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  • Technorati: graph / links

    What motivates suicide bombers? A study shows…


    by Sunny
    6th April, 2010 at 10:30 am    

    From someone who has actually done some research and doesn’t just spout off on the internet based on hunches:

    Robert Pape, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, argued in his 2005 book Dying to Win: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism that suicide bombers are motivated not so much by Islamist (or any other kind of religious) fervor but, rather, by anger at foreign troops occupying their land.

    Since then, as founding director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, Pape has collected and analyzed a database of 2,668 suicide bombings carried out between 1980 and 2009—which has confirmed, even strengthened, his initial theory.

    It turns out, Pape told me in a phone conversation today, that 96 percent of those suicide bombers were engaging in what they saw as acts of nationalist resistance to foreign military occupation; most of them were living within a few miles of where the bombing took place.

    I’ll come back to the idea of nationalist resistance very soon. But the point here is that research shows that foreign policy and regional / local instability has a huge impact on the likelihood of terrorism. The Moscow terrorist bombers were Chechen, and furthermore one of the women had her husband killed by Russian forces earlier.

    The question then is: what kind of nationalist resistance is acceptable and what isn’t. Anyone who says any kind of resistance is unacceptable when your country is being occupied is either a fool or highly naive.


                  Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: Current affairs,Terrorism






    61 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Moscow bombings and motivation at Random Variable

      [...] at Pickled Politics, Sunny Hundal cites Robert Pape’s Dying to Win (or at least Slate’s Fred Kaplan’s reading of it) to make [...]


    2. Yakoub Islam

      What motivates suicide bombers? A study shows…( Robert Pape, 'Dying to Win: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism', 2005) - PP: http://ow.ly/1wm60




    1. Obnoxio The Clown — on 6th April, 2010 at 10:37 am  

      So he spoke to them after the event to find out why they did it?

    2. Ravi Naik — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:02 am  

      The question then is: what kind of nationalist resistance is acceptable and what isn’t.

      The kind that kills innocent civilians?

    3. platinum786 — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:18 am  

      Obnoxious The clown: Many suicide bombers, especially nowadays leave videos, notes, the one’s you’d refer to to prove that they did it to please Allah or whatever terms you’d use to malign the Muslim faith.

    4. George — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:26 am  

      “suicide bombers are motivated not so much by Islamist (or any other kind of religious) fervor but, rather, by anger at foreign troops occupying their land.”

      Pape’s analysis is interesting, but it is seriously undermined by a failure to understand the nature of Islamism. Islamism is not religious, it is a political ideology and therefore, when he says that suicide bombers are motivated by “nationalist resistance”, we have to ask what “nation” they are talking about there.

      If, for example, they are talking about their “nation” being the “Ummah” and “Muslim lands” as being “their land” that they want to liberate (rather than a modern nation state akin to France in World War 2) then we need to understand the role that “Islamist fervour” would have in shaping that particular mindset which acts as a prism for interpreting a legitimate grievance (Russian policy in Muslim majority areas of the Russian Federation) and turn it into a call for religiously justified violence.

    5. cjcjc — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:30 am  

      Who was occupying Dewsbury in July 2005?

    6. George — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:30 am  

      With Chechnya/Dagestan it is particularly interesting because the rebel groups appear to have been ‘Islamised’ over the past decade. Whereas the leading groups once had narrowly defined political goals, now Islamist groups like the Black Widows (who carried our the most recent attack) appear to have come to the fore.

      What we have to remember with the Black Widows is that these are not women simply avenging the deaths of their husbands, they are the wives of avowed terrorists who had adopted the Islamist ideology before their husbands were killed by security forces. Recent photos of one of the Moscow subway attackers from when her husband was alive has made this abundantly clear.

      Thus their grievance (death of loved one) is undoubtedly real, but their reaction (suicide bombing) is shaped through the prism of the Islamist ideology which they had accepted prior to the death of their loved one.

    7. soru — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:32 am  

      The basic error with Page is that he puts the cart before the horse, gets the causal relation backwards.

