WHO IS A 'TERRORIST'? There is no
generally accepted definition of terrorism.
A UN High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change defined terrorism as "any action intended to
cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of
intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organisation to
do, or abstain from, any act."
Sir Peter Ustinov: "Terrorism is the war of the poor,
and war is the terrorism of the rich."
["Terrorism is a political act, a response to U.S. foreign policy. It is an act
of war waged by people too weak to have a conventional army or one large enough
to take on the United States."-- Charley Reese, "Face it: U.S.
foreign policy contributes to acts of terrorism," August 18, 1998]
["Sixty years ago, both Allied and Axis soldiers set off on suicidal or
near-suicidal raids. These men's bravery cannot be overestimated, nor can the
resourcefulness and despair that led to the development of their crafts, . . .
midget submarines (Japanese, Italian, German, and British), and manned aircraft,
as well as human torpedoes, human bullets, and kamikaze aircraft. "--Richard
O'Neill, "Suicide Squads," 1999]
'War Is A Racket'," The Wisdom
Fund, September 11, 2001
[Whether they are "terrorists" or "freedom fighters" depends wholly one one's viewpoint,
because those seeking to attain political goals fight with what they have: hijacked
airplanes and concealed bombs or B-52s and laser guided rockets. But B-52s are far more
destructive. For the innocent victim it is all the same, and it makes no difference how
they are maimed or killed.--Gabriel Kolko, "Another Century
of War?," The New Press (2002), p.13]
["Beginning in the late 1980s, Tamil nationalists adopted suicide bombing on
a large scale, . . . From a Tamil population of roughly 2.5 million, the
guerrillas mounted about 250 suicide missions, and some of their most audacious
attacks were carried out by women, including the belt-bomb assassination of
India's prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991."--David Von Drehle, "U.S.
Fears Use of Belt Bombs," Washington Post, May 13, 2002]
[U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Ohio): "I think that people of faith understand
that for many of the terrorists, their actions are acts of sacred piety to the
point of losing their lives."-- "Threat of War
Spurs U.S. Soul-searching," Toledo Blade, March 1, 2003]
["I agree that it is a strategic mistake but I understand why they do it," she
said.--Chris McGreal, "Ex-bank
Manager Defends Palestinian Suicide Bombers," Guardian, March
[Israel's history of assassinations stretches back decades. In the early 1970s,
prominent members of Palestinian organizations were killed in rocket attacks and
car bomb explosions in Lebanon. Prime Minister Golda Meir authorized hit squads
to locate and kill members of the Black September cell responsible for the
kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Israeli undercover squads, dressed as Arabs, hunted down suspected militants in
the Palestinian territories during the first uprising, or intifada, from 1987 to
1993.--Molly Moore, "Israel's Lethal Weapon of Choice," Washington Post, June 29, 2003]
[Neither Israel nor America is bothering to ask why the Palestinians and Muslims
of the Middle East are carrying out suicide attacks, something not previously
seen in Islam or Palestine for the last 14 centuries.--Marwan Bishara, "The Israelization of American
Policy," International Herald Tribune, June 27, 2003]
[In the past 20 years, 17 groups in 14 different countries have used suicide
tactics. In less than 400 attacks, they have killed more than 5,000 people,
maimed at least 20,000 more and inflicted economic damage estimated at more than
£70 billion.--Dr Andrew Silke, "Profiling
terror," Janes, August 7, 2003]
[Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should
not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the
centres of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of
recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in
our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and
parents at home who are hungry and humiliated.--Avraham Burg, "The end
of Zionism," Guardian, September 15, 2003]
Ted Honderich, "Palestinian Terrorism,
Morality and Germany," CounterPunch, October 25, 2003
["To say that I understand why they take this action does not mean that I condone it.
The world is not listening to the plight of these people.--Ben Russell, "I would be
suicide bomber in Israel, says Lib Dem MP," The Independent, January 23, 2004]
Orit Shochat, "Better off
without ethical codes," Haaretz, March 3, 2004
Ellis Shuman, "Author Batya
Gur "not angry" with suicide bombers, but with Israeli leaders," Israel Insider,
March 10, 2004
[Suicide is forbidden in Islam, and very rare in Islamic societies, but if one must
sacrifice one's life in order to help the oppressed (and when one reaches that point is
a matter of interpretation), most religions consider it an heroic action.--John Alden
Islam," israelshamir.net, June 2004]
Michael Takiff, "They Behead; We Do It With Smart Bombs", Los Angeles Times,
July 4, 2004
[Once pariahs in Japan, 'kamikaze survivors' are now honored for their spirit of
sacrifice. They resent being lumped in with suicide bombers.--Bruce Wallace, "They've Outlived the Stigma", Los Angeles Times,
September 25, 2004]
[MILITANTS who attack military or state targets, even with suicide bombers, cannot be
considered terrorists in times of war or occupation, an Italian judge said in a ruling
depends on target: judge", The Australian, April 22, 2005]
Madeleine Bunting, "Honour and martyrdom:
Suicide bombing isn't as new or alien as westerners imagine", Guardian, May 14, 2005
[One of the worlds foremost authorities on the subject, Professor Pape has created
the first comprehensive database of every suicide terrorist attack in the world from
1980 until today. With striking clarity and precision, Professor Pape uses this
unprecedented research to debunk widely held misconceptions about the nature of
suicide terrorism and provide a new lens that makes sense of the threat we face.
