Right conclusions for the wrong reasons

By Rafi Youatt

The Maroon article “Pape Enters the Public Eye” (10/7/03) highlights Professor Robert Pape’s recent and important research on the strategic logic of suicide terrorism. His main conclusion is substantially correct: suicide terrorists are not crazed religious fanatics intent on blowing themselves and others up for fundamentalist religious reasons, but in fact have a concrete political agenda aimed at compelling the withdrawal of troops from specific territories. The idea that suicide bombers and the organizations that they represent are irrational and crazy is a popular, media-fed myth (with able assistance from U.S. administrations past and present), one that certainly should be dispelled. The fact that Pape is even forced to speak to such a myth is a bit dist