      How many of the areas he has measured were really seen as ‘under foreign military occupation’ before the suicide suicide bombing campaign kicked off?

      How many areas under military occupation are there with no suicide bombers?

      Can anyone name one country in the world that doesn’t have some kind of group with some kind of more or less justified grievance? Does anyone really doubt that if that group systematically took up arms in that way, there would be a response of soldiers and checkpoints and so on?

      Suicide bombings cause military occupations, not vice versa.

    8. Random Guy — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:32 am  

      Wow, it only took about 9 years for them to come up with the research proving what everyone already knows (well, everyone with independent thought that is).

    9. Mango — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:34 am  

      The most prolific and effective suicide bombers were the recently annihilated LTTE (Tamil Tigers). No religious rewards or dancing virgins awaited the LTTE SBs on the completion of their mission. Only the grateful thanks of the LTTE leadership & ‘people’. The LTTE is a wholly secular (albeit racist) terrorist group.

      So, blaming Islam for SBs is just daft.

      I do wonder though about the London Tube bombers. Who was ‘occupying’ their country ?

    10. platinum786 — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:44 am  

      Soru:

      Suicide bombings cause military occupations, not vice versa.

      Care you prove that?

      How many scuicide bombings happened in Iraq prior to the US/British Invasion in 2003?

      How many scuicide bombings happened in Afghanistan and Pakistan prior to the US/NATO invasion in 2001?

    11. Arif — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:52 am  

      soru - I think that a reciprocal relationship is also possible.

      George - interesting points. I think that you are right that it is very difficult to disentangle various prisms of thought and infrastructures providing weaponry to isolate what was going on in someone’s mind. I also think that nationalist resistance where the nation is the “Ummah” is very different intuitively to a local national resistance.

      If the bomber is local to where they undertook the bombing, then it may seem they are more motivated by personal/local political grievances. But cjcjc’s Dewsbury example is one which shows there is also wider political motivation, and I assume that Robert Pape would have put them in the 4% minority.

      In a sane world, arguments for removing oppression should not have to be backed up by arguments that oppression incidentally has blowback consequences.

    12. Kojak — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:54 am  

      cjcjc,

      In asking “Who was occupying Dewsbury in July 2005?” you managed to show how asking questions and internet based hunches (opinion) can trump research.

      Pape’s analysis is a ‘one explanation suits all’ answer to the topic.

    13. cjcjc — on 6th April, 2010 at 12:01 pm  

      “Suicide bombings cause military occupations, not vice versa.

      Care you prove that?”

      Erm, 9/11…

    14. Quantum_Singularity — on 6th April, 2010 at 12:20 pm  

      “The most prolific and effective suicide bombers were the recently annihilated LTTE (Tamil Tigers)…So, blaming Islam for SBs is just daft.”

      No one denies there are non-muslim terrorist suicide bombers. It is just that the industry is so heavily dominated by Muslims. This is so because Islam promotes a culture of angry victimization where everything is an “injustice”.

    15. Arif — on 6th April, 2010 at 12:26 pm  

      cjcjc - your 9/11 example is a good illustration of why it is difficult to disentangle suicide violence against occupations and suicide violence which is motivated by something other than removing occupation.

      Al Qaeda had been using suicide bombs to campaign against US bases in Saudi Arabia for a while. Bin Laden is reputed to have argued for a change in strategy to focus on the “far enemy” rather than the “near enemy” - basically to target those who pull the strings rather than the ones who let their strings get pulled, and analysts argued that 9/11 was one of the results of a globalising campaign against US interests.

      Is this still nationalist violence or not?

      The further complication is that despite his denials of involvement, Bin Laden happily took on the role of justifying 9/11 and did so in terms of attacking only the countries which are attacking Muslims. So in his head the continuing campaign he is promoting is a defensive reaction to oppression. But how do we analytically decide if it “really” is reactive (rather than, say, part of a campaign to kill anyone who doesn’t obey a very particular branch of Islam) without resorting to contested ideological definitions ourselves?

