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Thread: Insurgents on Drugs?

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Insurgents on Drugs?

    23 Dec. Washington Times Op-Ed - Insurgents on Drugs?

    Odd? Maybe. Predictable? Probably. Worrisome? Definitely. Word is trickling back from Iraq, through official and unofficial channels, that "opiates" (likely of Afghan origin) may be showing up in dead Iraqi insurgents.

    Five questions flow from that trickle....

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    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    Anyone hear anything more definitive on this? We had a question about this awhile back. It seems a bit unlikely to me (at least the possibility of it being wide spread) hard core Islamist arenít usually into such things. It seems more likely this is just easier for westerns, who donít really believe in anything, to understand. Itís just hard for most Americans to get their brains around the idea of a suicide attack.

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    Default Easier to understand?

    Stu,

    I agree that the concept of suicide bombing is tough for most of us Westerners to grasp, especially the massive scale we see now; however, it is far from being a new tactic. The Japanese Kamakaze pilots, infantry Banzai charges, mass suicides to prevent capture (dishonor), LTTE used suicide bombings in Sri Lanka long before they became a popular weapon in Palestine, the Moro's in the Philippines would make suicide charges against American forces wearing tourniqets on their limbs and reportedly drugged up. It could even be argued that many of our soldiers undertook suicide missions when they volunteered to go on extremely high risk missions, such as the bombing runs over Germany, and didn't something like 8 out 10 U-Boat personnel die in action?

    Perhaps I'm off track, but the point is the Muslims don't have the market on courage cornered, and Westerners do understand making the ultimate sacrifice, but there is a key difference! Our guys sacrificed for a "higher" cause, even though they still feared death. They were motivated by moral values, and they only used the suicide option as a final option to accomplish the mission. All of this is overly generalized, but you get the point.

    Now let's revisit the Jihadists. While they claim to have a cause, and some do (like the 9/11 terrorists), most of the suicide bombers we see in Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) simply have a "personal" cause versus a higher cause. Instead of being an act of courage, it is an act of cowardice. They murder incidents in the pursuit of personal comfort, i.e. a seat in paradise and 72 virgins. What they're really doing is escaping the hard ships of life for a promise of greener grass on the other side, and they somehow justify killing incidents in the process. In short they're taking the easy way out. Why our IO hasn't attacked this is beyond me, these guys are not heroes, they're simply selfish murderers.

    Like you, I doubt drugs play a big role, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were used by some during the operation to get that out of body experience and further the brain washing process. The process of radical Islamists brain washing folks to become suicide bombers has been well documented in Israel, and worth your time to read.

    Making light of a very serious situation, I can't help but think that being surrounded by 72 virgins would be closer to hell than heaven.

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    Council Member aktarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore
    Now let's revisit the Jihadists. While they claim to have a cause, and some do (like the 9/11 terrorists), most of the suicide bombers we see in Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) simply have a "personal" cause versus a higher cause. Instead of being an act of courage, it is an act of cowardice. They murder incidents in the pursuit of personal comfort, i.e. a seat in paradise and 72 virgins. What they're really doing is escaping the hard ships of life for a promise of greener grass on the other side, and they somehow justify killing incidents in the process. In short they're taking the easy way out. Why our IO hasn't attacked this is beyond me, these guys are not heroes, they're simply selfish murderers.
    I beg to differ. Strongly. The concept of islamic suicide bombings isn't "a way out" but rather martyrdom. With an act of martyrdom martyr ties his community together and focuses their anger on enemy.

    Peopel who die in battle but went into battle for wrong reasons (money, showing off....) are "marytyrs only on this world" (shahada ad dunya) and will not get maryty's reward on other world (some scholars even say they will go to hell).

    Shi'ias are somewhat special in this as their branch was crystalised after martyrdom of Imam Hossein at Karbala and fighting against superior enemy (Hossein charged with 72 supporters army of several thousand) has special place in shi'ia maythology. In second half of 20th century there was shift in shi'ia perception of honouring Hossein and it went from passive pennance (ashura) to active honoring (repeating such actions-see Hezbollah and human wave charges during IPGW).

    So when looking at islamic suicide bombers one should comapre them with Japanese kamikaze (sacrifice for higher goal) rather than person who puts a bulet through their heads because they lost all money in stock market or because they can't cope with life anymore.

    All this falls under cathegory of "altruistic suicide" with which one's death benefits community. Themopylae are another such eample.

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    Default They claim martyrdom, but....

    I'd have to agree more with Bill on this one. Such an emphasis is put on the 72 virgins and rewards in paradise, that it seems to be the cause, not the result of blowing up ones self.

    After they blow themselves to tiny bits, everyone who knew them before they did it talks about the bomber as a martyr and they even show the video the man (or recently woman) made beforehand. (As an aside, what do the women get for blowing themselves up? Chippendales?) But, all post-bombing discussions return to the emphasis on rewards in paradise.

    The anger (in their case, at the west) and tight knit community were already in place for those associating themselves with Jihadists groups. So, suicide bombings wouldn't create them. I wouldn't call the act martyrdom then, as described by aktarian.

