James Leroy Wilson's blog

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Logic of Suicide Terrorism

Surprise, surprise. Terrorism expert Richard Pape of the U. of Chicago is interviewed in the American Conservatie, showing that:

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.


Not so surprising, is it? Terrorism can't be applied to a non-democracy, because there are few means to apply public pressure on the government to change the policies that instigated the terrorism.

Also, the self-sacrifice of suicide terrorism doesn't need a primarily religious motive. People sacrifice themselves for political and geo-strategic reasons, and to inflict damage on the enemy, all the time. Remember the Alamo.

"If I blow myself up on a bus (or in a crowded market, or wherever), maybe that will be the last straw and the occupiers will come to the negotiating table (or leave). Innocent people will die, but not as many as would die if the occupation persists."

For one really committed to the cause, and for ill-equipped resistance movements, this would make a lot of sense.

For terrorism to go away, democracies have to leave countries where they're not wanted.

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