      If we don’t believe Blair that his last war was about WMDs, why should we believe Bin Laden that the campaigns al Qaeda take responsibility for are motivated to free Muslims?

      And then the next complexity is that the junior warriors (who do end up dying on both sides) may think something completely different again - probably that it is all to campaign against the most awful human rights abuses by the other side.

      On the other hand, Robert Pape has done some analysis and it is a worthwhile starting point if it makes us aware of how we are too blind to atrocities by powerful “friends”, and increases our motivation to do something about it.

    16. Arif — on 6th April, 2010 at 12:35 pm  

      I should mention that the bombers of the London Underground and the 9/11 attackers are within that 4% minority in the report according to the linked article.

    17. douglas clark — on 6th April, 2010 at 12:47 pm  

      Arif @ 15 / 16,

      I thought we invaded Afghanistan because Osama Bin Laden said his group was responsible for 9/11?

      It is kind of hard to place the attempted Glasgow bombers into a geographical context either, nor the Mumbai gunmen nor the Madrid railway bombers.

      That is off the top of my head. I suspect the answer about proximity is down to Iraq, Afghanistan or Israel. Or perhaps all three.

    18. Arif — on 6th April, 2010 at 12:56 pm  

      #17 He denied it, but I think later tapes make him seem to speak of it as if he sees the hijackers as one of his own. At least I think so.

      Off the top of my head, I think the Taliban were not willing to hand him over to the US, but wanted an international court, or some legal form of extradition. At that time, Bin Laden was still denying anything to do with it.

    19. soru — on 6th April, 2010 at 12:57 pm  

      @10: In both cases, quite a lot, it just didn’t make it to even the back pages of the news.

      In fact, suicide tactics in war go back before anything recognisable as a modern uniformed military; Berserkers, Gaesati, Nairs, Amocs, etc.

      I guess it’s an accident of history that, despite such tactics being practised by the Anglo Saxons, they haven’t really ended up as part of the western military traditions that pretty much all modern state armies are based around.

    20. platinum786 — on 6th April, 2010 at 1:23 pm  

      Cjcjc:

      Erm, 9/11…

      Eygptian and Saudi Terrorists bombed US soil, leading to the invasion of Eygpt and Saudi Arabia, erm Afghanistan.

    21. Sunny — on 6th April, 2010 at 1:43 pm  

      Who was occupying Dewsbury in July 2005?

      People have transnational links.

    22. Sunny — on 6th April, 2010 at 2:20 pm  

      Pape’s analysis is a ‘one explanation suits all’ answer to the topic.

      Not really. As Arif says they are part of the research as outliers.

    23. cjcjc — on 6th April, 2010 at 2:23 pm  

      Well theirs were a little too strong, don’t you think?

    24. Sunny — on 6th April, 2010 at 2:33 pm  

      Well, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq out of solidarity with the US despite not being hit by terrorists then ourselves.

      People have allegiances across borders. Get used to it.

    25. cjcjc — on 6th April, 2010 at 2:43 pm  

      So on what basis precisely did the 7/7 bombers’ “allegiances across borders” rest?

      What were their links with Afghanistan and Iraq?

    26. Quantum_Singularity — on 6th April, 2010 at 2:56 pm  

      @Platinum
      “Eygptian and Saudi Terrorists bombed US soil, leading to the invasion, erm Afghanistan.”

      The words of a simpleton. The organization that the terrorists were a part of and trained by was not only based in Afghanistan but had extremely close links with the Taliban. This of course, is contrary to Pape’s argument of “national resistance” being the primary basis for terror.

    27. platinum786 — on 6th April, 2010 at 2:57 pm  

      It was an Asian thing, Iraqi’s and Afghans were asians, the 7/7 bombers were Asian.

      Why did Britain join the Americans on a crusade?

