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Right on point.

THE PIECE CALLED "A FINER POINT" IN "News and Trends" (January) was, if you will pardon the pun, right on point. There are many words, phrases, and terms that get confused or misapplied, and those in the article were perfect examples.

I would ask that you consider the now ubiquitous terms "counter or countering terrorism" and "preventing or prevention of terrorism." Since September 11 these terms have become the raison d'etre to justify or support initiatives that may or may not have relevance to the underlying issue of terrorism.

Countering terrorism, to me at least, means taking direct forceful action (military or covert programs) against a terrorist or a terrorist organization. Countering terrorism falls within the dominion of the military or those national security services that employ covert paramilitary type operations.

On the other hand, prevention or preventing terrorism implies those steps and activities that will identify areas or conditions that are susceptible to terrorist actions, activities that can provide support or infrastructure needs for terrorists or their operations and developing programs to monitor or control those areas or conditions.

A firefighter counters fire but the fire prevention programs and those who carry them out are attempting to prevent fires from starting. When I hear organizations that are neither equipped nor trained to counter terrorism say that they are so engaged, I become alarmed. I believe it was Aristotle who, when asked about the process to rational thought, said, "First, we must define the terms."


Security Consultant

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Maher, Mathew J.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:May 1, 2005
Previous Article:Failure to communicate?
Next Article:What is critical infrastructure, anyway?

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