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sonz
09-09-2006, 07:33 AM
Here is today's discussion question: Suicide terrorism is primarily caused by Islamic fundamentalism. True or false? Although it seems counter-intuitive, especially given everything we read and hear in the mainstream media, the correct answer is ''false.''

In his recent book, ''DYING TO WIN: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,'' University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape has provided an indispensable public service by collecting data from all 315 suicide terrorist campaigns from 1980 to 2003, involving 462 individuals. His overall finding: The major objective of 95 percent of suicide attacks is to expel foreign military forces from territory that the terrorists perceive as their homeland. There is little connection with Islamic fundamentalism or any of the world religions. The taproot of suicide terrorism is nationalism and it's ''mainly a response to foreign occupation.'' The objective is political self-determination. The Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a secular, clearly anti-religious movement, have committed 76 of the 315 suicide attacks, the most of any group. Their specific goal was an independent homeland in Sri Lanka.


Pape, who has also taught at the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Airpower Studies, convincingly demonstrates that ''suicide terrorist groups are neither primarily criminal groups dedicated to enriching their top leaders, nor religious cults isolated from the rest of their society. Rather, suicide terrorist organizations often command broad social support within the national communities from which they recruit, because they are seen as pursuing legitimate nationalist goals.'' Absent these goals, suicide terrorism rarely occurs.

Only 6 percent of the perpetrators have come from the five countries with the world's largest Islamic fundamentalist populations. (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran and Nigeria). He notes, ''Prior to America's invasion in March 2003, Iraq had never experienced a suicide bombing in its history.'' Further, Pape's demographic profiles of individual suicide terrorists reveals they are not uneducated, poor, mentally unstable, lacking in prospects, or young men expecting to spend paradise in the company of 72 virgins. Almost exactly the opposite is true. The data indicates they have higher incomes, intelligence and education, are deeply integrated into their communities, are highly politically conscious and from widely varied religious backgrounds. A significant minority are female.

Obviously, killing innocents is a morally repugnant act, but the evidence also strongly suggests that these individuals are motivated by a deep sense of duty and view their actions as a sacrifice for a nation's common good, its culture and community goals. Reprehensible, of course. But not caused by religious fervor. Although suicide attacks account for only 3 percent of terrorist incidents, they account for 48 percent of all fatalities. Clearly it's the most deadly manifestation of terrorism and there is every reason to suspect it will increase. It works.

Placing tens of thousands of U.S. troops in the Arabian Peninsula between 1990 and 2001 was the pivotal factor accounting for the Sept. 11 attacks. Pape concludes that given the high correlation between foreign military occupation and suicide terrorist movements, the continued and hated presence of American troops in the region will greatly facilitate terrorist organizers in recruiting fresh volunteers.

My own take is that here we get to the nub of the matter. U.S. military might is concentrated in this region for one reason: He who controls the world's energy resources, especially scarce oil resources, controls the world. He also becomes fabulously wealthy. Permanent military bases in Iraq are crucial to realizing their ends. How much easier, and necessary, for U.S. planners to deceive our citizens that Iraq and all the rest is about a ''war on terrorism'' related to Islamic fundementalism than to reveal the truth about their motives. They're well aware that an enlightened American public would refuse to give our nation's blessing, blood, and treasure to such a nefarious enterprise.

The so-called ''war on terror'' is fatally flawed because its planners are incapable of addressing the real political goals of those employing terrorism. They can't afford to do so. Precious little time remains to reverse a U.S. course of action that virtually guarantees a significant uptick in deadly attacks on Americans, both here and abroad.

Gary Olson, Ph.D., is chair of the Political Science Department at Moravian College in Bethlehem. His e-mail address is olson@moravian.edu.



''His overall finding:

The major objective of 95 percent of suicide attacks is to expel foreign military forces from territory that the terrorists perceive as their homeland.''

http://www.mcall.com/news/opinion/an...notherview-hed
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Trumble
09-09-2006, 09:01 AM
Undoubtably true.

As is the fact that the "war on terror", despite its multitude of flaws, is aimed at such political forces NOT (as is frequently stated on these boards) at Islam.
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sonz
09-09-2006, 09:10 AM
Originally Posted by Trumble
Undoubtably true.

As is the fact that the "war on terror", despite its multitude of flaws, is aimed at such political forces NOT (as is frequently stated on these boards) at Islam.
then why do u see most non-muslims who come on this forum that islam is the motivation for these "suicidebombings" and that "terrorists" are motivated by islam.
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KAding
09-09-2006, 10:27 AM
Originally Posted by sonz
then why do u see most non-muslims who come on this forum that islam is the motivation for these "suicidebombings" and that "terrorists" are motivated by islam.
Do the Muhajideen in Iraq fight for Islam or for Iraq?
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KAding
09-09-2006, 10:29 AM
To answer my own question. I would think they are fighting for the Ummah. So yes, it is nationalistic. But also Islamic. The two don't exclude eachother.
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Ghazi
09-09-2006, 11:52 AM
:sl:

I have to disagree noone can know someone's intentions so i aint got the authority to comment.
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Trumble
09-09-2006, 01:13 PM
Originally Posted by sonz
then why do u see most non-muslims who come on this forum that islam is the motivation for these "suicidebombings" and that "terrorists" are motivated by islam.
Mostly because of ignorance. To be fair, it doesn't help in dispelling that ignorance that a lot of muslims also seem to think that, at least when it is not inconvenient to think it. It should also be acknowledged that, whatever the political motives of their puppeteers, many of the bombers themselves act as they do because they have been convinced it is a religious necessity, or that God-given reward will follow.



