Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mondoweiss Notes Suicide-Terror Expert Robert Pape's Restricted Mandate

The following from Mondoweiss:
‘NYT’ should get suicide-terror expert Pape to talk about ‘Palestinian resistance’
by Philip Weiss, April 1, 2010

Two days ago, Robert Pape (author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism) was on the Times op-ed page explaining the Chechnya-driven suicide bombings in Russia:

As we have discovered in our research on Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, suicide terrorist campaigns are almost always a last resort against foreign military occupation. Chechnya is a powerful demonstration of this phenomenon at work.

A good thing that Pape and co-authors Lindsey O’Rourke and Jenna McDermit mentioned the West Bank. But given the centrality of the Palestinian suicide bomber in western demonology–Thomas Friedman (and numerous other friends of Israel) justified the Iraq war on that basis–Pape’s point surely deserves elaboration. If you look through Bob Pape’s website at the University of Chicago, you will find numerous articles that describe suicide terrorism by Palestinians as a response to occupation. Here, for instance, is Pape in Turkey’s newspaper, Zaman, saying that the first Palestinian suicide terrorists followed 20 years of occupation.

The Times has had Pape write often in the last few years, including this important piece in ‘03, saying suicide terror is not about Islam, the Tamil Tigers have used it more than anyone. But the Times has never had him directly address the issue of the Israeli occupation and what he routinely terms "Palestinian resistance versus Israel." Why not? Its readers deserve that insight.

My thoughts regarding this:

The Times and others (US government, CNN, NPR … take your pick) don’t want any explanations that will undermine the pre-determined mission. Facts are irrelevant once the Hive Mind of American Oligarchy is made up. Once Bush & Co. and other Arab-haters (Thomas Friedman, Michael Walzer, Michael Ignatieff — it’s a helluva long list) had decided that the US was absolutely going to ‘liberate’ Iraq, no fact or combination of fact was going to sway them.

Likewise, it is an Article of Faith in the United States that Israel is Right, no matter what. So the worst that any fact can do is raise questions about Israel’s tactics, efficiency, thoroughness, attentiveness, etc. — details. Anything that would raise questions of regarding pathological racism among Israelis or regarding the infestation of Israeli government by war criminals must be excluded from the conversation. That is why a conference sponsored by the “Lawfare Project” (or any other of the many recent conferences on the Goldstone Report) must exclude any and all who could raise inconvenient truths. Similar examples are legion and span the US, Europe and Israel.

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