Liberty Forged

the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. ` Nock

Dying to Win

Posted by Jesse on January 18, 2008

Listen to a radio interview with Robert Pape. Author of Dying to Win
“Professor Robert A. Pape explains the research behind his book Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, why Rep. Ron Paul is correct that groups who engage in suicide terrorism can only recruit in the name of fighting against foreign occupation – rather than devotion to any religion, promises of virgins in Heaven or a plot to take over the world – and why our government’s denial of this fact and its policy of regime change puts Americans in greater danger.”

“Robert A. Pape is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago specializing in international security affairs. His publications include Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House 2005); Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Cornell 1996), “Why Economic Sanctions Do Not Work,” International Security (1997), “The Determinants of International Moral Action,” International Organization (1999); “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” American Political Science Review (2003); and “Soft Balancing against the United States,” International Security (2005). His commentary on international security policy has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, New Republic, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, as well as on Nightline, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and National Public Radio. Before coming to Chicago in 1999, he taught international relations at Dartmouth College for five years and air power strategy for the USAF’s School of Advanced Airpower Studies for three years. He received his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in 1988 and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pittsburgh in 1982. His current work focuses on the causes of suicide terrorism and the politics of unipolarity.”

HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
BEFORE THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 14, 2005

Mr. Speaker, more than half of the American people now believe that the Iraqi war has made the U.S. less safe. This is a dramatic shift in sentiment from 2 years ago. Early support for the war reflected a hope for a safer America, and it was thought to be an appropriate response to the 9/11 attacks. The argument was that the enemy attacked us because of our freedom, our prosperity, and our way of life. It was further argued that it was important to engage the potential terrorists over there rather than here. Many bought this argument and supported the war. That is now changing.

It is virtually impossible to stop determined suicide bombers. Understanding why they sacrifice themselves is crucial to ending what appears to be senseless and irrational. But there is an explanation.

I, like many, have assumed that the driving force behind the suicide attacks was Islamic fundamentalism. Promise of instant entry into paradise as a reward for killing infidels seemed to explain the suicides, a concept that is foreign to our way of thinking. The world’s expert on suicide terrorism has convinced me to rethink this simplistic explanation, that terrorism is merely an expression of religious extremism and resentment of a foreign culture.

Robert Pape, author of “Dying to Win,” explains the strategic logic of suicide terrorism. Pape has collected a database of every suicide terrorist attack between 1980 and 2004, all 462 of them. His conclusions are enlightening and crucial to our understanding the true motivation behind the attacks against Western nations by Islamic terrorists. After his exhaustive study, Pape comes to some very important conclusions.

Religious beliefs are less important than supposed. For instance, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a Marxist secular group, are the world’s leader in suicide terrorism . The largest Islamic fundamentalist countries have not been responsible for any suicide terrorist attack. None have come from Iran or the Sudan. Until the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iraq never had a suicide terrorist attack in all of its history. Between 1995 and 2004, the al Qaeda years, two-thirds of all attacks came from countries where the U.S. had troops stationed. Iraq’s suicide missions today are carried out by Iraqi Sunnis and Saudis. Recall, 15 of the 19 participants in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis.

The clincher is this: the strongest motivation, according to Pape, is not religion but rather a desire “to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory the terrorists view as their homeland.”

The best news is that if stopping suicide terrorism is a goal we seek, a solution is available to us. Cease the occupation of foreign lands and the suicide missions will cease. Between 1982 and 1986, there were 41 suicide terrorist attacks in Lebanon. Once the U.S., the French, and Israel withdrew their forces from Lebanon, there were no more attacks. The reason the attacks stop, according to Pape, is that the Osama bin Ladens of the world no longer can inspire potential suicide terrorists despite their continued fanatical religious beliefs.

Pape is convinced after his extensive research that the longer and more extensive the occupation of Muslim territories, the greater the chance of more 9/11-type attacks on the U.S. He is convinced that the terrorists strategically are holding off hitting the U.S. at the present time in an effort to break up the coalition by hitting our European allies. He claims it is just a matter of time if our policies do not change.

It is time for us to consider a strategic reassessment of our policy of foreign interventionism, occupation, and nation-building. It is in our national interest to do so and in the interest of world peace.

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2 Responses to “Dying to Win”

  1. […] Jesse wrote an interesting post today on Dying to WinHere’s a quick excerptBefore coming to Chicago in 1999, he taught international relations at Dartmouth College for five years and air power strategy for the USAF’s School of Advanced Airpower Studies for three years. He received his Ph. … […]

  2. […] Dying to Win […]

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