Understanding narratives – the reality of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency

Understanding narratives – the reality of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency

The Prime Minister, towards the end of his initial comments, said: “In sum, we must frustrate the terrorists with our security, we must beat them militarily, we must address the poisonous narrative they feed on, we must close down the ungoverned space in which they thrive, and we must deal with the grievances that they use to garner support. … Pre-defined categories and questions can be too directive – gaining us at best answers that fit within our previous suspicions, at worst allowing the people we’re hearing the opportunity to give us the stories they think we want to hear. (cf The Hoaxing of Margaret Mead) The poisonous narrative is a tempting but dangerous notion.