Monday, March 17, 2008

The suicide vest and the suicide mind

About a year ago the enemy weapon of choice was the vehicle borne explosive device or the VBIED and the roadside IED. But Coalition intelligence efforts found the car bomb factories and created barriers to their easy deployment. And while the roadside IED still found occasional effective employment the tactical utility of the VBIED catastrophically declined. Recently there's been a shift to the use of enhanced suicide vest bombs.

"There has been an increase over time in the use of suicide vest bombers," US military spokesman Rear Admiral Gregory Smith told a news conference in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. "Late in 2007 there were about eight or 10 a month; in the month of February, there were 18....

"We are also seeing that average Al-Qaeda fighters are wearing suicide vests and before they are captured they are often blowing themselves up," Smith told reporters. "That is something we have not seen earlier. We used to see just the most senior leadership of Al-Qaeda wearing suicide vests."

This weapon was responsible for the death of five US soldiers who "by a man wearing a suicide vest who mingled with their patrol." As weather warms in Iraq (this week it is in the mid 60s) it will be more difficult to wear suicide clothing, except for women, but the process of adaptation is likely to continue. Such vests now being used in tandem. A bombing of a Baghdad pet market in February employed two suicide-rigged women.

What's more interesting to consider is whether the suicide vest tactic will soon be seen in the West and why it has not been used in large numbers so far. It was unsuccessfully used for example, in the Benazir Bhutto assassination. But it was used. So why is not seen in London, Paris and New York? The logistics of manufacturing an explosive vest are not great. But the fundamental limit to suicide vest deployment isn't the the supply of vests but the availability of people willing to wear them. Suicide attackers are relatively abundant in cultures which produce the mentality to use them. But they are relatively rare in the West, for now.

Suicide bombers are also quite expensive to produce. The production cost is not in the vest, but in the motivation of the bomber. In 2005 the Times Online featured a study on the process of becoming a "martyr". It's a fascinating glimpse into the assembly-line of suicide-bombers. The factory is entirely virtual; it consists in the mental preparation of the attackers. It doesn't have any machine tools, electronics or technology newer than the 8th century. In fact it would look very much like a meeting hall, mosque or madrassa. Nasra Hassan explained:

From 1996 to 1999, I interviewed nearly 250 people involved in the most militant camps of the Palestinian cause: volunteers who, like S, had been unable to complete their suicide missions, the families of dead bombers, and the men who trained them. ...

I was told that to be accepted for a suicide mission the volunteers had to be convinced of the religious legitimacy of the acts they were contemplating, as sanctioned by the divinely revealed religion of Islam. ... I met an imam affiliated with Hamas, a youthful, bearded graduate of the prestigious al Azhar University in Cairo. He explained that the first drop of blood shed by a martyr during jihad washes away his sins instantaneously. On the Day of Judgment, he will face no reckoning.

A planner for Islamic Jihad said that his organisation carefully scrutinises the motives of a potential bomber: "We ask this young man, and we ask ourselves, why he wishes so badly to become a human bomb. What are his real motives? ... Preparation bolsters his conviction, which supports his certitude. It removes fear."

Hassan asked about the technology for removing fear. It was not a concern, she was told by the trainors, fear already having been banished by a "fervent desire for success, which will propel him into the presence of Allah". That desire was implanted by strict religious exercises; what the secular would call 'motivation'.

The young men undergo intensified spiritual exercises, including prayers and recitations of the Koran. Usually, the trainer encourages the candidate to read six particular chapters of the Koran: Baqara, Al Imran, Anfal, Tawba, Rahman, and Asr, which feature such themes as jihad, the birth of the nation of Islam, war, Allah’s favours and the importance of faith.

Religious lectures last from two to four hours each day. The living martyr goes on lengthy fasts. He spends much of the night praying. He pays off all his debts, and asks for forgiveness for actual or perceived offences.

Producing a cadre of suicide bombers is largely a religious and cultural process that is ironically protected by notions of freedom of religion and speech. Due to its nature it cannot be countered with ordinary weapons. Successful opposition to it requires a cultural Surge, one that is fought largely without kinetic weapons. The natural agents for such a religious Surge aren't diplomats or soldiers, but proselytizers of non-Islamic religions and/or the imams of Islam who do not subscribe to the theories of suicide martyrdom.