      Bush made the same point during his remarks at the White House. “This crusade, this war on terrorism is gonna take awhile. And the American people must be patient. I’m gonna be patient,” Bush said.

      http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/gen.bush.terrorism/

    28. cjcjc — on 6th April, 2010 at 3:20 pm  

      “It was a Asian thing.”

      Was it?
      Would the Iraqis describe themselves as “Asians”?

    29. Naadir Jeewa — on 6th April, 2010 at 3:22 pm  

      I think this post makes some serious errors.

      That analysis by Pape doesn’t extend to all forms of suicide terrorism, nor can the latest events in Moscow be framed simply in terms of nationalist struggle. It’s citing the wrong evidence to reach the wrong conclusions. Back with more in an hour or so.

    30. Quantum_Singularity — on 6th April, 2010 at 3:27 pm  

      Arif
      “Al Qaeda had been using suicide bombs to campaign against US bases in Saudi Arabia for a while. Bin Laden is reputed to have argued for a change in strategy to focus on the “far enemy” rather than the “near enemy” – basically to target those who pull the strings rather than the ones who let their strings get pulled, and analysts argued that 9/11 was one of the results of a globalising campaign against US interests.”

      So Bin Laden’s main goals were:

      1) Removal of US troops form Saudi Arabia.

      2) Overthrow of numerous secular and/or religious regimes in Muslim countries in order to bring about some Utopic Caliphate.

      The second is clearly is only about religion. Even the former can only dubiously called national resistance since the foreign forces were there with the permission of the King.

      “But how do we analytically decide if it “really” is reactive (rather than, say, part of a campaign to kill anyone who doesn’t obey a very particular branch of Islam) without resorting to contested ideological definitions ourselves?”

      Simple you look at the motivations of the foreign forces and whether they plan to leave. If the foreign forces are bent on conquest to permanently colonize your lands (e.g. the British Empire)then yes you are reacting defensively. On the other hand if those forces are present for example if your country was a launchpad for terror attacks in another’s country then no, it is merely a the continuation of a conflict you have started.

    31. Sunny — on 6th April, 2010 at 3:27 pm  

      What were their links with Afghanistan and Iraq?

      Well, links take many forms. Why did we choose to invade Afghanistan and Iraq with the USA?

    32. douglas clark — on 6th April, 2010 at 3:36 pm  

      Sunny @ 31,

      I’d have thought it was obvious why we attacked Afghanistan. What we did thereafter was, and is, a complete utter disgrace. Is fuckup too strong a term?

      Iraq?

      No arguement from me.

    33. soru — on 6th April, 2010 at 3:40 pm  

      As Arif says they are part of the research as outliers.

      This is a classic example of how to lie with statistics. Add a big enough wodge of things that are obviously fundamentally different but fit together under some vague category and you can always prove most of the things you added are not in the more specific category.

      For example 96% of ‘non-military uses of high explosives’ are in quarries and the like, 96% of ‘airplane crashes’ are due to pilot error or mechanical failure, and so on.
      In each case, produce the right definition and the thing that started the discussion becomes an irrelevant outlier.

      Page adds to the classic instances of suicide terror the suicidal attacks on the Sri Lankan and Israeli military by Hizbollah and the Tigers. He doesn’t give any justification for why he thinks those fundamentally different things (which basically come down to tactic selection during wartime by non-Western-model militaries) are the same as peacetime suicide attacks on civilian targets by non-military groups.

      This is also what allows him to get the timeline backwards, ignoring acts of terrorism that, I think in in all the cases he surveyed, preceded the military occupation.

      Terrorism causes war: it is what it is designed to do, the only goal historically it has ever achieved.

    34. platinum786 — on 6th April, 2010 at 3:42 pm  

      cjcjc:

      Would the Iraqis describe themselves as “Asians”?

      Depends if they can read a map or not.

      would you answer my previous question as to why we joined America’s CRUSADE against Afghanistan and Iraq after it was bombed by Eygptians and Saudi arabians.

    35. earwicga — on 6th April, 2010 at 3:45 pm  

      Terrorism causes war: it is what it is designed to do, the only goal historically it has ever achieved

      War IS terrorism. Just have a look at Wikileaks today for proof.

