Monday, July 25, 2005

Stopping the Homocide Bombers

Question: Are religious zealots driven by political motives?
Question: Are political radicals driven by religious motives?
Answer: It seems that terror masterminds may employ a variety of techniques to recruit homicide bombers.

I have been under the impression that homicide bombers were sacrificing themselves because of religious fanaticism. There have been several reports recently that I may be off track in such thinking and that homicide bombers were more driven by a political desire to stop foreign occupations. That notion struck a bit of a chord with me because it dovetails nicely with the IRA bombings in Ireland. The nationalism viewpoint can also be used to explain the bombings in Iraq.

But the bombings in London, by native born Muslims, put a twist into that theory. I find it hard to believe that a British born person would be as susceptible to a call to commit bombings for some kind of Arab nationalism. I feel that some sort of religious call to arms would be more persuasive. Case in point would be Richard Reed, the infamous shoe bomber, whom I believe was a religious, rather than nationalist, fanatic.

So what is the driving force behind suicide bombers? Is it religiousor is it political? In the worst case scenario, it may be individualized. One bomber may do it for religious reasons. One may do it for political reasons. This "mixed motives" theory is probably the closest explanation and the problem now becomes, "How do we kill the beast with two (or more) heads."

At first glance, this could be a devastating blow to our efforts to stop terrorism. We now must divide our efforts between radical religious AND radical political fanatics. There are thousands of such groups in the world with hundreds of thousands of members. How can we expect to stop them all! The key is to find the commonality between them.

The common link see is the fact that such groups use people as a weapon. But a potential bomber is not your average person. Homicide bombers are uniquely susceptibleto radical ideas and so malleable that they can be persuaded to "sacrifice" their life in the ultimate action, killing innocent people (and themselves) in the name of a cause. Since we cannot wage war against the type of person used as a bomber (it's not a crime to be stupid), we have to wage war against those that would manipulate the would-be bombers. In other words, we have to seek out and kill the leaders of the groups.

I realize that people far smarter than I have already figured this out. In fact, I can say that I even more fully support the efforts of the Bush administration and the coalitionthan I did before this epiphany. There is no way to stop all of the bombers. We have to stop the people that persuade the bombers.