But that doesn't mean that the outcome of the kinetic battle is unimportant. When Nasserism and secular socialism were discredited by the Arab world's defeat at the hands of Israel it opened the way to a resurgence of the kind of Islamic fundamentalism that has produced the suicide bomber. While the military defeat of the Jihad may have no direct effect on Islamic doctrine, it will probably encourage ideological substitution and adaptation away from it, in the same way that explosive vests replaced the VBIED. In other words, military setbacks for the Jihad have the effect of undermining people's faith in it. That undermining might be the most important result of all. A study by Radha Iyengar and Johnathan Monten at Harvard demonstrated the correlation between faith in victory and the ferocity of attacks in Iraq. The authors found that:

Using data on attacks and variation in access to international news across Iraqi provinces, we identify an “emboldenment” effect by comparing the rate of insurgent attacks in areas with higher and lower access to information about U.S news after public statements critical of the war. We find in periods after a spike in war-critical statements, insurgent attacks increases by 5-10 percent. The results suggest that insurgent groups respond rationally to expected probability of US withdrawal.

It was the allure while still undiminished by the recent effects of the Surge -- and usually from afar -- of "martyrdom" that was largely responsible for the suicide bombing carnage in Iraq. The average suicide bomber in Iraq, according to a profile released by the US military is that of a "young, lonely" man "struggling to make a mark".

They typically come from large, lower-income families in which they struggled to be noticed. "Most of these young men wanted to make an impression, but paradoxically they did not tell their families they were going off to Iraq to fight for Al Qaeda out of fear of disapproval," said Smith, a U.S. military spokesman.

Smith said most were from the Middle East and North Africa, including about 40% from Saudi Arabia. More than half of the approximately 240 foreign fighters in U.S. custody come from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria, according to figures provided separately by the military. Smaller numbers were recruited in Jordan, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Kuwait, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. In addition, several hundred foreign fighters are in Iraqi custody.

Most described their upbringing as religious but not extremist, Smith said. Many said their fathers were harsh and often abusive. Most reported little or no previous military experience. Before they were recruited, many worked as taxi drivers, construction workers and in other low-paying jobs. Others were students.

Their recruiters preyed on their desire for recognition, acceptance and friendship, Smith said.

As previously noted, the assembly lines of suicide bombing are cultural institutions largely spared from the effects of kinetic warfare. If they are motivated by "outrage" against US combat in Iraq, they are mostly motivated at second-hand by a deadly partnership of media and mosque.

Many detainees told their interrogators that they were first approached at their mosques. Others were approached at work and invited to attend discussions at the mosque.

These conversations would begin as a harmless discussion about Islam that over several weeks would shift to the war against U.S.-led forces in Iraq, he said.

The recruits were often shown videos of Americans purportedly abusing Iraqis and were urged to help avenge the mistreatment by killing Americans, Smith said. Insurgent strikes against U.S. forces also were shown.

Only when they had been molded into suicide weapons did military or clandestine logistics play any part. "Once they agreed to join the fight, most of the young men were flown to Syria and then smuggled into Iraq by road, he said. The facilitators who met them in Syria often entertained them at nightclubs and bars during the months it sometimes took to get them to Iraq, Smith said. But when they reached Iraq, those destined for suicide missions were sequestered in safe houses with copies of the Koran and few other amenities."

The Harvard study showed how demoralization adversely affects enemy military success. While this is the effect that one would expect to find, the larger lesson that that the wellsprings of enemy kinetic fighting capability lie in cultural and religious activity -- in this case partly encouraged by Western newspapers -- goes largely unappreciated. The source of the enemy's strength is, if not the Koran, a particular interpretation of it. But if the primary force generation tool of the Islamic radicalism are the ideas taught in Mosques and madrassas how can they be successfully countered? In particular, what would a Cultural or Religious Surge look like? One obvious front is in the media. The Harvard study shows how life-saving public discourse literally is.

But any Cultural Surge needs foot-soldiers to wage it and this case the reinforcement cannot come primarily from the military. But if not them, then who will wage the polemical war against religious nihilism? Gen Petraeus knew where to get the brigades for his kinetic reinforcement. Where do we find those who will argue against bombing pet markets? Where do we get the soldiers of religious belief and ideas?

One is tempted to say one may potentially find them in universities, divinity schools and in the media of the West. But the reality is that is but faint hope. Not until these institutions reform themselves to fight against the suicide bomber; a reform process that must be largely internal, can the intellectual warriors be generated in sufficient numbers. To a large extent winning the ideological fight against radical Islam means waging the war against the forces which have crippled the intellectual life of the West.




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40 Comments:

Blogger Asher Abrams said...

From the linked Wikipedia article:

'Polemic journalism was common in continental Europe when libel laws weren't stringent.'

3/17/2008 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard, I don't think you CAN argue against bombing Pet Markets. Certainly not among Muslims.

Their polygamy makes them violent. The religious component is more a function of sexual frustration and hostility caused by ... polygamy. Which won't change any time soon.

