It could be you.
Terrorist attacks are not about terrorism. Politicians like to spread the view that terrorist attacks are carried out by ‘evil’ men in order to spread terror. Nothing is further from the truth. Just as “warfare is politics being carried out by other means” – to use Major-General Von Clausewitz’s famous phrase, so is terrorism. Just as the number of soldiers likely to be killed in a particular war action is almost incidental to the general who plans it, so is the number of civilians likely to be killed in a terrorist action. What is very clear about all acts of terrorism is that they are carried out as specific acts designed to achieve specific political results.
Take for example 9/11 in New York City in 2001. This was a general declaration of war following a series of build-ups by both sides. American needs for oil and Saudi Arabian Wahhabism. The kicking out of US oil corporations from further developmental work in Saudi Arabia. The Gulf War against Saddam’s take-over of the Kuwaiti oilfields. The closure on the part of the Saudis of the last US base, as well as the full adoption of Shariah law in the constitution of Saudi Arabia. The build up of a massive US base in Qatar and Special Units around Saudi Arabia. The 9/11 attacks were specifically planned against the Pentagon, the White House probably (which didn’t succeed) and world trade in general, symbolized by the Twin Towers. The large number of people killed was incidental. No one believes for one minute that Mohammad Atta thought the World Trade Center Towers would actually collapse.
Too easily the word ‘mindless’ is used by politicians in conjunction with terrorists and their acts when, in fact, terrorists are far from being ‘mindless’. Suicide bombers are not the mindless, evil individuals they are often portrayed to be. They are, more often than not, well educated and more sensitive than the norm for their age groups, and they see themselves as carrying out political acts rather than terrorism per se. Furthermore, suicide bombers are not necessarily confined to religious protesters.
This is the conclusion reached by Dr. Ariel Merari, Director of the Political Violence Research Unit at Tel Aviv University. It is also the conclusion reached by a host of other political analysts and counter-terrorism experts throughout the world.
Most suicide bombers anywhere appear to be normal. Study after study has shown that suicide terrorists are better off than the average for their community, and better educated just as well. They are also rarely suicidal in the pathological sense. Dr. Merari in particular has traced the background of every suicide bomber in the Middle East since 1983, and has found symptoms of mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse in very few. Furthermore, suicide bombers do not have to be Islamic extremists either, or even radicalized by faith. True, the 9/11 attackers were all Muslims, as are the vast majority of suicide attackers in Iraq, Afghanistan …