Here’s a little known fact. Someone intent on killing himself doesn’t go to the trouble of strapping sticks of dynamite to his chest, or hijacking a passenger plane. So talk of a ‘suicide bomber’ or a ‘suicide mission’ is nonsense. If the bomb strapped to my chest could kill everyone within a hundred meters and yet I miraculously walked away unscathed to fight another day, I’d hardly count it as a failed mission. I’d be beyond delighted! Wearing the bomb makes sense only if that’s the only reliable way to deliver it to the target, which is almost never the case.

On the other hand, the so-called suicide bomber may be intent on delivering one or both of the following more symbolic messages: He could be trying to tell you that your actions have made his life so miserable that he’s more than happy to lose it provided he can take as many of you bastards along with him. And/or that his hatred for you is so profound that he’s indifferent to what it takes to express that hatred. No one likes to be hated. But to be hated so profoundly that discretion ceases to prove the better part of valour … Now that would strike me as truly frightening!

That said, as your drill sergeant I counsel against this. And here’s why. 

No soldier gives his life for his country. He has it taken away from him. His task is to avoid getting killed so he can kill the other guy, and then to make it home for Sunday dinner. Likewise, then, the more effective terrorist has learned to control his impulses. To never lose sight of the objective, which is to inflict as much death and destruction as possible on the target population.

Media hype to the contrary notwithstanding, there aren’t that many people prepared to turn themselves into a bomb. It’s contra natura. So the greatest weapon the aggrieved have – the weapon to be husbanded with the care of a diamond-cutter – is their personnel. And personnel are not to be squandered on pointless gestures. 

Remember that every terrorist who dies along with his victims is one less terrorist the enemy has to worry about. So it’s a four-step formula: 1) plant, 2) leave, 3) detonate, and then 4) reward yourself with a pint for a job well done. I repeat: plant-leave-detonate-drink. Plant-leave-detonate-drink.

The nineteen martyrs of 9/11 are the rightful exception, because a nineteen-member campaign as advised above would have been unsustainable, and would not have produced the depth of the trauma they inflicted that morning. But it was, and was designed to be, a one-off. And, as I’ll be arguing in an upcoming lesson, it  could have picked a more effective set of targets. But more of that anon.

Categories: Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask

2 replies

  1. The people who recruit and train the suicidal bombers never put their lives on the line. Does it follow that the most effective terrorists are those who stay at home and send others to die for the cause? Terrorism by proxy?


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