If every young man in Muslim countries had an exclusive girlfriend who could become his wife the supply of suicide bombers would be next to nil. Regular sex on the one hand with a girlfriend who loves you, and vice-versa, versus ... death? Simple human nature would guarantee that Mullahs coming round to argue for suicide bombing would get their behinds beaten well and good by young men seeing the good life threatened.

But Muslim society ALWAYS produces suicide attacks for that reason. A religious justification for sexual frustration and release. Widespread pornography probably makes things WORSE. Since stimulation plus complete lack of compassionate, loving human contact ... seems to produce violence.

It's interesting to note REAL poverty-stricken Muslim nomads living on the edge of survival have no truck with suicide bombing and could care less about washing their sins away. They only want food to eat that night. Not too many suicide bombers among nomadic tribesman in the Sahara.

Perhaps the ugly answer is to reduce wealthy Muslim countries to mere survival/subsistence, where all energies are expended merely on survival. There would be no time or excess resources available to answer sexual frustration with suicide bombing.

3/17/2008 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

What the Islamic world does is largely beyond our control. But changing what we do in the West is more feasible.

Following the analysis above, one of the key investments Western governments should make is in alternative education. The core of such an education would be a community organizing experience in places where extremism has left its ugly mark.

Even in a sunny, calm Sydney there are disturbing stories of how women and non-Muslims in certain suburbs are already being subjected to harassment. A good community organizer would have ample material to build around and more importantly, to create a cadre from. Only in this way can we develop the polemical, legal and intellectual weapons that are needed to fight extremism.

To a certain extent the Iraq experience is already doing a similar thing among US troops. When you've seen old Jihad Joe at close range he's no longer the figure of myth worshipped in many universities but just another guy with a bad attitude.

A good cadre of organizers trained to pick up the victims of extremism (for example, how many honor killing victims are there?) turned loose in London, Paris or Amsterdam would make a hell of a mark. But it's not something the regular academic funding agencies would even contemplate -- for now.

3/17/2008 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Sloat said...

Whiskey, if sexual frustration lead to suicide bombing, there wouldn't be a tech school left on the planet(and I should know, my school is best-known for math and engineering, and a massive proportion of the population in those programs are single). It may contribute, but it's hardly necessary or sufficient.

3/17/2008 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger JacksonvillePat said...

"But any Cultural Surge needs foot-soldiers to wage it and this case the reinforcement cannot come primarily from the military. But if not them, then who will wage the polemical war against religious nihilism?"

Here is a site from a group that dialogs with Muslims. It is also a good resource for information about Islam and Christianity.

http://answering-islam.org.uk/

3/17/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger InternetFred said...

Wretchard and others keep saying that the ideological conditions at US universities are just terrible. But all I see is anecdotal evidence. Is there any evidence of wider support of Islamists and al-Queda at the universities?

3/17/2008 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

I don't think there's support as such in universities for al-Qaeda. But there's ample evidence we don't want to argue with the them or any protected shibboleth. This takes the form of hate speech codes. Most recently Mark Steyn and his publisher were hauled into a human rights tribunal for publishing the Mohammed Cartoons.

Most alarmingly Lawrence Summers was recently driven from the presidency of Harvard for innocuous remarks at the same time Ward Churchill, who blatant academic fraud, could not be fired for plagiarism. Summers had impeccable liberal credentials. Vast academic and professional qualification. That this could happen to him was practically ironclad proof that we all needed to shut up when it came to observing protected categories of people.

What we need to do is restore the balance. How do we know that balance has been restored? When Islam becomes an ordinary subject; when it's possible to study the Koran in the same way people study the Bible. Clearly we are not there; nor will we get there unless we make a conscious effort to turn things around.

3/17/2008 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Internet Fred asks:

Is there any evidence of wider support of Islamists and al-Queda at the universities?

I think "support" is the wrong word. Let's look at another current controversy.

Spengler at Asia Times (atimes.com) notes the employment of the intellectual founders of the "black liberation theology" movement (subscribed to by the Reverend Wright, Sen. Obama's pastor):

Hopkins is a full professor at the University of Chicago's Divinity School; Cone is now distinguished professor at New York's Union Theological Seminary. They promote a "black power" reading of Christianity, to which liberal academic establishment condescends.

I think condescends is a good word here. And what is it that these institutions give considerable condescending support too? Spengler quotes Professor Cone:

Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.

Reading the above I have to ask: Why not an AQ theologian at the Union Theological Seminary? OK. There might be Visa problems. But a petition signed by 10,000 of our best and brightest might spring one for the guy.

Many on the Academic Left like to use intellectual wrecking balls. They don't need to "support" the ball, or like the ball, just aim the ball (and keep their fingerprints off it). If change is what you're after...

3/17/2008 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard what you ask is impossible. Western Leftists HATE HATE HATE the West with all their might and WELCOME honor killings. They WELCOME female genital mutilation. They welcome the burqua. They welcome polygamy.

