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Suicide Bombers

Of all the martyrs in history, few have been successful at getting attention like the suicide bomber. By strapping a bushel of explosives around themselves and wandering into a crowd of "the enemy" (or maybe just people visiting "the enemy" on holiday) they succeed in making a bold, bloody statement and routing around the usual issues that attacking forces have, like escaping.

It's this intended lack of escape that makes a suicide bomber so tricky to deal with; unlike, say, a boat sailing into a harbor firing upon land to invade it, the attacker doesn't ever expect to leave. This means that they can wander deep into a building or a town square and press their plunger and not be studying the exits; more likely they'll be putting themselves next to a support beam or the gas tank of a bus because in just a few special moments they'll be travelling in many directions at high speeds.

The main problem with suicide bombing is nobody except your nutty little group thinks this is the way to go about things. Wars aren't supposed to be fought with massive amounts of one side killing themselves; that's not even sporting. War is supposed to be about risk, not guaranteed self-immolation.

The other main problem is that you get one shot with a suicide bomber; and since the type of person who commits themselves to a one-way mission for a vague sense of glory and responsibility isn't usually the sharpest fork in the drawer, you can actually have semi-hilarious situations (overlooking the dead for a moment). Consider some of these "suicide snafus":

  • In August of 2001, a suicide bomber sitting in a coffee house hit on the waitress, finally lifting his shirt and showing his explosives to get her attention. The waitress immediately screamed "terrorist" and the coffee shop immediately emptied before the bomber could hit the detonator, killing himself instantly but only lightly injuring 21 people.
  • There have been multiple cases of suicide bombers being snagged at checkpoints, detonating prematurely, and killing absolutely no-one. This is the suicide bomber equivalent of driving drunk and crashing into a tree pulling over for a sobriety check.
  • And in one case in May of 2002, a suicide bomber blew up, by himself, walking along a road, far away from anything or anybody. No doubt his family was proud.

There was a movement recently to rename suicide bombers "homicide bombers"; this kind of thinking betrays the suckiness of our modern times, where we've equated minor word-games with solving the problem. Hence we no longer have a "Department of War", but a "Department of Defense", who are now calling bomb-laden nutjobs anything but what they are. Go team! Luckily, this didn't catch on and will quickly be forgotten, like the idea that suicide bombing is going to stop anytime soon.

Incidentally, suicide bombing is prohibited in the Quran:

Sura 2:195 And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good.
This may put a damper on any suicide bombers who plan to enjoy their 70 virgins in heaven.

See further: Kamikaze Jet Hijacking

Homicide Bombers

12 Apr 2002 White House press spokesman Ari Fleischer unveils President Bush's latest neologism: homicide bombing. When asked to justify the change in terminology, Fleischer responds: "The reason I started to use that term is because it's a more accurate description. These are not suicide bombings. These are not people who just kill themselves. These are people who deliberately go to murder others, with no regard to the values of their own life. These are murderers. The President has said that in the Rose Garden. And I think that is just a more accurate description of what these people are doing. It's not suicide, it's murder."
14 May 2002 During a press conference, President George W Bush declares: "In terms of youngsters who are looking for -- you know, who are searching for a future, if there's a hopeless future there may be an opportunity to convert them into potential suiciders or potential killers."
30 Apr 2003 White House press spokesman Ari Fleischer declares: "The fact that Saddam Hussein has been removed from power does remove one source of instability that paid for suicide homicide bombers to cross into Israel and take innocent lives."
6 Oct 2003 During a press conference, President George W Bush declares: "I talked to Prime Minister Sharon yesterday. I expressed our nation's condolences, the needless murder of innocent people by the latest suicider."
28 Oct 2003 During a press conference in the Rose Garden, President George W Bush declares: "It is dangerous in Iraq because there are some who believe that we're soft, that the will of the United States can be shaken by suiciders - and suiciders who are willing to drive up to a Red Cross center, a center of international help and aid and comfort, and just kill... The strategy remains the same. The tactics to respond to more suiciders driving cars will alter on the ground."
14 Nov 2003 President George W Bush announces that Saddam Hussein "is paying suiciders to go kill innocent Israelis."
16 Nov 2003 President George W Bush announces that Ariel Sharon is "a man who has presided over suiciders, where he has to go to the funerals of women and children because some cold-blooded killer is trying to destroy the hopes of all the people in the region."
13 Dec 2003 President George W Bush tells Barbara Walters: "These are people that hide in caves, they hide in the dark corners of society, and they use suiciders as their forward army."
8 Feb 2004 President George W Bush tells Tim Russert on Meet the Press: "We remembered the fact that [Saddam] had used weapons, which meant he had weapons. We knew the fact that he was paying for suicide bombers."

Timeline

11 Dec 1960 In Palm Beach, Florida, retired postmaster Richard Pavlick chooses at the last moment not to ram John F. Kennedy's car and detonate his seven sticks of dynamite. Pavlick later explains that it was out of concern for Jackie: "I did not wish to harm her or the children... I decided to get him at the church or someplace later."
12 Nov 2003 Suicide bombers drive a Soviet-built truck with more than 800 pounds of explosives into Italian military headquarters in Nasiriyah, Iraq. The blast kills 30, including 11 Iraqi bystanders.


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