mardi, juillet 19, 2005

zealots and kamikazes

"The purpose of a suicide attack is not so much to die as it is to kill."
-Robert Pape, author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism

There was a great story on NPR this morning about the origins of suicide terrorism as a way to send a message to an occupying power:
  • In the first century C.E., Jewish Zealots and Sicarii would target a Roman soldier in a square and slit his throat, knowing that his fellow soldiers would immediately kill the assassin.
  • In the eleventh and twelfth century, the Ismaili would assassinate a sultan and leave a note stating "there will be further attacks unless you leave our community alone."
  • During World War II, the Japanese realized that the island-hopping Americans were rapidly closing in on them in October 1944. Their response was to use kamikaze pilots to send a message. By not saving enough fuel to return to base, the kamikaze increased the number of ships damaged or sunk by four and five-fold.
While experimenting with suicide bombing in the 1980s, Hezbolah (in their fourth foray into the technique) brought down the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Marines. That led then-President Reagan to withdraw all American forces from Lebanon, and to virtually abandon the country politically and economically. That success is still cited by Hamas and Al Qaeda as the prime example of why suicide bombing is the weapon of choice in their war against the West.

    Aucun commentaire: