Bring It On, and On, and On

In general, terrorism is a violent tool in a political struggle, where one side is overmatched in conventional terms. Robert Pape, author of the new book, Dying to Win, reviewed 315 suicide bombing attacks between 1983 and 2003 and found that virtually all of them had “a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel democracies to withdraw military forces from the terrorists’ national homeland.”


Observes Robert Pape: “Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us… Suicide terrorism is not a supply-limited phenomenon where there are just a few hundred around the world willing to do it because they are religious fanatics. It is a demand-driven phenomenon.”


I guess that this is the crux of the matter. Now days, we are paying the price for years of mismangment of foriegn affairs by ourselves and the Eurpoeans. There are real reasons that we are hated in portions of the world. It’s not just because we are wealthy (altho that does not help) and it’s not because we are of a diffrent religion. It’s because of our hubris.

1 thought on “Bring It On, and On, and On”

  1. Saying that they want democracies to withdraw forces from their ‘national homeland’ is so vague as to be useless.

    It could be used to describe just about anything that is done against a democracy.

    Bin Laden, for example, was most enraged about our bases in Saudi Arabia. These bases were there with the agreement of the Saudi Government, the U.S. was certainly not ‘occupying’ Saudi Arabia.

    Of course the Madrid bombings, although not suicide bombings, were partially justified by a demand for the withdrawal of all Spanish military forces from the Islamic land of Al-Andalusia.

    It might be instructive to think about why Bin Laden, who disliked U.S. military bases in Saudi acted differently than, for example, fringe groups in Germany who dislike our military bases there.

    It might also be instructive to think about why Bin Laden dislike U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia in the first place. We certainly weren’t directly oppressing the Saudi people with our military. We were perhaps ‘polluting sacred groud’ but if that is the reason it would be a religious motivation, contrary to the point of these quotes. One can also look at claims that ‘globalization’ is causing culteral pollution, but that ends up being both a core hatred of freedom and a belief in religious ideology to an extraordinary degree.

    In the case of Saudi, one could argue that the Saudi Government itself is corrupt and we are facilitating it in oppressing its own people. I would have sympathy for that arguement, but not from Bin Laden. We have seen his ideal state in Taliban Afghanistan, and it is apparent that he feels that the Saudis allow too much, not too little, freedom for the Saudi people.

    As for the idea that the way to defeat this tactic is to give into their demands, it is probably true that it would work. If the mere threat of a suicide attack would cause capitulation to any demands, then I presume that no actual suicide attacks would take place. That of course doesn’t make this a particularly unique situation. If the threat of any military tactic would promote such dramatic capitulation, the threat would be sufficient and that particular tactic would never need to be used.

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