    36. douglas clark — on 6th April, 2010 at 3:49 pm  

      soru @ 33,

      Good points.

    37. douglas clark — on 6th April, 2010 at 4:01 pm  

      Platinum786,

      Mainly Saudi’s and Lebanese allegedly. One was said to be Egyptian.

      You have proof to the contrary?

      (I must admit I thought quite a few were Yemeni before I checked it out.)

    38. douglas clark — on 6th April, 2010 at 4:03 pm  

      earwicga @ 35,

      But terrorism causes war. It is, argueably, the point, is it not?

    39. Naadir Jeewa — on 6th April, 2010 at 4:12 pm  

      Hello,

      I have a response to this post here.

      Shorter version: I’d be weary to call the Moscow bombings an instance of nationalist resistance, and Pape is still right in spite of all the criticisms here.

    40. Arif — on 6th April, 2010 at 4:21 pm  

      Quantum_Singularity - I am not sure why you ascribed the second goal to Bin Laden. Is it because you think this was his hidden intention all along, or because the war on terror has broadened his demands? (I think the second is probable, but not the first).

      The rest of your post also appears to be supporting Bin Laden by seeming to argue it was justified to attack US interests as they showed no intention of removing their bases from Saudi Arabia. That, after all, was his core demand at the time from what he said.

      Of course, I don’t think the US and the Saudi Royal Family saw it as an occupation, so perhaps that is the point you are making.

      Which adds another problem to Pape’s analysis - what status to give to the subjectivity of people who others claim are deluded about the existence or nature of an occupation? (You will no doubt be aware that many people argue that the size of the US embassy and the inconsistent rhetoric about how long it will take to solve the problems there mean many people argue that the occupation is not intended to be temporary… or only to be as short term as required to secure oil interests).

      Enough cynicism! Looking forward to Nadir Jeewa’s analysis.

    41. Don — on 6th April, 2010 at 4:38 pm  

      It was an Asian thing

      That doesn’t sound very plausible to me. Asia covers 30% of the world’s land mass and holds 60% of the world’s population.

      That’s a lot of solidarity to be carrying around.

      Any transnational loyalty going on here is religious, not geographical. Or perhaps the Egyptian, Somali and Sudanese terrorists couldn’t read a map?

      I don’t doubt that many, even most, Iraqi or Afghan bombers see themselves as part of a national resistance, but non-local bombers have been, AFAIK, exclusively motivated by perceived religious issues. I am not aware that any Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists or Jains have expressed Asian solidarity with Iraq or Afghanistan by blowing people up. Nor have I heard of any Muslim terrorists acting out of solidarity for the non-muslim oppressed or occupied.

      So I don’t think it’s an Asian thing.

    42. notmarvin — on 6th April, 2010 at 5:41 pm  

      The “occupation” of Iraq or Afghanistan is at the behest of the democratically elected government. Without the support of the evil occupiers, the fledgling governments would have been slaughtered by the militias.

      It’s all pathetic of course, this looking for root causes, sense of justification for the immoral.

      The various terrorists in this country were not oppressed.

      They’ve latched on to an ideology, which some are desperate to say has nothing to do with Islam, the ideology is about “liberation” of “brothers and sisters” of their religion.

      So has George says in #4 “national liberation” IS a component of Islamism.

      “Liberation” of Afghanistan in their context would mean a return to the Taliban.

      “Liberation” of Iraq means warlords take control, so that Sunni or Shia leaders can dictate to the populace.

      “Liberation” for the Palestinians would involve the destruction of Israel.

      It’s quite delusional to try and frame it in a Western mindset of “national liberation” and try to say look, heathen, it has nothing to with religious fervour, when really they are the same thing, since the over-arching factor is liberating only Muslim brothers and sisters.

    43. Asif — on 6th April, 2010 at 5:48 pm  

      When was the US Cole attacked?

