"The Terrorist Project"
[June 28th]

For the last two mornings National Public Radio's news program presented parts I and II of a brief report on the results of a study, and subsequent book, from the University of Chicago entitled "The Terrorist Project." The academics involved painted the profile of your average suicide bomber as "well-educated, idealistic, cause oriented, and willing to sacrifice his own life for the good of his people." The study went on to say that the prime motivation is to rid the terrorist's home country of occupying forces. They attack and kill civilians in order to demonstrate the co-opted government's inability to provide security for the people. By undermining the credibility of the government, the insurgents and terrorists hope to sway the populace to their side. They, I suppose, will then drive out the occupiers, eradicate the puppet government and take over, for the good of the whole, a noble cause, to be sure.

Now, I can just see, somewhere in the Anbar province, a safe-house, half a dozen men sitting around on a rug, leaning against cushions, drinking tea, and discussing how they'll run the country when they take over. They'll discuss things like providing infrastructure maintenance and improvements; universal health care; free, oil-subsidized, education for all; public housing; transportation systems, buses, trains; I can see all this happening -- and then I wake up.

The authors of the "Terrorist Project" are trying to convince me, through their study, that the insurgents and terrorists, the suicide bombers, in particular, believe in their hearts and minds that what they're doing is for the good of the people, for the sovereignty of the country -- true believers. What a bunch of nonsense! Some of these suicide car bombers have been found, what's left of them, with their hands hand-cuffed or duct-taped to the steering wheels. Their families are held captive as insurance that they'll do the job. The voluntary ones are psychopathic murderers and frustrated, hopeless losers ready and willing to be persuaded to do something meaningful with their lives, perhaps with the added incentive of an eternal reward in heaven, martyrs to the cause.

Children at play, people trying to relax at some outdoor cafe, police waiting in line for their checks, are all among the targets of mayhem and violence. Beheaded bodies found in the streets with notes pinned to them threatening the same treatment to anyone who supports the government, the country, are part of the program. How the hell do these "nationalists" expect to sway people to their side by killing them so mercilessly?

The study talks about something called "Terrorist Logic," a wonderful oxymoron if ever there was one. These people are zombies, bereft of all that transforms a human animal into a human being. Their motivations are purely personal, personal power and control, domination, like the Taliban. Completely ignorant as to how to run a country, but not ignorant about how to control people -- through fear and intimidation. They will use any and all justifications and validations for their actions -- mujahadeen engaged in a jihad, fighting the infidels, pretending to hold sacred the teachings of Islam [cutting off someone's head while chanting "God is great"?], but these twisted excuses are nothing more than rationalizations which, unfortunately, are swallowed by some of our best academics. They want to believe there's something worthy about these people.

The academics are hard-pressed to imagine the terrorists motivated by the basest of human self-interests. They can't be, they believe, their inspiration must be purposeful, metaphysical; the participant immersed in a vision supplanting and transcending any mere private concerns or desires. One can only assume that the label -- "well-educated" -- attributes the ability to think and the possession of knowledge, general and specialized. Someone "illiterate," on the other hand, might be more easily swayed by propaganda and the value of a cause.

We can assume that a well-educated man understands and accepts that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old and that evolution, through mutation, adaption and natural selection, drives and directs all living systems. An illiterate man might believe that the Earth is six thousand years old and that the heavens and all living things were created by God in six days, on the seventh, He rested [God needs rest?], and also that He created man, and from his rib, woman, at the Garden of Eden. Now, though these are two very different world-views and beliefs as to the origins of Earth and Mankind, they contain, nonetheless, the same potential for manipulation and exploitation.

The well-educated man can sit up all night discussing principles, weaving arguments, framing pictures, world-views, philosophies, justifications, he is the "true beliver"; the illiterate man might believe in the certainty of his cause as vindication for his own sense of insignificance; he has been told of its importance by minds he believes to be superior to his own. But illiterate does not mean stupid. Common sense and a basic morality are the common denominators; they represent our main cohesive force as people. The true believers and the ignorant man are two sides of the same coin.

Beware the "idealists," they have no humanity.

The ego enters the picture here, and an "intellectual" with a passionate bent of personality and mind can be just as solidly persuaded, perhaps even more righteously and fiercely, through appeals to the mind, as the "illiterate" man through appeals to his emotions and code of honor. As the ego becomes the center of attention, we end up with the same product -- someone convinced of the correctness of his actions, even if those actions mean killing random men, women and children, as well as one's self, a completely isolated individual. A person committed to this course can have no self-interest, no self. The act is to abandon, to sacrifice, to submerge one's true self, ostensibly, for the sake of something greater. But what is this greater?

During World War II, the Nazis of Germany sacrificed themselves for the greater good of the Nazi vision and the Fatherland, German Nationalism. And the rest of the world sacrificed for the greater good of defeating them and making all people free, at least of their tyranny and wholesale murder -- the Holocaust. There is clearly a standard of morality here that needs to be addressed; there is a unambiguous good and evil at play. Moreover, from the long view granted by time and objectivity, the Nazis of WW II, especially the S.S., would seem to have been quite insane, pathologically and psychotically. Perhaps we should change greater good to greater purpose?

In the context of "The Terrorist Project," for a terrorist organization bent on establishing its own form of governance, the 'greater' is an illusion; the reality is the desire for power and control by a few 'individuals.' Once established, there is nothing to keep the government from turning on its own people, applying its honed skills to quell all dissent and criticism.

The Chechen 'rebels' managed to cause the deaths of hundreds of children and teachers in Besalen, Russia. Did that, do you think, persuade the people of Russia to treat them with respect, consideration and trust? To accept them as country neighbors?

"Well-Educated, Idealistic, Cause Oriented, Terrorist Logic?" Labels and assignments of generalities and abstractions by academics unwilling to recognize and accept the fact that the terrorist mentality is antithetical to logic, human logic. Their's is the logic of insects, an insect that kills without feeling or thought or fear of consequences.

I have to respect the authors of the "Terrorist Project" for their ability to make the facts fit their pre-conceived notions, that which they apparently wanted to perceive. But I see a different picture.

I wonder if the authors of the above mentioned study would like to buy a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge?

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