[Marxism] Cult of the Suicide Bomber

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 3 15:01:07 MDT 2006

Lenin, I have a lot of trouble reading your comments, although I am sure 
that they are interesting. Your email software seems to mangle them in ways 
that I don't quite understand. When I look at them on the lbo-talk 
archives, they stretch out to the far right margin. Your reply here 
collapses the ">'s", so that it is difficult to distinguish between my 
original text and your reply. Maybe Les can assist you.

At 04:55 PM 8/3/2006, you wrote:
>Louis: Baer's series was a reductionist crock of shit in which suicide 
>attacks are interpreted principally through some diverse aspects of 
>supporting cultures.  If you're right about him inspiring Clooney's role 
>in Syriana, that could explain why he was so utterly loathsome in it.  But 
>more importantly:> Baer argues, with some degree of plausibility, that the 
>first suicide > bomber was Hossein Fahmideh, a thirteen year old Iranian 
>boy who threw > himself under an Iraqi tank in 1980 during a climactic 
>battle.Kamikazes?> As devout Muslims, they are > sure that he has merited 
>entrance into Paradise. No - devout Muslims are inclined to oppose 
>suicide.  This is why the ulama who support the tactic have to go to such 
>anfractuous lengths to provide Islamic backing.> Unlike the Christian 
>true > believers, whose theology is based on the notion that good acts 
>can't buy > you a ticket into heaven, Muslims are much more 
>results-oriented.That's Protestantism.  Catholics have no problem with the 
>idea that you can buy your way into heaven.  Mind you, Anglicanism is more 
>or less a real-estate business, so one assumes that the Church of England 
>is convinced that its shares in the arms industry might well cover the 
>entry fee of believers.> Hamas > operated less against the Israeli army 
>than it did against Israeli citizens > in a kind of vendetta.Pape explains 
>this better: the strategy of suicide attacks against civilians is 
>determined by the relative strength of the actors involved.  Hamas, the 
>PFLP, DFLP and Al-Aqsa (the last three secular groups) engage in such 
>attacks and occasionally manage to strike military targets, but the 
>calculus is very simple - they intend to cause the civilian population to 
>resile from their support for the policies of their government and thus 
>cause a change in policy.> To Baer's credit, he makes clear that the Hamas 
>campaign was inspired by > the February 1994 attack of Zionist fanatic 
>Baruch Goldstein on unarmed > worshippers in a Hebron mosque.He might have 
>been better off looking at the dramatic failure of Oslo, the spiralling 
>increase in settlements, the theft of water, the proliferation of roads on 
>which no Arab could walk or drive...  Pape gives a good statistical 
>breakdown in his book.  Also worth noting that many of the present 
>generation of suicide attackers in Palestine are chidlren of the first 
>intifada: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n21/rose01_.html Baer's offering is 
>superficial, packed with Western moralising, and absolutely neglects the 
>violence of imperialism.  He understands as much as he does despite his 
>commitments, despite his former role in an organisation known for creating 
>received wisdom rather than challenging it.

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