What were terrorists doing before they discovered the USA, UK, Europe, Bali?
These tables are for a particular type of terrorist attack, the suicide bombing, from 1980 to 2001, from Robert Pape’s article, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism”, American Political Science Review, Vol. 97, No. 3, 2003 (pp. 343-361). The same tables no doubt appear in his book Dying to Win but I don’t have my copy of that with me.
Since 2001 . . .
Given this data up to 2001, the following quotations from terrorists themselves since then may be of relevance. They are taken from Glenn Greenwald’s latest article:
|Those caveats to the side, the reports about what motivated the Boston suspects are entirely unsurprising and, by now, quite familiar:
In the last several years, there have been four other serious attempted or successful attacks on US soil by Muslims, and in every case, they emphatically all say the same thing: that they were motivated by the continuous, horrific violence brought by the US and its allies to the Muslim world – violence which routinely kills and oppresses innocent men, women and children:
When he was asked by the federal judge presiding over his case how he could possibly have been willing to detonate bombs that would kill innocent children, he replied:
Emails and other communications obtained by the US document how Shahzad transformed from law-abiding, middle-class naturalized American into someone who felt compelled to engage in violence as a result of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, drone attacks, Israeli violence against Palestinians and Muslims generally, Guantanamo and torture, at one point asking a friend: “Can you tell me a way to save the oppressed? And a way to fight back when rockets are fired at us and Muslim blood flows?”
Attempted NYC subway bomber Najibullah Zazi, the first Afghan-American involved in such a plot, upon pleading guilty:
Meanwhile, the American-Yemeni preacher accused (with no due process) of inspiring both Abdulmutallab and Hasan – Anwar al-Awalaki – was once considered such a moderate American Muslim imam that the Pentagon included him in post-9/11 events and the Washington Post invited him to write a column on Islam. But, by all accounts, he became increasingly radicalized in anti-American sentiment by the attack on Iraq and continuous killing of innocent Muslims by the US, including in Yemen.
And, of course, Osama bin Laden, when justifying violence against Americans, cited US military bases in Saudi Arabia, US support for Israeli aggression against its neighbors, and the 1990s US sanctions regime that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, while Iranians who took over the US embassy in 1979 cited decades of brutal tyranny from the US-implanted-and-enabled Shah.
And no, for the sake of those who equate motive for a crime with justification or excuse for a crime, none of this is justification or excuse. But we have to be stupid if we try to fight crime without taking into account its root causes.
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