Pape's thesis is really very basic, and very simple. And it completely blows almost everything Bush says out of the water.
Pape did a statistical analysis of suicide bombings in the modern world, searching for the root causes. It is based on solid social scientific evidence. It doesn't appear, in my reading, to be ideological in any way. And the basic thesis can be grasped if you just plod through the first couple of chapters at the bookstore, or read a diary on dKos, for that matter.
Pape would tell you that suicide bombings are caused when democratic societies, like the U.S., occupy foreign lands with bases or soldiers, particularly where the occupying forces do not share the same culture/religion with the people being occupied.
So, when Bush suggests that we are going to keep ourselves safe from 9/11-like events, and car bombings, and train bombings, etc., by fighting a war in Iraq, he is exactly wrong. Our forces in Iraq are creating the exact conditions necessary to make people want to engage in suicide bombings.
And, when Bush says, as he did in his speech today, and I paraphrase, "To people who say Iraq is causing more terrorists, I would remind them that we weren't in Iraq when bin Laden attacked us on 9/11, and the Russians opposed Iraq but were still subjected to the school bombing in Beslan." Well, your response, being a well informed individual, and knowing what you know about Pape's thesis, is pretty easy. People commit suicide bombings because there are troops from a democratic country on the ground in their homelands, and the troops do not mesh well culturally or religiously. So, 9/11. Well, bin Laden stated clearly that his goal was the removal of U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia. Our troops there, a remnant of the first Gulf War, were the pre-existing condition that caused a large group of Saudi young men to fly planes into buildings. And Russia (I know, a questionable democracy) -- well, they have troops on the ground in Chechnya which led to Beslan.
The book goes on to argue that Islamic fundamentalism is only tangentially related to suicide bombings, citing plenty of examples of secular bombers fueled by (you guessed it) occupation by a non-assimilating democratic force.
It is how oppressed people fight back against democracies who are invading them. It has been fairly effective as a tool of war for marginalized peoples. People are lining up to kill us, in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. And they aren't insane. This is their rational response to the situation on the ground. And if we don't wise up. Learn from the facts in evidence. We are doomed to see more explosions. Coming to theaters near you, perhaps.
So, I think it is important, that we are prepared to tell people these facts. In response to our fearless leader's rhetoric.
Sorry. Didn't mean to lecture to anyone here. Just because I read part of a book. But listening to Georgie today kind of sent me off the nut, I guess. And this is a powerful little bit of information that has been planted in my head. So I wanted to share it with you all.
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