Sunday, March 29, 2015

Jihadists: the latest example of terrorist cowards

One of the things that stands out in the history of terrorists is their preference for soft targets. They choose schools, shopping centres, hotels, places of worship, sports arenas, buses and trains. They rarely attack military installations or bases, preferring less well protected police stations. Their attacks on military targets by preference take the form of stealth weapons such as mines buried in roads. And many such organisations have used suicide bombers.

By “they” I mean the leadership of these organisations. They take great care to protect themselves, to avoid taking part in the operations, and to be well out of the way of any counterattacks. They choose targets with little or no capability of returning fire, and they usually send their most expendable members carry out the operations. The most expendable ones are the suicide bombers, who are usually young people who have no other military value, and are naive enough not to notice that the greater good for which they give their lives are the people who send them away to blow themselves up.

In short, terrorists as a group are a mix of idealism, power lust, thuggishness, and rage. The ideology, secular or religious, is both a justification for murder and a lure for alienated and idealistic youngsters who see the mess the world is in and yearn for some meaningful role in making it better. These youngsters become the expendable human weapons-platforms used by the leaders to satisfy their dark urges.

But the one thing terrorist leaders have in common is their cowardice.

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