What are they thinking?
Suicide Bomber - those 2 words give us pause. Ever since the terrorist attack on Sept 11, 2001, we Americans have had 1st hand knowledge with the meaning of these words and the aftermath that follows. In order to attract the publicity necessary to generate widespread fear, terrorist must engage in increasingly dramatic, violent, and high-profile attacks. These have included hijackings, hostage takings, kidnappings, car bombings and frequently, suicide bombings. We all have seen these accounts in the news and witnessed (some first hand) the destruction that these bombers have caused, but have you have ever stopped to wonder what makes a person become or agree to be a suicide bomber? Or ask why a person would want to give their life to kill innocent people? Are they that dedicated to their cause or are there other reasons that make people participate in such heinous acts? What about the impact of illiteracy and unemployment as their motivation? Or could it be something else? Times Gone By
The 1st recorded use of suicide bombers goes all the way back to the Crusades when Nights Templar destroyed one of their own ships and 140 Christians to kill 1400 Muslims. Suicide bombers were rarely heard about in history until the 20th century when, during World War II, the Japanese Air Force rigged their planes and pilots with explosives and crashed them into US Navy ships and aircraft carriers. The Japanese use of these kamikaze pilots was very successful and the United States had a hard time combating them. After World War II, suicide bombings were rarely heard of until April of 1983 when the terrorist organization of Hezbollah had a suicide bomber drive a truck filled with explosives into the US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The attack killed many marines and started the current trend in the Middle East. Many terrorists groups then started using suicide bombers in their fight but none of these groups used the suicide bomber as effectively as the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad (Wikipedia, 2006). The Current Issue
When the nation of Israel was created and the Palestinian people were uprooted from their homes this caused hatred of the Israeli people by many of the displaced Palestinians. The Palestinians wanted their homeland back and the only way to get that was to get rid of the Israelis. Many terrorist organizations grew out from this hatred. The most powerful were the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Both these terrorists groups perfected the use of the suicide bomber. (Oliver & Steinberg, 2005). In the early 1980’s recruiting a suicide bomber was a challenge. Leaders for the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad would seek out devoted men in mosques in rioting crowds. The leaders would then train the bombers with intense spiritual indoctrination and terrorist training and those who didn’t fit the bill were dropped from the program. (Ripley, Rees, August, Baghdadi, Hamad, Klein, MacLeod, & Mustafa, 2002) Suicide bombers were hard to find. This all changed with the current Intifada (Palestinian uprising). The current Intifada started in September of 2000 when the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians fell apart. Promises made to the Palestinians about becoming a separate state and having a recognized government was not realized and the terrorists’ organizations found themselves with an over-abundance of people wanting to become martyrs for the cause. They no longer had to recruit bombers, they had more then they could have ever hoped for. They were also not your typical bombers. In the past the typical suicide bomber was a single male, in his 20-30’s, with just a high school education. Now the recruiters were dealing with females, children, family men, and highly educated individuals. With this many volunteers the bombings also became more lethal. At least 3 times as many people have been killed in the last 6 years as in...
References: Ives-Halperin, B. (2002). A New Generation of Suicide Bombers. CQ Researcher, 12, (29), 686-688. Retrieved September 8, 2006, from Academic Search Permier.
Krueger, A.B., & Maleckova, J. (2003). Education, Poverty, & Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17, (4), 119-144. Retrieved September 12, 2006, from JSTOR.
Oliver, A. M., & Steinberg, P. F. (2005). The road to martyrs’ square: a journey into the world of the suicide bomber. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press.
Ripley, A., Rees, M., August, M., Baghdadi, G., Hamad, J., Klein, A., MacLeod, S., Mustafa, N. (2002). Why Suicide Bombing Is Now All The Rage. Time Europe, 159, (15), 22-30. Retrieved September 8, 2006, from Academic Search Permier.
Suicide Bomber. (2006). In Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 13, 2006, from Wikepedia Online: http://www.wikipedia.com
Terrorism. (2006). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved September 20, 2006, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online: http://search.eb.com/article-217764
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