Sunday, July 17, 2005

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.
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.
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.


At 9:56 PM, Blogger trollafrogg said...


At 8:05 AM, Blogger Bryce said...

So it is not the promise of 40 virgins?

At 9:15 PM, Blogger : Joseph j7uy5 said...

I doubt that anyone really unerstands suicide bombing, for the same reason that no one understands suicide. You can't interview the successful ones.

It is important to recognize, though, that American soliers often have engaged in behavior that was tantamount to suicide. Mass charges in trench warfare often were futile, yet plenty of our guys did it upon command.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Well, usually it's both, of course. I think the labelling gets important - a "homicide bomber" sounds much nastier; a "suicide bomber" might be sympathetic (note the 'might').

As for motivation - people from many religious traditions have been suicide bombers in the past, so it's not any one specific promise. It may have something to do with Generic Religion's promise that life after death will contain some sort of reward, but in some cases it seems to be a cold political decision. And as joseph j7uy5 said, many American soldiers have basically committed suicide in battle, though not in suicide bombings. It's a reaction to overwhelming odds and to having something worth dying for.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Lindsay Beyerstein said...

Fascinating. Thanks for posting about this.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger moke said...

***We need to remember the past. I saw a article that hit the nail on the head of who Obama really is. Here it is***

Barack Obama, The Big Talker, Is A Living Lie

By: Thomas Sowell

An e-mail from a reader said that, while Hillary Clinton tells lies, Barack Obama is himself a lie. That is becoming painfully apparent with each new revelation of how drastically his carefully crafted image this election year contrasts with what he has actually been saying and doing for many years.

Sen. Obama's election-year image is that of a man who can bring the country together, overcoming differences of party or race, as well as solving our international problems by talking with Iran and other countries with which we are at odds, and performing other miscellaneous miracles as needed.

There is, of course, not a speck of evidence that Obama has ever transcended party differences in the United States Senate. Voting records analyzed by the National Journal show him to be the farthest left of anyone in the Senate. Nor has he sponsored any significant bipartisan legislation-or any other significant legislation, for that matter.

Obama is all talk-glib talk, exciting talk, confident talk, but still just talk. Some of his recent talk has stirred up controversy because it revealed yet another blatant contradiction between Obama's public image and his reality.

Speaking privately to supporters in heavily left-liberal San Francisco, Obama let down his hair and described working class people in Pennsylvania as so "bitter" that they "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them."

Like so much that Obama has said and done over the years, this is standard stuff on the far left, where guns and religion are regarded as signs of psychological dysfunction - and where opinions different from those of the left are ascribed to emotions ("bitter" in this case), rather than to arguments that need to be answered.

Like so many others on the left, Obama rejects "steriotypes" when they are stereotypes he doesn't like but blithely throws around his own stereotypes about "a typical white person" or "Bitter" gun-toting, religious and racist working-class people.

In politics, the clearer statement is, the more certain it is to be followed by a "clarification," when people react adversely to what was plainly said. Obama and his supporters were still busy "clarifying" Jeremiah Wright's very plain statements when it suddenly became necessary to "clarify" Obama's own statements in San Francisco.

People who have been cheering whistle-blowers for years have suddenly denounced the person who blew the whistle on what Obama said in private that is so contradictory to what he has been saying in public.

However inconsistent Obama's words, his behavior has been remarkably consistent over the years. He has sought out and joined with the radical, anti-western left, whether Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers of the terrorist Weatherman underground or pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli Rashid Khalidi.

Obama is also part of a long tradition on the left of being for the working class in the abstract, or as people potentially useful for the purposes of the left, but having disdain or contempt for them as human beings.

"The working class," said Karl Marx "is revolutionary or it is nothing." That is, they mattered only insofar as they were willing to carry out the Marzist agenda.

Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw included the working class among the "detestable" people who "have no right to live." He added: "I should despair if I did not know that they will all die presently, and that there is no need on earth why they should, be replaced by people like themselves."

Similar statements on the left go back as far as Jean Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century and come forward into our own times.

It is understandable that young people are so strongly attracted to Obama. Youth is another name for inexperience–and experience is what is most needed when dealing with skillful and charismatic demagogues.

Those of us old enough to have seen the type again and again over the years can no longer find them exciting. Instead, they are as tedious as they are dangerous.
Mike | 04.18.08 - 7:59 am | #


***We have to consider if we want our kids growing up in a Morally detestable US. Is that the world you want to raise your kids in where anything goes. You have to ask yourself that. Obama is talking how he is going to bring the US together but if you check his voting record he is the most Liberal in the senate! How is he going to bring everybody together when he can't be bipartisan himself! There is a major problem with what he is saying. We all have the vote and we have to put somebody in office that is going to be bipartisan to make both sides happy. I'm saying this with love and not hate. I'm a born again christian and I believe in loving people no matter what. Let's debate and be kind to each other because when you say the things that you do about religion and race that pours gas on the fire. Now what Obama has said is direct quotes and those things need to be reported and not hide. Please let's elect the right person that will take America to the next level. Thanks,
Mike | 04.18.08 - 8:45 am | #


***I want to talk about our civil liberities we have. If the Liberal-left have there way we are going to lose our civil liberties one by one. In other words the freedoms we hold so dear will become illegal. We have to be careful of that. Do you really want the Goverment (Big Government) in your business constantly telling you how to live your life. Absolutely note!!! Also lets talk about Univeral Healthcare. The problem with what Obama and Clinton is talking about is that it will raise taxes on everybody not just the rich. Early estimates are if your at a 30% tax rate now that it would jump up to 45% or higher. Also if you give everybody free healthcare what do you think would happen? The quality of healthcare would go down. Also let me give you this annalogy. What do you think would happen if Mcdonalds decided everyday from Noon to 2 that they would give out a free hamburger and fries? It would be a mad house at McDonalds. The same thing would happen with the Healthcare Industry. For instance when you tried to make a appointment you might have to wait days or weeks or Months just to get seen. Think about this when you vote.

Also I want to bring up a situation that happened to me recently. There is a black neighbor I have and I was outside talking to him and he said that he was voting for Obama. And I said "Well why are you voting for him." And he said because he is black and I asked him "Don't you know what he stands for." And he said no. I think this is a very dangerous reason to vote for someone when you don't even know what the man stands for. I just thought I would share this with you. Thanks, God Bless.
Mike | 04.18.08 - 9:18 am | #


***I also saw this Obama website that said don't look at certain news people like Glen Beck Fox News, Etc. How are you going to have a objective point of view if you don't watch all of the shows. Also isn't Obama saying he is going to be bipartsan and bring the country together? How is he going to do that if he is telling you not to watch those shows!!!. Thanks, God Bless
Mike | 04.18.08 - 9:51 am | #


At 8:23 PM, Blogger The Chemist said...

Moke, where I come from, that's called spam. Only I think I prefer the kind that offers penis enlargement.


Actually the concept of the 70 virgins is not at all prevalent in the rhetoric of Islamists. It's not really regarded as gospel by Muslims in general. It's more a poorly sourced quote attributed to Muhammed that the West has latched on to for a variety of reasons.


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