Re "Why We Talk to Terrorists" (op-ed, June 30): Scott Atran and Robert Axelrod deftly try to justify their direct contact with the leader of the terrorist organization Hamas as an effort to build understanding. Essentially, they argue that no matter the extent of death and destruction terrorism causes, something good will always come from sitting down and chatting with terrorists.
The professors seem blind to the possibility their actions could embolden their terrorist interlocutors to prolong their murderous enterprise or be seen as conferring legitimacy on groups and behaviors which are far beyond any acceptable norms. Why should Atran and Axelrod believe what they were told by Khaled Meshal? Why should Meshal level with Atran and Axelrod?
The demonstrable dangers inherent in the interaction Atran and Axelrod advocate far outweigh the naïve hope that they will be able to convince the Meshals of the world to give up their terrorist aims, or the supposed advantage of better understanding why these groups want to fight us.
The Anti-Defamation League
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