Originally Posted by KAding
Do the Muhajideen in Iraq fight for Islam or for Iraq?
In that particular instance I'd argue its neither. The "resistance" is a combination of particular internal political interests (mostly related to the previous regime) and the external interests of assorted foreign imports who just want to kill Americans, and don't care much if they kill Iraqis in the process.
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Keltoi
09-09-2006, 02:57 PM
I watched Pape's lecture at the CATO institute on C-span last night. He does make many good points on the issue of motivation. However, when you consider the many radicalized Muslims who have lived in the Western world all their lives, but who still have a motivation to blow up people and themselves, this explanation doesn't seem to be sufficient. However, it does reinforce something I've believed for a long time, which is that terrorism won't be stopped by bringing change to the Middle East.
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QuranStudy
09-09-2006, 03:48 PM
Robert Pape is a genius. I had the privelege of attending one of his lectures at U Chicago.
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QuranStudy
09-09-2006, 03:51 PM
I watched Pape's lecture at the CATO institute on C-span last night. He does make many good points on the issue of motivation. However, when you consider the many radicalized Muslims who have lived in the Western world all their lives, but who still have a motivation to blow up people and themselves, this explanation doesn't seem to be sufficient.
I saw the lecture as well. I think he was talking about terrorism as existing in Iraq, not terrorism in general. I may be wrong though.

However, it does reinforce something I've believed for a long time, which is that terrorism won't be stopped by bringing change to the Middle East.
Change (ie. bringing in Western influence) will make things worse. Pape nailed it.
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ManchesterFolk
09-10-2006, 03:42 AM
Why do they claim they kill innocent for the "Ummah" then?
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Dahir
09-10-2006, 04:29 AM
Originally Posted by ManchesterFolk
Why do they claim they kill innocent for the "Ummah" then?
Its claims. And to be honest, this whole thing is confusing. I see two sides to every tale.

Which suicide bombers are we talking about first, Al-Qaeda or Hamas. Al-Qaeda does it for the press and for American interest.

Hamas does it in the name of Nationalism, ie, to 'liberate' Palestine, not the entire Islamic world.

my two cents.
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wilberhum
09-11-2006, 09:11 PM
I find it intuitively obvious that “Political Motivation” is the reason. But, why the choice of method? People demonstrate for “Political Motives”. Why demonstrate? Why not kill yourself so you can kill a bunch of people that have little, if anything to do with the problem? To think that “Occupation” or any other single factor is the answer to the question is a far too simplistic answer. Our culture, religion, up bringing, and life events mold us. There are many and complex reasons why they people chose the methods they use. To boil it down to one factor is to ignore the complexity of the situation.
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Keltoi
09-11-2006, 09:45 PM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
I find it intuitively obvious that “Political Motivation” is the reason. But, why the choice of method? People demonstrate for “Political Motives”. Why demonstrate? Why not kill yourself so you can kill a bunch of people that have little, if anything to do with the problem? To think that “Occupation” or any other single factor is the answer to the question is a far too simplistic answer. Our culture, religion, up bringing, and life events mold us. There are many and complex reasons why they people chose the methods they use. To boil it down to one factor is to ignore the complexity of the situation.
Excellent post. The motives Pape mentioned are much to simplistic to be the full answer here. Many peoples have endured similar circumstances and have never resorted to suicide murder. There is something else at play here that trumps these motives.
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Woodrow
09-11-2006, 10:07 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Excellent post. The motives Pape mentioned are much to simplistic to be the full answer here. Many peoples have endured similar circumstances and have never resorted to suicide murder. There is something else at play here that trumps these motives.
There are many factors. But, it is nothing unique to Islam.

Just going back in the events that occured in my own time.

Japan's Kamikaze pilots in the last days of WW2.

The suicide attacks by the Koreans during the Korean conflict.

The children and young mothers with the hidden explosives in Saigon during the Viet-Nam conflict.
I am certain this goes back even further and has taken place in all cultures and all religions at some point in their history.
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Keltoi
09-12-2006, 01:02 AM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
There are many factors. But, it is nothing unique to Islam.

Just going back in the events that occured in my own time.

Japan's Kamikaze pilots in the last days of WW2.

The suicide attacks by the Koreans during the Korean conflict.

The children and young mothers with the hidden explosives in Saigon during the Viet-Nam conflict.
I am certain this goes back even further and has taken place in all cultures and all religions at some point in their history.
I was in no way suggesting that suicide attacks are somehow "special" to Islam. I was looking more into socio-political factors, not religion.
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therebbe
09-13-2006, 12:19 AM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
I was in no way suggesting that suicide attacks are somehow "special" to Islam. I was looking more into socio-political factors, not religion.
Good post.

The japanese also used suicide attacks.
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