Here is an idea we can all rally around:
This idea is not original, but at the moment I can’t find where I saw it. We need to take back the word ‘martyr’. When a suicide bomber blows himself and 10 kids up on a bus, the ten kids are the martyrs not the crazy bomber. When an Iraqi voter gets killed for walking out of the polling place–he is a martyr for democracy. (I think that was the case I originally saw). We should avoid martyr status for evil people.
Of course, this is of little practical value unless those who are currently in the habit of engaging in suicide-bombing adopt it, but it is a good idea nonetheless.
John: First, thanks for your blog, always worthwhile reading.
I agree with you about the use of the word ‘martyr,’ and I would add, in view of this item at Iraq The Model that we should be suspicious about ‘suicide bomber’ as well. The poor “bomber” described in that squib was merely scared witless, and blown up by a remote device.
I have no evidence on this, but I can easily imagine that in a situation of political instability, all sorts of resentments, vendettas, feuds, and simple opportunities for mayhem or extortion would be in play, for reasons that may or may not have anything to do with Iraq’s politics. How easy it would be to threaten a neighbor with violence to his family if he does not allow himself to be wired up, directed where to drive, and blown up from a safe distance. And how hard it is to believe that, where such a moral hazard exists, there are not human beings who will tumble to it and exploit it.
In such a case, the supposed “bomber” may even be a martyr, only in the sense of giving his life in the (probably futile) hope that his wife and children would be left unmolested.
Nice world, what? But if this speculation has any truth to it, it only goes to show that the sooner an effective and legitimate govenment is in place in Iraq, the better off we all will be.
By all means, yes. Just call the SOB’s murderers. That’s all they are.
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