Sunday, May 25, 2008

Where Did the Suicide Murderers Come From?

The New York Review of Books seems fascinated recently with Jihad in general and the suicide killers in particular (and I watch them). In the current issue, Ahmed Rashid has read seven books and comes to report. Much of what he says makes sense. That over the centuries Jihad has meant various things, some of them quite benign, and many of them less malign than the present interpretation of the Islamists. That ultimately, the only way to beat the Islamists will be from inside the Muslim world, through the efforts of moderate Muslims to recapture the mainstream of their culture (and integrate it into the modern world, a point Rashid doesn't say much about). So far, so reasonable.

The puzzling thing about the review is that it gives the impression - perhaps even outright says - that the present phenomenon started with Bin Laden, and al-Qaeda, sometime late in the 1990s. Nothing is said about the Palestinian suicide murderers who appeared shortly after the Oslo Process began, in 1994 at the latest, nor the wide approval they garnered. Nothing is said about the suicide murderers in Lebanon - they pushed the Americans and French out of of Lebanon in 1982, if one can remember that far back, and the phenomenon began earlier. No mention is made of the wave of mostly children sent to their certain deaths by the Ayatollahs in the Iranian-Iraqi war of the early 1980s - whether that was truly religious in motivation or merely dressed up as such I can't say, but it was concurrent to the Soviet war in Afghanistan, not after it; the warped behavior there had nothing to do with Americans, CIA, or bin Laden.

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