Logical Suicide Bombing?

Posted by JSYL on Tuesday, September 02, 2008 in
…modern suicide terrorism is analogous to instances of international coercion. For states, air power and economic sanctions are often the preferred coercive tools…For terrorist groups, suicide attacks are becoming the coercive instrument of choice.”

Robert A. Pape*, The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, The American Political Science Review, Vol. 97, No. 3 (Aug., 2003), at p. 344

*(Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago specializing in international security affairs who's very well respected as an authority in his field, and a critic of the war on Iraq and more generally on America's international strategies following September 11).

Please discuss (educated opinions or sensitive questions only).



Wait what's the question you're trying to ask? :P

His premise is simple- Suicide Bombing is simply an extension of politics by another means, as war was in the matter of states, expounded by Clausewitz. The only difference is that wars waged by non-state actors against states do not adhere to the old paradigm of warfare, which was where "states" fought other states. Were I in King George III's army in Spain in 1811, I would not be fighting France. I would be fighting the forces of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. I wouldn't even be fighting for myself- I'd be fighting on behalf of Georgie, or depending on the time, his son, Georgie (The fourth).

Nowadays it's different. With the rise of NGOs, Al Qaida bombing tactics are very simply acts designed to coerce states into acting in certain ways. But then so are rioters, revolutionaries, and rebels throughout history, who have always had short shrift from governments.

It's horrific twisted logic but it makes sense.

i asked for a discussion not a translation wk :P i read the accompanying article, i get the premise- just looking for thoughts on the matter. Can suicide bombing ever be seen as a logical tactic that replaces weapons with human lives? and if so, what does that say about this whole sad state of affairs?

Well here i go stating the obvious again, so don't go shooting me down for it.

Dead people are dead people. It's horrific regardless of whether it's seen as "correct" or not. So in that sense, I would say it's just as legitimate as the US carpet bombing a village, or the Chinese shooting Tibetans. Of course I don't want to be dragged into a natural law vs. legal positivist argument about what is legitimate or not. One semester of public international law cured me of that.

In regards to whether it's a logical tactic, I would say if logic is the only requirement, then heck yeah.

What's the state of the world? Hehehe.

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