2005 Archive

London Bombings Show Need to Fight a 'Network War,' John Yoo Says

In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece July 13, Boalt's John Yoo argues that recent bombings in London serve as an urgent reminder that the United States and its allies face a new kind of opponent in their battle against terrorism. Yoo, an expert in constitutional and international law, says it's important to recognize that al Qaeda is not organized along the lines of a traditional military force or criminal enterprise. Instead, he says, al Qaeda is a social network that functions much the way a large, diverse computer network like the Internet does - as a collection of nodes or hubs capable of both pooling resources and acting independently.

Yoo concludes that understanding al Qaeda's network nature leads to important insights about how to fight it: "In order to prevail, we must develop an offensive strategy that focuses less on controlling territory or cities, none of which al Qaeda possesses, and more on new ways to disrupt and destroy networks."