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For more than ten years the so-called Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has been shaping not only national security strategies, but also influenced the definition of the enemy being fought as well as the nature of and boundaries between tactics used in this war. While the discussion about anti-terror strategies and tactics on the political level is ongoing, (empirical) research on the efficiency and effectiveness of these measures is still limited. In our article, we examine the relative impact two counter-terrorism approaches – killing and capturing – have on several measures of effectiveness. Scrutinizing data from 2001-2011 in numerous specifications, we empirically test to what extent these tactics may have different effects on different aspects of terrorism. The primary finding of our analysis is that both killing and capturing have components that have significant positive effects, but that these effects vary based on the specifics of who states target as well as the terrorists’ own targeting strategies. The most interesting specific findings are that drone strikes seem counter-productive for counterterrorism and that renditions seem effective, but that traditional policing through enhanced defenses has the largest effects, which are both positive and negative depending on where one lives.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.