    44. Quantum_Singularity — on 6th April, 2010 at 5:50 pm  

      @Arif

      “I am not sure why you ascribed the second goal to Bin Laden. Is it because you think this was his hidden intention all along, or because the war on terror has broadened his demands? (I think the second is probable, but not the first).”

      Bin Laden’s intentions were never hidden, even before 9/11. The Time article below, published right after 9/11, describes how Bin Laden envisioned a Utopic Caliphate that would return Muslims to a dominant position in the world. In the short term he did want other things, such as removal of American troops from KSA, Bahrain, etc.

      http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101011015-178412,00.html

      “The rest of your post also appears to be supporting Bin Laden by seeming to argue it was justified to attack US interests as they showed no intention of removing their bases from Saudi Arabia. That, after all, was his core demand at the time from what he said.”

      So if Bin Laden is angry about the presence of American troops, that gives him justification to attack America? Just recently hardcore Republicans were outraged at the new healthcare bill in the US, their anger was to the point of spitting on Democratic legislators. Does this give them right to commit acts of violence? Of course not in either case, otherwise virtually anyone who is pissed off can legitimately resort to violence. As you noted, the Americans were there with the sanction of the Saudi government, so whether Bin Laden or large number of people do not like it is really not relevant.

      “Which adds another problem to Pape’s analysis – what status to give to the subjectivity of people who others claim are deluded about the existence or nature of an occupation? (You will no doubt be aware that many people argue that the size of the US embassy and the inconsistent rhetoric about how long it will take to solve the problems there mean many people argue that the occupation is not intended to be temporary… or only to be as short term as required to secure oil interests).”

      People can rant and theorize all they want. However, if we accept such subjective rationales then it is an open invitation to random violence.

    45. Philip Hunt — on 6th April, 2010 at 5:51 pm  

      @14 Quantum Singularity: This is so because Islam promotes a culture of angry victimization where everything is an “injustice”.

      There is a general election currently underway in the UK. During the campaign I confidently predict that…

      The Conservative Party will complain about injustice to the middle classes.

      The Labour Party will complain about injustice to the poor.

      The BNP will complain about injustice to white people.

      The Pirate Party will complain about injustice to Internet users.

      The Scottish National Party will complain about injustice to Scots.

      etc.

      In short, all political groups and ideologies (which includes Islam insofar as it prescribes power structures between humans) complain about injustice.

    46. cjcjc — on 6th April, 2010 at 5:58 pm  

      The USS Cole was attacked in 2000 of course.

      But don’t forget the first attack on the WTC in 1993.

      To which “nationalist resistance” did that relate?

    47. Abu Faris — on 6th April, 2010 at 6:40 pm  

      How can the notion of “*transnational* identity” be sustained if the thesis at question demands we consider suicide attacks as principally the result of “*nationalist* resistance”?

    48. Asif — on 6th April, 2010 at 6:46 pm  

      There were also Kamikaze’s and the US didn’t start that war.

    49. Quantum_Singularity — on 6th April, 2010 at 6:52 pm  

      @ Phillip Hunt

      “In short, all political groups and ideologies (which includes Islam insofar as it prescribes power structures between humans) complain about injustice.”

      Yes but most have the sense of reason not to advocate violence, holy wars, etc. to rectify said “injustices”. Besides I never said various groups do not complain about injustices. Rather my point was that due to the vicitimization culture nurtured by Islam, EVERYTHING is an “injustice”.

    50. Quantum_Singularity — on 6th April, 2010 at 7:05 pm  

      @Sunny

      “Well, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq out of solidarity with the US despite not being hit by terrorists then ourselves.

      People have allegiances across borders. Get used to it.”

      There is a little thing called NATO which obliges you to support us when attacked regardless of whether you feel some transnational allegiance or not.

    51. James T — on 6th April, 2010 at 7:07 pm  

      On a different but related note, the pro-Israel contingent always steadfastly maintain the absurd view that the actions of Israel have no bearing on anti-American terrorism. For example, at this year’s AIPAC conference, Alan Dershowitz ranted on, saying “No relationship between Israeli actions and hatred and actions by Islamic extremists against the United States”.

