The Latest Fad

In an article in The Australian entitled Suicide bombings surge since 9/11, Tim Reid reports:

     SUICIDE bombings have become the world’s most common form of terrorism since the hijackings of September 11, 2001, and by far the most effective apart from weapons of mass destruction, a study shows.
The pace of suicide attacks has accelerated so quickly that three-quarters of all suicide bombings in the past 25 years have been carried out since the 9/11 attacks in the US.

These conclusions are based on a study by the Rand Corporation. According to the study, there have been more suicide bombings in Iraq since March of 2003 than there were inthe entire world between 1980 and 2003.

The report identifies the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka as the inventors of the suicide bomb as a terrorist tactic in the 1980s. Since then the technique has rapidly spread to many other terrorist groups across the globe.

     In May, according to Rand, an estimated 90 suicide bombings were carried out in Iraq alone, almost as many as the Israeli Government has recorded in its conflict with the Palestinians since 1993.
“With the exception of weapons of mass destruction, there is no other type of attack that is more effective than suicide terrorism,” Rand terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman told The Washington Post.

Robert Pape, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, does not see Islamofascism as the primary cause of the increase of suicide bombing.

     Instead, he argues that it is a logical military tactic against occupation “to compel the US and other countries to remove their forces from the Arabian peninsula”.

But Mr. Hoffman does not agree:

     Mr Hoffman and many others strongly disagree with Professor Pape’s assessment, noting that the bombers themselves are footsoldiers often motivated by religious belief.
Mr Hoffman calculates that 31 out of the 35 groups that have used suicide bombings are Islamic.

If the potential future suicide bombers do not outnumber their future victims, over the long haul the tactic is bound to fail. Say the average suicide bomber takes out ten other people when he explodes. If only one in a population of 10,000 is a potential suicide bomber (a generous guess), then the trend will soon peter out.

Of course, the effectiveness of the bomber might be improved. Give a suicide bomber a dirty bomb, a vial of virulent pathogens, or a suitcase nuke, and the calculus of destruction changes considerably.

5 thoughts on “The Latest Fad

  1. An article I read on the website that I can no longer find.

    Suicide bombing is a weapons system.

    1. Every society has a small percentage of people with suicidal tendencies. Find one and recruit.

    2. Find a mental health person with very low professional standards.

    3. The mental health person, instead of providing treatment, pushes the potential bomber in other direction.

    4, You need a small support staff for procument, safe house operation, and target spotting.

    Not cheap on the basis of a workers salary, but a lot cheaper than an M1A2 or an F15.

    Since suicidal tendencies are a constant it does not say anything about the bomber’s culture, but it say much about the people who would employ such a weapons system.

  2. “If only one in a population of 10,000 is a potential suicide bomber (a generous guess), then the trend will soon peter out.”

    Not so–you’re assuming a fixed pool of bombers with no new recruits. The madrassahs have other plans.

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