I was taught to believe that suicide bombers were religious zealots that believed that they would go to heaven if they gave their lives in a holy war. This was a convenient explanation for me and my teachers. They kill because they are ordered to do so by a false god, so what can you do about that? Nothing. They are evil and crazy and believe anything their “religion” tells them to.
We can do a great deal to understand suicide bombers better. I say that not to excuse their actions (for the actions of these people is evil regardless of their motives), but to correctly diagnose the trigger for their actions…and perhaps remove the trigger.
Blaming suicide bombers on religion is a bit like blaming lung cancer on radon gas. It’s true that Radon Gas does cause lung cancer, but the most common trigger for lung cancer is smoking. If you are a smoker that wants to avoid lung cancer, the best bet is to stop smoking rather than trying to avoid radon gas.
In the same way, correctly identifying the primary trigger for suicide bombers can help reduce the incident far more effectively.
“What 95 percent of all suicide attacks since the 1980s have had in common is not religion by a specific strategic objective: to compel a democratic state to withdraw combat forces from territory the terrorists consider their homeland.” (Pape. University of Chicago Magazine. Nov-Dec 2010)
What triggers 19 out of 20 suicide attacks is an outside government invading their home.
I am about to suggest that we stop invading other countries, but that is not to condone their actions or to say that we should negotiate with terrorists. It’s a simple matter of cause and effect.
Democratic states invading foreign countries with military force causes suicide bombers.
The trigger analogy is purposeful because suicide bombers are a weapon that is created by terrorists not us…but it is we that pull that trigger.