All these things help destroy the middle class Western society which is directly the enemy and standing in the way of a society like Castro's: a few rich elite apparatchiks, and the peons to lord over. Guess which group the Left sees itself as belonging to?

Non-violent action will be simply suppressed by sympathetic bureaucrats and media people and academics and the like. In support of their PC-Multiculti identity politics allies.

Only the "way" shown by Hamas, Hezbollah, Black September, Red Brigades, etc. will "work." It will be ugly, brutal, disgusting, dangerous, and bloody. Potential Honor Killers, bureaucrats, media people, academics, will all have to be shot by secret women if say, European Muslim women want refuge from honor killings, mutilation, forced marriage, polygamy, etc.

Those who oppose them must be terrorized. Those who are their allies: media, bureaucrats, academics, must be made to fear for their lives or persons if they oppose the programme of Muslim women seeking succor and full rights as human beings in the West.

In the West absent massive alliances already formed among the media, intelligentsia, and bureaucracy, non-violence fails EVERY TIME. But violence WORKS, almost every time. Black September alone made support for the Palestinians and "Israel a dirty word" ala Preacher Wright the default value for Europe.

Nor do I accept that we cannot change the Muslim world. It's in the power of the US to NOT KILL most Muslims, but simply impoverish them to the point of subsistence living. We are told we are rich because we make others poor, already. Why not make that a reality, and make our enemies so poor, and insure they remain so poor, that the struggle for mere survival informs all their energies. No jihad!

Agreed that sexual frustration is the necessary but not sufficient explanation. But among Western technology students, there is an expectation that with enough riches a wife/girlfriend can be found. The basic numbers are not that unequal. Though lately the reality is IMHO leading to unhealthy misogyny based on exclusion. Those torture porn movies make me uneasy and disturbed. For Muslim men, though, the basic numbers are easily estimated. No matter how rich they get, there's simply no hope unless extreme riches so unlikely are achieved.

3/17/2008 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

I'll add that this post at Brussels Journal here says it all.

Muslim youths have formed a group, beat up Dutch youth supporting Gert Wilders, and told his supporters they will die. Posted it on YouTube.

THAT will work. It's the wave of the future.

3/17/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

Muslim youths have formed a group, beat up Dutch youth supporting Gert Wilders, and told his supporters they will die. Posted it on YouTube. THAT will work. It's the wave of the future.

It's not the wave of the future unless people mindlessly rely on the state and institutions to provide basic protections that ordinary people can legally avail themselves of.

That's why I think the first step to starting a cultural counter-surge is to create learning institutions outside of traditional academia but well within the community. We have to invent the organizational forms of nonkinetic combat; the political forms. Because not everything can be done with guns.

3/17/2008 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Universities routinely exclude conservatives from speaking, someone like Justice Thomas not welcome, at the same time outrageous radicals come, spew, and get paid for it.

It is not unknown for conservatives to be given a chance to speak, only to be rallied and shouted out of that opportunity, (speech canceled)...and those that do get to speak are often drowned out by vicious hecklers.
Not exactly a forum for the free exchange of ideas.

Examples abound of students being docked for not spouting the leftist line promoted by professors, in their papers and tests.

Faculties tend to vote overwhelmingly Democrat, and University Presidents often make DC Pols look like brave warriors for freedom.

3/17/2008 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What Happened to Manliness?

3/17/2008 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Cake said...

I suppose you could try to arrange some forms of alternate learning for disparate muslim yoots, but how do you plan on fighting Allah?

The imams find all sorts of convenient passages that support vaporizing a school bus; convincing impressionable losers is only one step in the process.

An imam can say, "sure, get a job and work yourself to the bone to pay the rent and maybe get a car..OR..kill a few Israelis in a millisecond and get everything you want right now."

Those who try to bring reason and sanity to the islamic world have a propensity for getting their brains blown out, until you figure out a way to keep them alive en-masse, alternate learning will never take place. Allah and his paradise are awfully difficult to argue against.

3/17/2008 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger sbw said...

Wretchard, you must read Magic, Science, and Civilization by Jaacob Bronowski. Written in 1985, it is the starting point for the Cultural Surge.

The courage to stand up follows easily from it.

3/17/2008 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Countering the crazy ideas in Islam isn't intellectually difficult - various factions within Islam argue against each other all the time.

The real problem is communicating ideas to Muslim nutcases. Many Islamic societies are very closed - not unlike the North Koreans. I don't know if you have to drop leaflets or what, but communication is the key. I've long suspected that the Fibre-optic cable cutting was the work of Islamo-nutballs trying to keep Muslim society in the 12th century.

