ABC News Nightline tried this week to explain the phenomenon of suicide bombers. I didn't get to see the program, but the Nightline website has transcripts of some of the interviews.
Gaza psychiatrist Eyad Sarraj says
"I believe that every single case of a suicide bomber is attributed directly to a history of trauma during childhood...It is a form of despair...And of course, if someone wants to kill himself no one can stop him."For some reason, Sarraj is not asked to diagnose the bureaucracy that funds, trains, equips, videotapes and transports the traumatized and desperate human missiles to their targets. If someone wants to use a vulnerable human being as ordnance, can no one stop him?
Another interview is with the incarcerated Mohamed Daghlas, who helped take a bomber to his massacre. Daghlas would have preferred to be a martyr himself, but said "There were circumstances that forbid me to do it myself". He didn't say what the circumstances were, but I'm guessing that either cowardice or intelligence might have had something to do with it. Contrary to the psychiatrist's theory about trauma and emotional damage, Daghlas said the bomber "was in very stable condition and he was calm and very normal". Daghlas concludes the interview by saying
We in the Hamas movement believe that Palestine includes the 1948 borders but we also believe that the independent state must be within the borders of 1967- as the first step to peace and normalization and two states besides each other.Which is an obscurant way of explaining that Hamas is committed to destroying the State of Israel
Arnold Roth, on the other hand, sees suicide terrorism for what it is
There's no point in trying to understand it. You have to be prepared to say, "This is evil, this is sickness." This is the result of whole process that we have to be able to identify when we see it, and if we don't recognize it and call it what it is, I'm afraid that we are doomed to be living with it again and again. We are seeing that already, we are seeing it in places like Bali. How many people have to be killed by this insanity before people say, "no, this is insanity." We don't need to understand this, we need to stop this.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at November 24, 2002 08:22 AM