    52. Quantum_Singularity — on 6th April, 2010 at 7:15 pm  

      “On a different but related note, it is always amusing to hear the pro-Israel contingent maintain the absurd view that the actions of Israel have no bearing on anti-American terrorism.”

      They do have a bearing for some (for others such as Bin Laden, Israel is just a tool to achieve his wet dream of a caliphate). However whether that bearing is justified is another matter.

    53. Abu Faris — on 6th April, 2010 at 9:44 pm  

      I am not sure why anyone would seek quantitative support for any position on this issue. Clearly people are motivated in lots of different ways to carry out such destructive and barbaric acts as self-immolation in the way of the murder of others.

      The important issue, I would venture, is not so much why these acts take place as consideration (albeit almost instantaneous) of the true moral bankruptcy and evil of such acts.

    54. Brownie — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:59 pm  

      Well, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq out of solidarity with the US despite not being hit by terrorists then ourselves.

      Um, Britain lost more of her citiznes (67) in 9/11 than in any other single terrorist act in history. More than twice the number murdered in Omagh. How does this tally with “not being hit”? Or do we ignore the mass slaughter of our civilians when it’s happening ‘over there’ (wherever ‘over there’ is)?

    55. Sunny — on 7th April, 2010 at 12:09 am  

      How does this tally with “not being hit”?

      It wasn’t on our soil, is what I meant. Although my point is about how we have solidarity with the US on foreign policy even when it doesn’t directly affect us. Iraq invasion especially. It was solidarity that led us to Iraq in the same way those idiots in Dewsbury thought it was solidarity they were showing.

    56. Naadir Jeewa — on 7th April, 2010 at 12:20 am  

      Hegghammer, not to be read as mutually exclusive with Pape:

      To the extent that Westernization causes militancy, the violence it inspires is nearly always directed at other Muslims, typically against regimes in Arab countries, because these legislate over matters of public morality. Jihadists are idealists, but they are not so utopian as to think they can stop Westernization by attacking America. However, they do think that by installing Islamist local governments, those governments can take measures to limit social liberalization.

      Militants who attack the West, such as al Qaeda members, represent a different phenomenon. They argue that the fight against secular Muslim regimes (and by extension Westernization) is less urgent than attacking non-Muslims who kill Muslims and occupy Muslim territory.

      How do we know that Palestine is more important than Westernization for the anti-American jihadists? First, al Qaeda’s leaders have spoken more often about Palestine and other political issues than about moral corruption. Second, when al Qaeda recruits cite their reasons for joining, they more often mention Palestine, Chechnya, and other political issues than they do examples of Westernization. Third, incidents of anti-American violence and vandalism in the Middle East have tended to increase during or shortly after dramatic events in Palestine. Fourth, recruitment to al Qaeda has tended to expand during or shortly after escalation of hostilities in Palestine. Fifth, al Qaeda militants are happy to embrace aspects of Western culture when it suits them — witness the use of videos and music in jihadi propaganda — and they are arguably more pragmatic about matters moral and ritual than many other Islamists.

    57. Brownie — on 7th April, 2010 at 12:23 am  

      I think we have solidarity with the US on foreign policy because, for the most part, what affects them affects us. Maybe not always at the same time or to the same degree, but ‘affects’ nevertheless.

      This doesn’t mean we should just follow Washington blindly, but neither should we apply the logic of “well we may have had a few score of our citizens slaughtered on the street, but so long as this is happening in Manhattan and not Manchester we should look the other way”.

      George at #4 nails this.

    58. Mark T — on 7th April, 2010 at 9:10 am  

      Are the Taliban waging a war of national liberation in Pakistan?

    59. Quantum_Singularity — on 7th April, 2010 at 4:21 pm  

      Mark T

      “Are the Taliban waging a war of national liberation in Pakistan?”

      Yes, they want to nationally liberate everyone who do not agree with them of their lives.

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