Terrorism can be rational?

  1. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/...585697331.html
    Terrorism can be rational

    May 24 2003

    An expert on the psychology of terrorism who spent 20 years in the CIA says suicide
    bombers are not crazy and are often seen as models of exemplary behaviour in their

    Jerrold Post, who founded the CIA's Centre for the Analysis of Personality and Political
    Behaviour, interviewed 21 Islamic extremists in Israeli and Palestinian prisons.

    "We should not think of these individuals as crazed fanatics, as seriously psychiatrically
    ill," he told the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting on Thursday. "Quite to
    the contrary, this represents a norm within society, within this society."

    "Mental illness is incompatible with being a political terrorist," he said. "It is a security risk
    to have an emotionally unstable individual in your terrorist group just as it would be in the
    Green Berets."

    Professor Post, who today teaches at George Washington University, said the Palestinian
    militants he interviewed talked calmly and rationally about their violent acts, including

    "These are very normal-sounding individuals who have basically been bred to hate from
    very early on," he said.

  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   fab4fan
    Interesting article; I wouldn't have thought about it that way before.
  4. by   VickyRN
    "These are very normal-sounding individuals who have basically been bred to hate from
    very early on," he said.
    What are WE going to be REAPING 20 years from now??? Lots of hatred, anti-Americanism in the Islamic world right now, even in the more stable "moderate" Islamic countries. (Witness the propaganda on Al-Jazeera network.) There is a real battle going on for the souls and minds of the young Muslims. What a tragedy and cruel deception, to raise sons and daughters whose only goal in life is misguided "martyrdom."
  5. by   jnette
    Now see, and I , on the other hand have always acknowledged this to be so.

    I have never felt that these individulas were "wackos" or anything near that. But rather exactly as described above. Their reasoning may be off the mark.. (at least to us).. and their hopes of accomplishing their goals, but as far as the individual himself, I, too, believe he is extremely motivated and "courageous" in HIS own belief system. Dedicated to his "cause", and quite intelligent.

    Please don't misunderstand me here.... in no way do I uphold their acts. But to brush these guys off as "crazed" or mentally ill is a dangerous thing in itself. It's far more serious than that.

    Just my opinion.
  6. by   Mkue
    Rational Fanatics

    (This article was originally published in the September/October 2000 issue of Foreign Policy. )

    What makes suicide bombers tick? While most of the world sees them as lone zealots, they are, in fact, pawns of large terrorist networks that wage calculated psychological warfare. Contrary to popular belief, suicide bombers can be stopped-but only if governments pay more attention to their methods and motivations.

    By Ehud Sprinzak

    Acts of martyrdom vary not only by culture, but also by specific circumstances. Tel Aviv University psychologist Ariel Merari has conducted the most comprehensive study of individuals who commit acts of suicide terrorism. After profiling more than 50 Muslim suicide bombers serving in Hezbollah, Amal, and secular pro-Syrian organizations in Lebanon, as well as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Israel, he concluded that there is no single psychological or demographic profile of suicide terrorists. His findings suggest that intense struggles produce several types of people with the potential willingness to sacrifice themselves for a cause [see sidebar on page 70]. Furthermore, Merari maintains that no organization can create a person's basic readiness to die. The task of recruiters is not to produce but rather to identify this predisposition in candidates and reinforce it. Recruiters will often exploit religious beliefs when indoctrinating would-be bombers, using their subjects' faith in a reward in paradise to strengthen and solidify preexisting sacrificial motives. But other powerful motives reinforce tendencies toward martyrdom, including patriotism, hatred of the enemy, and a profound sense of victimization.

    Since suicide terrorism is an organizational phenomenon, the struggle against it cannot be conducted on an individual level. Although profiling suicide bombers may be a fascinating academic challenge, it is less relevant in the real-world struggle against them than understanding the modus operandi and mind-set of terrorist leaders who would never consider killing themselves, but opt for suicide terrorism as a result of cold reasoning.


    Another interesting article published in "Foreign Policy" Magazine. This is just part of a long article.

    I think terrorists are pawns, very tragic.
  7. by   jnette
    Thanx Mkue !

    Another interesting article.