Monday, August 9, 2010

US Foreign Policy part 10: The War on Terror pt. 2: Suicide Terrorists

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Last week I discussed how our foreign policy is targeting a tactic, terrorism, and said that in doing so we are actually creating terrorists. I thought it helpful if I secluded this section in picking apart some of the rhetoric about mainstream beliefs regarding terrorists/terrorism.

For instance, it's commonly spouted that it's a religious war. That we're hated for our own beliefs and differences. As if the "Qu'ran or the sword" approach is what is behind the terrorist philosophy. Nothing could be further from the truth, and this should shake itself out logically anyway. How would killing yourself promote your religion? I've read one belief that Islamic fundamentalists believe the world is evil and that by killing people you're ridding the world of evil, including themselves. Mainstream media, or propagandists, would want you to believe in some kind of barbaric nature of Islamic followers, (and I hope no one would assert such a blanket statement of ignorance to an entire people group) that their deep conviction of righteousness is reason enough, or that their desperate need to belong to a group is so thoroughly desirous that they're looking for the opportunity to kill themselves. I'm not saying none of that is possible or maybe even an influence, but it's shy of the center of the target.

For one thing. Did you know that the largest group of suicide-terrorists aren't even Muslim? They're Hindu. Not only are they Hindu, but they're fighting against Buddhists! They're called the Tamil Tigers and they were *fighting over land* in Sri Lanka, to create their own independent state in northern Sri Lanka. This all ended last May (2009) after military defeat, but the war was waged for nearly 40 years, which shows you how passionate people are about land. It was actually the Tigers who invented the suicide vest.

While there was a difference in religion, that wasn't the driving reason. It's hardly isolated to Sri Lanka.

It's not about religion. It's about our presence. A Chicago University Professor, Robert Pape, has gathered documentation about every suicide-terrorist (regardless of location/religion/war) from 1980 to 2004 (and presumably present day, but his book he published dealt in that time frame so we'll stick to it), and in his research he learned some interesting things I'll list:

  • "95 percent of all the incidents-has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw"
  • "The evidence shows that the presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism"
  • "Sudan is a country of 21 million people. Its government is extremely Islamic fundamentalist. The ideology of Sudan was so congenial to Osama bin Laden that he spent three years in Sudan in the 1990s. Yet there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Sudan."
  • "Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never. Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004, and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005. Every year that the United States has stationed 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, suicide terrorism has doubled."
  • "Few [suicide-terrorists] are actually longtime members of a terrorist group. For most suicide terrorists, their first experience with violence is their very own suicide-terrorist attack."
  • "Iraqi suicide terrorists are coming from two groups-Iraqi Sunnis and Saudis-the two populations most vulnerable to transformation by the presence of large American combat troops on the Arabian Peninsula."

There's even more telling information in that interview and I plan on reading his book "Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism", but I would beg and plead for anyone with a heart to understand to read his interview: here.

It should be encouraging to know that we can actually be safer from suicide-terrorists by getting our soldiers out of harm's way. We save the lives of our own soldier-citizens, make our country safer, and save some money. Not a bad way to win a "war".
part 1: Blowback
part 2: Sanctions
part 3: Just-War
part 4: Preventive War
part 5: Declaration of War
part 6: Torture
part 7: Finances
part 8: CIA
part 9: War on Terror
part 10: War on Terror part 2, Suicide Terrorists
part 11: Conclusion

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