Saturday, July 16, 2005

The insane war on terror

From an interview by Scott McConnell in The American Conservative of Robert Pape, a man who has studied suicide bombers all over the world and has written a book about suicide bombing called "Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism", here are a few comments by Professor Pape:

"Over the past two years, I have collected the first complete database of every suicide-terrorist attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004. This research is conducted not only in English but also in native-language sources - Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Tamil, and others - so that we can gather information not only from newspapers but also from products from the terrorist community. The terrorists are often quite proud of what they do in their local communities, and they produce albums and all kinds of other information that can be very helpful to understand suicide-terrorist attacks.

This wealth of information creates a new picture about what is motivating suicide terrorism. 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."


and (my emphasis in bold):

"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."


and:

"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."


and:

"I not only study the patterns of where suicide terrorism has occurred but also where it hasn't occurred. Not every foreign occupation has produced suicide terrorism. Why do some and not others? Here is where religion matters, but not quite in the way most people think. In virtually every instance where an occupation has produced a suicide-terrorist campaign, there has been a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied community. That is true not only in places such as Lebanon and in Iraq today but also in Sri Lanka, where it is the Sinhala Buddhists who are having a dispute with the Hindu Tamils."


The West's current problem with terrorism has only one solution, the withdrawal of Western troops from the Middle East and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Occupied Territories. Any time you read somebody writing about the necessity of fighting the 'war on terror', and of the dangers of 'appeasement', you are reading somebody who has a hidden agenda that has nothing to do with stopping terrorism, and everything to do with keeping the occupying troops in place. If it is so important to keep the troops in place - whether it be for American corporate control of the oil fields or the building of an Israeli Empire - the West is going to have to get used to accepting the cost of increasingly severe terrorist attacks. The 'war on terror' as conceived by the neocons is:

  • immoral, as it further punishes the victims of Western aggression;

  • insane, as it advocates stopping terrorism by increasing the activity that caused the terrorism in the first place; and

  • senseless, as it simply cannot be won.

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