    Added to that, the fact they take so many innocents out with them, shows the regard for themselves only. If such an egregious disregard for innocents weren't shown, as in the case of a Kamikazee pilot, maybe I'd see it more as an act of courage or martyrdom than cowardice.

    When the Jihadists kill all the innocent women and children during a suicide attack do they still qualify for paradise or does that send them to hell, since murder is punishable by death under Islam?

    On the original topic of drug use, wasn't there a report of autopsies on corpses revealing the presence of drugs or was that an urban legend? Also, as I recall, our gate guards were always on the lookout for anyone "whacked out on drugs." Probably would have been too late by then, but.....

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    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    Bill

    I was not trying to imply a monopoly on courage. Rather that the average run of the mill, suburban dwelling, SUV driving, cable talk show watching American doesnít really understand someone being willing to die for a religious belief. Which is why we get things like: they are all crazies over there or they must be on drugs.

    You are dead on about the virgins, 72 virgins is about 71 women too many.

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    Default Martyrdom or murder for personal gain?

    Quote Originally Posted by aktarian
    With an act of martyrdom martyr ties his community together and focuses their anger on enemy.

    So when looking at islamic suicide bombers one should comapre them with Japanese kamikaze (sacrifice for higher goal) rather than person who puts a bulet through their heads because they lost all money in stock market or because they can't cope with life anymore.

    All this falls under cathegory of "altruistic suicide" with which one's death benefits community. Themopylae are another such eample.
    Aktarian, I'll meet you in the middle. While having lost friends to martyr bombers, I can still accept altruistic suicide when the targets are military or other "appropriate targets". One could argue that from the enemy's perspective that the WTC was a strategic target, and the police stations in Iraq are an operational/strategic target, bombings directed again coalition forces are tactical through strategic; however, the wave of marytrdom suicide bombings directed against innocent Iraqis (and now Jordanians) that are random in nature are even rejected by Al Qaeda's leadership. Terrorism is indirect attacks against the enemy, it's public theater to influence, I got all that, but what is happening in Iraq has crossed the line. How altruistic is it to sacrifice yourself to murder shoppers and school children in mass, especially when they are your own people?

    Isn't this possibly an example of what you mentioned above, "People who went into battle for wrong reasons (money, showing off....) are "marytyrs only on this world" (shahada ad dunya)." This appears to me to be internal struggle between leadership within the Islamist movement, and many actions are simply actions to attract attention and attact those who lust for blood instead of those motivated by a cause. It appears to be more about personal status and ego if you read between the lines.

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    Council Member aktarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore
    Aktarian, I'll meet you in the middle. While having lost friends to martyr bombers, I can still accept altruistic suicide when the targets are military or other "appropriate targets". One could argue that from the enemy's perspective that the WTC was a strategic target, and the police stations in Iraq are an operational/strategic target, bombings directed again coalition forces are tactical through strategic; however, the wave of marytrdom suicide bombings directed against innocent Iraqis (and now Jordanians) that are random in nature are even rejected by Al Qaeda's leadership. Terrorism is indirect attacks against the enemy, it's public theater to influence, I got all that, but what is happening in Iraq has crossed the line. How altruistic is it to sacrifice yourself to murder shoppers and school children in mass, especially when they are your own people?
    I agree. There is no excuse for targeting civilians, be it suicide bombers or not. My point was that in the West see suicide as something abnormal and even suicide attacks as something out of ordianry. We look at soviet ramming attacks during WW2 as something strange, something that is so alien to us that we are shocked to see it when it happens. But not everybody has same set of values and for other cultures suicide attacks are not that odd.

    There are different cultures (Hindus do it for different reasons, Japanese for yet different and muslims for another ones), though "sacrifice for higher goal" is common.

    If we are going to dismiss suicide attackers as crazy, on drugs, brainwashed and whatnot we will use wrong methods to combat them. If you dismiss them as on drugs then your best protection is to create security barrier around yourr buildings and post armed guards there with shoot-to-kill orders to prevent them from attacking you. However if you see their attacks as part of their culture and martyrdom concept you can defend yourself by attacking their view and persuade them not to do it. If you can persuade them that such attacks are against their beleif they will not attakc you.

    The problem is correctly indetifying causes. And requires knowledge of their culture, so you know "what makes them tick".

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore
    Isn't this possibly an example of what you mentioned above, "People who went into battle for wrong reasons (money, showing off....) are "marytyrs only on this world" (shahada ad dunya)." This appears to me to be internal struggle between leadership within the Islamist movement, and many actions are simply actions to attract attention and attact those who lust for blood instead of those motivated by a cause. It appears to be more about personal status and ego if you read between the lines.
    Exactly. And I think focus should be to get this message across. engage moderate clerics to preach this. That attacks on civilians are against islam, that attackers woun't get their promised reward. Do it through their mindset, not through western. If you will just say "don't kill civilians" less peopel will tkae you seriously than if you say "If you do it you are violating this and this rule and will go to hell, not to heaven". specially if it comes from muslim cleric's mouth, not CNN.

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