3/17/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

New Gov Admits:
Should just make it a requirement for office.
New Gov should have admitted BEFORE taking oath!

3/17/2008 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger GW said...

I concur with your points with but one exception. I do not believe that we can wait around silently hoping for internal reform within the institutional pillars of the Islamic community in the West. These institutions are being flooded with Saudi petrodollars precisely to insure that they remain immune from such reform. There needs to be an external impetus that our government should be providing within constitutional grounds. Simply put, step one in the war of ideas is to engage with it. That means to educate the populace about the origins of the jihadi philosophy and shine a bright light on its malignancy.

As an aside, I would note that, worse than not engaging is the tack taken in Britain, making it government policy to pretend that the ideological problem with Islam does not exist.

The second thing that we need to do is fully engage with those people in the West who would work a change in their religion or who otherwise stand counter to the jihadi/Salafi ideology. They are out there. We should be doing what we can within our constitutional boundaries to support people such as Zuhdi Jasser, Tawfiq Hamid and organizations such as the Center for Islamic Pluralism.

And as a collary to that, our government needs stop dealing with jihadi institutions such CAIR and the MAS, as the British government needs to cut off its reliance on the MCB, as discussed in a post here. At any rate, I've written what feels like megabytes on this over the past few months, if you are interested.

http://wolfhowling.blogspot.com/2008/03/jihadi-drumbeat.html

3/17/2008 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"As an aside, I would note that, worse than not engaging is the tack taken in Britain, making it government policy to pretend that the ideological problem with Islam does not exist."
---
That is exactly what is happening wrt racial hate crimes in LA:
They just slap the label "Gang Crime" on it, declare that gang crime is different than racial hate crimes, and voila!
Problem solved.

3/17/2008 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

But Ward Churchill was fired.

3/17/2008 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

W, You explained why the bombers do it but not why the bomber's handlers choose to do it.

The reasons for suicide bombing seem to be that: It terrorizes the enemy. "They love live, and we love death." etc.

Also, it is easier and more effective to carry a bomb into a room, or pizza place, and set it off manually, than to place it in that location and set it off remotely. This is part of asymmetrical warfare, how the weak fights the strong. The suicide bombers in Israel five years ago killed many more than the Grad missiles and all the Quassam missiles that have been fired into Israel from Gaza. I think even the Katyushas fired into Israel by HB during the Leb war killed fewer than those victims of suicide bombing.

It does integrate well with Muslim theology. IOW, they do it because they can.

The bombers/martyrs are exalted in certain Muslim societies. They name streets after them and post their pictures on every building. Part of this is to create a milieu where youth will volunteer for martyrdom.

I don't see where the interdiction is in these reasons. It works well for the jihadis and I don't see how they can be talked out of it. I guess if the youth were to believe that it was against Muslim beliefs then maybe it could be stopped. I sometimes wonder if a broad campaign to humiliate, insult and ridicule particular Arabs (say the Hamas leadership) would help to reduce their stature in their constituent's eyes. OTOH, animated gifs of OBL screwing a goat don't seem to have helped.

Israel's solution was the barrier and operation defensive shield.

How did we stop the Kamikazes?

3/17/2008 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I believe that one of the keys to defeating Islamic jihad is to get more and more Muslims to apostasize. And a key way to do this is to inflict defeat on them relentlessly and of such an order that they see the futility of Allah and his words in the Qur'an.

whiskey_199, I believe, is on to a valuable cultural insight about suicide jihad operations.

Wretchard is right that we don't control much of what can happen within their cultures and within Islam. We have to undergo a dramatic hardening of our attitudes towards this enemy if we are to prevail. Does anyone think that before Poitiers in 732 A.D. or before Vienna in 1683 that you had political and military leadership that DOUBTED the legitimacy of their cause? It's a preposterous situation we find ourselves in today, that so many despise their own culture and have no sense of the danger to their cherished "Open Society" concepts should the Ummah win this war.

We can control how we respond to jihad. And we must meet it with extreme violence.

3/17/2008 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Legitimacy?
What Legitimacy?

Dreams of my Father: Pg 293

"White Folks Greed Runs a Whole World in Need"

Uncle Jerry

3/17/2008 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/17/2008 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The failing in the West is that of CORRUPTION. A deep rooted corruption that necessarily follows our participation in a global oil economy. Our institutions are failing (both national and international) because they are all subservient to a primary political/economic directive. The primary directive is that of obtaining Jihadi controlled oil to fuel our participation in the global oil economy. The real solution is to sever the tie of reliance on oil and the corruption that necessarily follows and aggressively move into alternatives such as Solar and Offshore Wind Plants.

3/17/2008 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Levy said...

I think there's a point here which has been overlooked.

