable part of life in the post-Cold War environment. Simon calls on officials to move away from the useless rhetoric of defeating terrorism and to focus instead on achievable goals in combatting this global problem.