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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:55 AM
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Suicide bombers in Western tradition
http://www.alternet.org/world/141832/western_jihad%3A_y...

Given the plethora of suicide missions in the Western tradition, it should be difficult to argue that the tactic is unique to Islam or to fundamentalists. Yet some scholars enjoy constructing a restrictive genealogy for such missions that connects the Assassin sect (which went after the great sultan Saladin in the Levant in the twelfth century) to Muslim suicide guerrillas of the Philippines (first against the Spanish and then, in the early twentieth century, against Americans). They take this genealogy all the way up to more recent suicide campaigns by Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, and Islamic rebels in the Russian province of Chechnya. The Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, who used suicide bombers in a profligate fashion, are ordinarily the only major non-Muslim outlier included in this series.

Uniting our suicide attackers and theirs, however, are the reasons behind the missions. Three salient common factors stand out. First, suicidal attacks, including suicide bombings, are a "weapon of the weak," designed to level the playing field. Second, they are usually used against an occupying force. And third, they are cheap and often brutally effective.

We commonly associate suicide missions with terrorists. But states and their armies, when outnumbered, will also launch such missions against their enemies, as Preble did against Tripoli or the Japanese attempted near the end of World War II. To make up for its technological disadvantages, the Iranian regime sent waves of young volunteers, some unarmed and some reportedly as young as nine years old, against the then-U.S.-backed Iraqi army in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.

Non-state actors are even more prone to launch suicide missions against occupying forces. Remove the occupying force, as Robert Pape argues in his groundbreaking book on suicide bombers, Dying to Win, and the suicide missions disappear. It is not a stretch, then, to conclude that we, the occupiers (the United States, Russia, Israel), through our actions, have played a significant part in fomenting the very suicide missions that we now find so alien and incomprehensible in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Lebanon, and elsewhere.
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daedalus_dude Donating Member (327 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:05 AM
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1. I think people have an instinct for self-sacrifice. They don't need to be religious for it.
All that is required is that the person sacrificing themselves has to think that they are working in the best interest of "their tribe" (and perhaps a lack of better options).

From a biological point of view it makes sense. An individual is willing to sacrifice themself to potentially save lots of individuals who have similar genes. While at first glance, it goes against the self-preservation instinct, considering the effect of "selfish genes" explains it. The gene doesn't necessarily have an interest in self-preservation as long as enough copies of itsself survive.

Self-sacrifice is a common thing in all honor-based societies. Communist vietnamese soldiers sacrificed themselves by the thousands and they were not religious.
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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:11 AM
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2. K and R . But he won't get far with this. Nothing hurts....
...like the truth.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:59 AM
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3. The key is "unit cohesion"
Soldiers don't sacrifice themselves for higher causes.

They sacrifice themselves for their companions in the unit.
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