The study is based on interviews made between '96-'99. At that time, suicide bombers were few and far between, and each one required several months of indoctrination before they could be trusted to do their jobs.

Since the outbreak of the second intifada, that situation has changed completely. Volunteers for suicide operations have become much more plentiful, without any need for careful indoctrination. The idea of the Suicide Bomber as an example to be followed has become so pervasive, that all a would-be jihadi has to do is ask for a suicide vest and he would be given one. And even if half of these bombings go awry, you had enough candidates that it doesn't matter.

I believe that a fundamental shift was triggered, by the second intifada in Palestinian society, and by the occupation of Iraq in the Middle East at large. It is important to recognize this shift, and understand its causes. In essence, the media in the Arab world has supplanted the months-long indoctrination formerly necessary, by its dissemination of propaganda, of many examples of suicide bombings, and of public praise for those bombings.

3/18/2008 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Soft jihad is a much greater threat to liberty than the possibility of a Muslim army sweeping across the border. You can read almost any European newspaper and find incidents every day about ordinary citizens being denied the ability to live their lives by gangs of euphemistic "Asian youths." The latest is an elderly Anglican cleric getting beaten by Muslims who want the church turned into a mosque.

The only way to deal successfully with aggression is to confront it head on. The particularly bad elements of European Muslim enclaves must be killed or jailed and the remainder left with no doubt that the only real choice for them is between assimilation or annihilation.

Group punishment is a requirement when it takes a group ethos to make things like suicide vests normal and acceptable.

If the state is unwilling or unable to protect its citizens then it loses its legitimacy as the sole arbiter of violence. I don't think even the worst of the European cities is there yet but some are beginning to approach it.

3/18/2008 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

The factory is entirely virtual; it consists in the mental preparation of the attackers. It doesn't have any machine tools, electronics or technology newer than the 8th century. In fact it would look very much like a meeting hall, mosque or madrassa.

If they are motivated by "outrage" against US combat in Iraq, they are mostly motivated at second-hand by a deadly partnership of media and mosque.

Many detainees told their interrogators that they were first approached at their mosques. Others were approached at work and invited to attend discussions at the mosque.

But if the primary force generation tool of the Islamic radicalism are the ideas taught in Mosques and madrassas how can they be successfully countered?

Anyone else sensing a pattern here? Maybe we wouldn't have this problem if there weren't so many mosques. Just sayin'.

Whiskey_199: Perhaps the ugly answer is to reduce wealthy Muslim countries to mere survival/subsistence, where all energies are expended merely on survival. There would be no time or excess resources available to answer sexual frustration with suicide bombing.

Much like the proverbial bus full of lawyers at the lake's bottom: It's a good start. I suggest a 5,000% tariff on all food exported to Islamic countries. Sure, they could impose a 5,000% tariff on their oil but that would only drive energy independence that much faster.

The point is, most Islamic countries CANNOT GROW ENOUGH FOOD. Neither Russia nor China could send them any food either. Both of them are significant food importers. If we do not have the courage to militarily defeat our Islamic foes then they must be starved into submission.

Almost all muslim majority nations experience extreme Water Poverty. Purchasing wheat is merely an expedient way of importing water. Iran just eclipsed Japan as the world's premier importer of wheat.

The world's fastest growing market for imported wheat is the MENA (Middle East North Africa) zone whose annual consumption would require irrigation equivalent to the entire River Nile's flow.

Halting food shipments to the MME (Muslim Middle East) would bring Islam to its knees in a few short weeks.

Whiskey_199: It's in the power of the US to NOT KILL most Muslims, but simply impoverish them to the point of subsistence living. We are told we are rich because we make others poor, already. Why not make that a reality, and make our enemies so poor, and insure they remain so poor, that the struggle for mere survival informs all their energies. No jihad!

See above.

Fred: I believe that one of the keys to defeating Islamic jihad is to get more and more Muslims to apostasize. And a key way to do this is to inflict defeat on them relentlessly and of such an order that they see the futility of Allah and his words in the Qur'an.

Despite my adamant opposition to first use of nuclear weapons, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Muslims would begin to feel rather silly bowing five times a day to a plain of hot smoking glass.

We can control how we respond to jihad. And we must meet it with extreme violence.

Not much will change until Islam is given a massive dose of its own medicine. Once the Muslim world is made to understand the consequences of declaring war upon the much better armed West, only then will they see the error of their ways. Dar al Harb, the "House of War", must truly fulfill its destiny in order to crush jihad.

3/18/2008 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 03/18/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

3/18/2008 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

The problem Jihadi's face is that the suicide bombing becomes self-defeating.

It's not lost on the average muslim in the street that the suicide bombers are killing mostly muslims.

