This research article by Satya P. Das and Sajal Lahiri illustrates the limitation of a military, more specifically preemptive-attacks approach, to address the terrorism problem. Direct military approach towards terrorism entails considerable collateral damage, which may prove costly, politically and otherwise, to the attacking nations as long as they are not dictatorial. This translates into “increasing marginal cost” in terms of economics. It is shown that as long as preemptive measures to tackle terrorism have increasing marginal cost, it is impossible to “win” the war on terror, defined in a precise way.

The article thus questions the merit of the old dictum: “attack is best defense.” It shows that a military approach combined with diplomatic, reconciliatory means in terms of meeting “legitimate” demand of terror groups has a greater chance of solving the terrorism problem or winning the “war on terror.”