View Full Version : Training to imagine and think harder

11-22-2014, 08:20 PM
A rather curious NYMag article on a training course:
Camp Jihad: A ragtag army of cops, soldiers, and G.I. Joe wannabes play terrorist for a week in a counterintuitive counterterrorism program.

The best bit comes at the end in the last two paragraphs:
When I ask what he’ll take back with him to the force, he says, “The worst thing in law enforcement is to say ‘That will never happen.’ What I take from this is, we’ve never got to stop thinking of all the different ways bad things can happen to us.”

It’s a disappointing answer, given that I had hoped this course might reveal some radical new insight for combating terrorism. But there’s reason to be heartened by it, too. If there’s a common theme unifying America’s blunders in the war on terrorism—from missing the warning signs before 9/11 to misreading the strength of the insurgency in Iraq—it’s a lack of imagination. We have consistently failed to conceive of an enemy who is as resourceful and clever as we consider ourselves to be. If cops like Dan, and his fellow students, can understand this and change their way of thinking, maybe it’s not too late for those leading the war.