Various extremists of every stripe have always discounted the "silent majority". The silent majority rarely makes its views known...but it does have a voice. When it speaks..it is deafening. The Anbar experience is the course extremism almosts always takes. The extremists assume acquiencience as support. Virtually overnight, Ramadi went from most dangerous city in the world...to most peaceful city in the world.

One could run a perfectly stable benevolent dictatorship if one could accurately measure the direction and mood of the "Silent Majority".(Dubai is a rare example) Unfortunately or fortunately, zealots don't even attempt to measure the mood of the Silent Majority.

Eventually, the Muslim silent majority will speak.

3/18/2008 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Zenster said:

"Halting food shipments to the MME (Muslim Middle East) would bring Islam to its knees in a few short weeks."

The hard truth is the whole MME economy is based upon selling fossil fuel (a nonrenewable resource). Their initial long term hope was using their petroleum windfall to build up some sort of economic system that was sustainable, e.g. manufacturing ships (like Korea), airplanes (like the US), armaments (like China) or becoming a center of international trade (like Singapore). Obviously the MME has not done this. They've squandered their windfall on palaces for their aristocracy, pretty mosques and dole payments to their unwashed unemployed masses. Add to this that most of their money is denominated in US$ that is currently plunging in value.

Obviously the collapse of the US$ is going to cause the United States major pain but at the end of the day the US manufacturing capability will become competitive in the global economy (our workers will be paid what their labor is actually worth which isn't much).

Unfortunately (for world peace) after the oil runs out, all the MME will have is lots of sand, camels and millions of very pissed off, hungry religious fanatics. We do not need to halt their food shipments. Within 20 years they won't have any money to buy food with. The MME has no future prospects. Stick a fork in them, they're done...

3/18/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger mark said...

Wretchard said: "One is tempted to say one may potentially find them in universities, divinity schools and in the media of the West. But the reality is that is but faint hope."

I saw Ayaan Hirsan Ali on C-Span last night. She is the one, and others like her are the one. Her elephant gun message: "Human beings are all equal. Cultures are not all equal." Western culture is superior to a 7th Century fossil culture. It's a devastating message delivered with an assassin's cool logic. And of course she is under a death sentence. Because they know that she is the one.

Marcus

3/18/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger OmegaPaladin said...

Methuselah,

We need to start using nuclear plants and coal liquefaction if we want to actually replace our reliance on foreign oil. Wind and solar are too restricted based on location.

3/18/2008 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

OmegaPaladin said:

"We need to start using nuclear plants and coal liquefaction if we want to actually replace our reliance on foreign oil. Wind and solar are too restricted based on location."

I agree. Nuclear fission and coal based synthetic petroleum are the obvious short term (100 year) solutions for our current energy crisis (eventually the coal will run out and the fuel rods require recycling). The long term solutions will have to be either nuclear fusion (which maybe economically impossible) or nuclear fission breeder reactors coupled with biofuels.

3/18/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Eggplant: We do not need to halt their food shipments. Within 20 years they won't have any money to buy food with. The MME has no future prospects. Stick a fork in them, they're done...

While this is largely true, it does not alter the need to crush Islam post haste.

Were this some 50 or 60 years ago, waiting a few decades certainly would be the most painless option. Unfortunately for all parties involved—especially so for Muslims—this is the nuclear age and even just one decade is far too many years to sit around waiting for Iran or any other Islamic cesspit to assemble a nuclear arsenal.

Pakistan is a sterling object lesson of just how ludicrous it is for a Muslim majority nation to possess atomic weapons. Even though I abhor any American first-use of nuclear weapons, should Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal fall into terrorist hands I would have no choice but to advocate the total destruction of that entire nation.

Islam’s obsession with death and its incorrigible cognitive dissonance twist into a Gordian knot whose loops and bights—when laced about nuclear weapons—demand Alexander’s solution. There is no way to unravel the tangled skein of Islamic thought. It is not merely alien to the Western mind but so callously contemptuous of its own adherents that having atomic bombs becomes—not just a wild card but—something akin to a fatal random number generator, the output of which is as unpredictable as it is deadly.

Whiskey_199 has covered this many times. What will it be? A cartoon? A piggy bank? A Teddy bear? An innocently misaligned toilet? What will eventually cause the random number generator of Islam’s irrational wrath to spit out its final declaration of nuclear war? There is no way for us to tell and—more importantly—no reason why we should care.

If a pistol tends to misfire so often that it’s dangerously unreliable, you melt it down rather than use it any more. If a given culture is such a bad actor that it constantly misreads its lines or inappropriately adlibs, you yank it off of the stage. Islam’s rejection of this world’s commonly recognized social contract is so pronounced that it is long past tea to revoke its license to participate. Plainly put:

Muslims are skinless people living in a sandpaper world.

