The Riskiest Kind of Operation

Governments get tougher with terrorists, but will it do any good?

The Egyptian assault on the Malta hijackers was the third indication in eight weeks that governments have decided that the best way to beat terrorism is to fight fire with fire. So far the results have been mixed. In the celebrated air interception of the four Palestinians who took over the Achille Lauro, U.S. anger and decisiveness yielded a spectacular victory without bloodshed. But in the Colombian government's Nov. 6 assault on M-19 terrorists holed up in the country's Palace of Justice, and again in Malta last week, the responses produced triumphs that could just as easily be termed disasters.


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