A Case for Empathy in Counterterrorism

A lot has been written about empathy as the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. I want to write about empathy as the cornerstone of successful counterterrorism.

When many of us think of homeland security, we think in terms of being tough, assertive, defensive, or/and offensive; we think in terms of countering terrorism with force designed to bring the “bad guys” to their knees. Conversely, when we think of empathy, we think “bleeding heart liberals,” humanism, “softies,” accepting the deplorable and the unacceptable.

It turns out that empathy can be a fantastically powerful tool in understanding complex issues and in making crucial decisions in a variety of situations—including in the fight against terrorists.