Can we—and more importantly—, should we bother to put edge protectors and corner pads on every abrasive and sharp object in our entire world solely to protect or avoid offending perpetually offended Muslim sensibilities?

Long answer: No way in Hell. Short answer: No.

Either Muslims learn to accommodate the modern world’s propensity for free speech and religious freedom—no matter how offensive—or they can go the way of the horse and buggy. All that remains to be pointed out is that unneeded horses are turned into pet food. Islam would be well advised to remember that simple fact.

3/18/2008 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger cooldog said...

Zenster said: "Anyone else sensing a pattern here? Maybe we wouldn't have this problem if there weren't so many mosques. Just sayin'."

And I add: cull the imams. They moderate or they die. That will eventually turn Islam.

Zenster - I just started posting here when suddenly you popped up, and since you generally make my points better than I could, I just sit back and cheer.

Soldier's Dad --- while it's a good thing that the people of Anbar noticed that the jihadis were mostly killing muslims, and decided that they didn't like that kind of jihad, I fear that were the jihadis more selective, and more skillful, and only killed us infidels, the people of Anbar wouldn't have any serious objections. That seems to be the case with the majority of muslims.

And *that*, my friend, is the real problem.

3/18/2008 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Zenster - The point is, most Islamic countries CANNOT GROW ENOUGH FOOD. Neither Russia nor China could send them any food either. Both of them are significant food importers. If we do not have the courage to militarily defeat our Islamic foes then they must be starved into submission.

Zionists forget that while America has been transformed into a wastrel debtor nation, the oil exporters have huge cash reserves and investments abroad and the promise of oil. That grain exporting nations from Australia through N&S America through the former Soviet states will never form OGEC (Organization of Grain Exporting Countries) and happily compete for good money or energy deals.
Against that, shitty little countries urging us to starve "the Muslim people" have little influence outside their USA-bribed Congress.

Eggplant - Obviously the collapse of the US$ is going to cause the United States major pain but at the end of the day the US manufacturing capability will become competitive in the global economy (our workers will be paid what their labor is actually worth which isn't much).

Our workers will not compete at 2 dollars an hour to sit idly while profits from vastly cheaper labor go to less than 1% of the US population - 2,000 or so multibillionaire families where all wealth and they hope all power is concentrated.

Rather than passively accept concentration of wealth locked up in an oligarchy of the few - and a dramatically degraded standard of living - Americans will opt for abandoning Bushism and seek redistributionist economic policy.

*************

3/19/2008 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger VinceP1974 said...

The first step in any cultural defense of the West on the ideological level has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims... or being able to communicate with them.

The first battle must be against the Left.

It's the nutty Left (systematically) and some weak sisters on the Right (individually) that has to be dealt with first.

They are the major impedements of our defense and are transmitting "Come... Conquer Us" vibes to the Muslims.

I wouldn't say that the Left is pro-Islamization.. but they are definately Anti-Anti-Islamization.

Look at the fierce institutional resistance to Islamofascism Awareness Week in the Universities in the US.

The Left's mindlessness and thoughtlessness seems completely impenetrable to me..
they will insist on undermining any sort of cultural defense of the West and in the end , cause inevitible defeat.

3/19/2008 02:23:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

cooldog: cull the imams. They moderate or they die. That will eventually turn Islam.

Word. We need to keep culling them until either Islam learns to STFU or there are no more imams. End of story. Top down attrition of Islamic aristocracy is one of the only alternatives to flat-out genocide.

I fear that were the jihadis more selective, and more skillful, and only killed us infidels, the people of Anbar wouldn't have any serious objections. That seems to be the case with the majority of muslims.

And *that*, my friend, is the real problem.


You're right on the money, cooldog. Notice how Pakistan had no problem with suicide attacks until they started happening in their own back yard. Now they're howling about it.

Still, noboby in the Muslim world has enough sand to swear out a death fatwa against celebrity cleric Yusuf "Beat Your Wife Lightly" Qaradawi, who is almost singlehandedly responsible for authoring the religious sanction for such "martyrdom operations".

So, the real message here is that a vast majority of Muslims have no problem with the use of bomb vests except when they are the ones getting fragged. Otherwise, we'd be seeing global protests by Muslims over suicide attacks, which we aren't.

It brings to mind the words of a Spanish journalist:

"After a while, silence is no longer consent. To remain silent is to lie."

Islam's deafening silence has become nothing but a monstrous lie.

3/19/2008 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

C-fudd, ya good and worked up now, all hot and sweaty? I can see you at TUCC, spastically banging a tambourine and shouting "Hallelujah" while Wright screams a profanity-laced anti-Israel rant.

3/19/2008 08:19:00 PM  

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