September 13, 2013 by Jason Kornwitz
Why do some militant groups continue to use terrorism when it’s politically ineffective, even counterproductive? The answer lies in their leadership deficits, according to Max Abrahms, a terrorism theorist and newly appointed assistant professor of political science whose research over the last decade has thoroughly examined the question.
“Foot soldiers are generally not as smart as their leaders and have fewer incentives against harming civilians,” he explained. “When they gain tactical autonomy within the organization, they become more likely to commit the strategic folly of targeting civilians.”