The Military's Role in Counterterrorism: Examples and Implications for Liberal Democracies

  • May 01, 2011
  • Dr Geraint Hughes

The author examines historical and contemporary examples of military involvement in counterterrorism, outlining the specific roles which the armed forces of liberal democracies have performed in combating terrorism, both in a domestic and international context. He describes the political, strategic, conceptual, diplomatic, and ethical problems that can arise when a state’s armed forces become engaged in counterterrorism, and argues that military power can only be employed as part of a coordinated counterterrorist strategy aimed at the containment and frustration—rather than the physical elimination—of the terrorist group(s) concerned.