Suicide or Homicide?I don't know if anyone remembers a few years back, when there was a brief Fad amongst Fox News and Bush Administration officials to try and dub suicide bombings as "Homicide Bombings". At the time, I thought it was simply another moronic attempt to eliminate any possible sympathy with the killer, and focus on the victims. But naturally, there's mre to it than meets the eye.
Via Past Peak and Xymorphia, I came across an interview in The American Conservative Magazine, with University of Chicago Associate Professor Robert Pape. Pape has written a book called Dying to Win, which examines the underlying assumptions about suicide bombings, and comes to some interesting conclusions.
From the interview:
Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated with suicide terrorism as many people think. The world leader in suicide terrorism is a group that you may not be familiar with: the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.So quite obviously, the issue is not so much the homicide part, but the suicide part of these attacks that separates them from other acts of terrorism. It also seems eerily precient to try and confuse that connection while planning on occupying Iraq.
The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign — over 95 percent of all the incidents — has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.
This information tells us that most are walk-in volunteers. Very few are criminals. Few are actually longtime members of a terrorist group. For most suicide terrorists, their first experience with violence is their very own suicide-terrorist attack.
Many people worry that once a large number of suicide terrorists have acted that it is impossible to wind it down. The history of the last 20 years, however, shows the opposite. Once the occupying forces withdraw from the homeland territory of the terrorists, they often stop — and often on a dime.