FACT: Suicide terrorism is not primarily a product of Islamic fundamentalism.
FACT: The world's leading practitioners of suicide terrorism are the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka - a secular, Marxist-Leninist group drawn from Hindu families.
FACT: Ninety-five percent of suicide terrorist attacks occur as part of coherent campaigns organized by large militant organizations with significant public support.
FACT: Every suicide terrorist campaign has had a clear goal that is secular and political: to compel a modern democracy to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.
FACT: Al-Qaeda fits the above pattern. Although Saudi Arabia is not under American military occupation per se, one major objective of al-Qaeda is the expulsion of U.S. troops from the Persian Gulf region, and as a result there have been repeated attacks by terrorists loyal to Osama bin Laden against American troops in Saudi Arabia and the region as a whole.
FACT: Despite their rhetoric, democracies - including the United States - have routinely made concessions to suicide terrorists. Suicide terrorism is on the rise because terrorists have learned that it's effective.--Robert Pape,
"Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism," Random House, May 24, 2005]
[In all our societies we reserve the highest honours for those who have given their
lives for their country.--Louise Richardson, "Blasts from
the past," Financial Times, July 1, 2005]
INTERVIEW: Robert Pape, "The Logic
of Suicide Terrorism: It's the occupation, not the fundamentalism," American
Conservative, July 18, 2005
Loretta Napoleoni, "Jihad's Cheapest Weapons:
Making sense of Female suicide bombers," antiwar.com, November 18, 2005
Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, "Chinese farmer in
suicide attack," BBC News, January 7, 2006
"Palestinian film on
suicide bombers wins Golden Globe," Reuters, January 17, 2006
[Suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation rather than a product of
Islamic fundamentalism. . . .
There is no better way to understand the enemy than to listen to how it recruits new
suicide bombers to kill us. In July, Al Qaeda released its most recent recruitment
video, encouraging Muslims to carry out new attacks similar to the July 7 bombings in
London last year. The video is stunning in its absence of religious
declamation.--Robert A. Pape, "5 YEARS AFTER 9/11: The growth of suicide terrorism,"
Chicago Tribune, September 11, 2006]
[What many Westerners dismiss as "terrorism," whether directed against Israelis,
Americans, or others in the West, ought to be seen as a panoply of techniques employed
to undercut the apparent advantages of high-tech conventional forces.--Andrew J.
Bacevich, "The Islamic Way
of War," American Conservative, September 11, 2006]
Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Terrorized by 'War on Terror',"
Washington Post, March 25, 2007
[ . . . younger Muslims in the U.S. are much more likely than older Muslim Americans to
say that suicide bombing in the defense of Islam can be at least sometimes justified.
Nonetheless, absolute levels of support for Islamic extremism among Muslim Americans are
Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream War on Terror Concerns," Pew Research
Center for the People and the Press, May 22, 2007]
"Poll: Few Muslims 'back
suicide bombs'," BBC News, July 25, 2007
Mia Bloom, "What the Tigers Taught Al-Qaeda," Washington Post, May 24, 2009
[In America's first war against Islam, we were the ones who introduced the use of
suicide bombers.--John Feffer, "Our
Suicide Bombers: Thoughts on Western Jihad," tomdispatch.com, August 7, 2009]
[ . . . the book highlights the dual legal regime in the West Bank, whereby Palestinians
are subject to military rule and courts while Israeli settlers are answerable to
civilian courts. At the same time, it argues, Israeli settlers are effectively allies
of the military--Donald Macintyre, "'Our lives became something we'd never dreamt': The former Israeli soldiers who
have testified against army abuses," Independent, December 12, 2009
Robert A. Pape, "It's
the Occupation, Stupid: Extensive research into the causes of suicide terrorism proves
Islam isn't to blame -- the root of the problem is foreign military occupations,"
foreignpolicy.com, October 18, 2010
Scott Shane, "Homegrown Radicals More Deadly Than Jihadis in U.S.,"
Washington Post, June 24, 2015
Aamer Madhani, "49 shot in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend -- and that's a sign
of progress," usatoday.com, May 30, 2017
[it was never a war on terror but a war of conquest and subjugation--John Pilger, "Terror
In Britain: What Did The Prime Minister Know," johnpilger.com, May 31, 2017]
Davide Lerner, "It's Not Islam That Drives
Young Europeans to Jihad, France's Top Terrorism Expert Explains,"
haaretz.com, May 31, 2017
Stanley L Cohen, "Palestinians have a legal right to armed struggle,"
aljazeera.com, July 20, 2017
Adam Johnson, "'Renouncing Violence' Is a Demand Made Almost Exclusively
of Muslims," commondreams.org, March 30, 2019