Science begins with the discovery of regularities. A regular feature of all Islamic “suicide” terrorists is a declared love of death. For us in the West, such declared affections must seem intuitively suspect. After all, they are contrary to everything we normally believe about self-preservation, reason and human behavior.
But a different vantage point is required. We must now begin to see the world through the eyes of our worst enemies. In this adversarial view, an openly necrophilic vision is decidedly pleasing. Regarding suicide bombing that is intended to fulfill the will of allah, nothing could (literally) be more delightful.
In 1936, on the occasion of a speech by the nationalist general Millan Astray at the University of Salamanca in Spain, the hall thundered with the general’s favorite motto: Viva la muerte! “Long live death.” When the speech was over, Miguel de Unamuno, rector of the University, rose and said: “Just now I heard a necrophilous and senseless cry…this outlandish paradox is repellent to me.” Yet, this very same repellent cry is, today, the lurid rallying cry of Islamic “suicide” terrorists. Again and again, we hear from Hamas and Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda and also Fatah: “We love death.”
Why do we put the word “suicide” in quotation marks? Islamic “lovers of death” certainly do not commit suicide in any ordinary fashion. As they believe that acts of “martyrdom” always assure a blissful immortality, their “suicide” makes a mockery of any morbid affection. Indeed, as they commit suicide only to assure eternal life, their pretended heroism is never really more than a furiously gratifying act of supreme cowardice.
Ironically to be sure, the Islamic suicide terrorist fears death more acutely than all others. In at least one respect, therefore, this murderer is actually less perverse than he or she alleges but also far more craven and dastardly. If anything might ever be born of the Islamic terrorist’s twisted agenda, a shadowy gravedigger would have to wield the forceps.
The self-proclaimed Islamic “lover of death” although untruthful, also fears continuation of his ongoing life on earth. This life is almost always devoid of any felt opportunity to do something rewarding and almost always prohibits, inhibits and disdains the most compelling needs of his inborn human sexuality. Thwarting both meaning and eros, primal elements of Islamic society continue to prod thousands of young males to “martyr” themselves in the killing of “infidels.” Although it ought to be quite obvious by now, the explosive link between suicide terror violence and repressed male sexuality is still widely unrecognized. Regarding female suicide bombers, the jury is still out.
Neither September 11 nor July 7 had anything fundamental to do with politics. These terror attacks were not produced by Islamic anger about certain allegedly objectionable features of American and British foreign policies. Such feeble explanations were merely the predictable venting of certain thoughtless academics and journalists and of the always, viscerally confused Lord Mayor of London. What animated both September 11 and July 7 was the tangibly ecstatic promise of salvation through “sacred” acts of killing.
The suicide killing of American and British men, women and children in New York and London stemmed from the very same sentiments that continue to produce suicide killings of Israeli (Jewish) noncombatants. Consider the ominously characteristic statement by one Jamal Abdel Hamid Yussef, explaining operations of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades (military wing of Hamas in Gaza): “Our suicide operations are a message…that our people love death. Our goal is to die for the sake of allah, and if we live, we want to humiliate Jews and trample on their necks.” Hamas, which was loudly overjoyed at the murders of both September 11 and July 7 – because American and British “crusaders” are presumably just as evil as Jews – promises all Islamic suicides nothing less than freedom from death.
By dying in the divinely-mandated act of killing Jews or Americans or Britons (it makes no difference that these are not mutually exclusive categories; Islamic terrorists are interested in blood sacrifice, not formal logic), the suicide terrorist conquers death. In his clerically-promised eternal life, there will be rivers of honey and 72 virgins. None of this is mere metaphor. These are the literal rewards for dying in a mandated and glorious fight against the most despised enemies of allah.
With allah on his or her side, the Islamic suicide terrorist sees absolutely nothing suicidal about his willful murder of Jews, Americans or Britons. For him or for her, a coward, immobilized by fear of both death and life, suicide is just a momentary inconvenience on the gloriously fiery trajectory into heaven. Now the insufferable death fear of ego is lessened by sacrifice of the infidel. After September 11 and July 7, it is expressly through the burning, maiming and murder of defenseless men, women and children – called “military operations” in much of the Islamic press – that the perpetrator buys himself free from personal death.
The Islamic suicide terrorist knows full well that after executing his suicidal sacrifice of infidels, literally millions of co-religionist sympathizers will raise their heads proudly over images of the mutilated corpses and reaffirm allah’s greatness to the world. While this particular observation is contrary to all cultivated expectations of political correctness, it is also blatantly true. This should never be forgotten by those who are always ready to sacrifice another slice of Eretz Yisrael for “peace.”
We are left to deal with an apparent paradox. What shall we do about a “suicide” that does not intend to end the murderer’s own life but to extend it forever? For Israel, America and Great Britain, there is little point now to deterring the determined murderers with threats of death. Such threats, after all, would be received not only without apprehension, but also with a delirious cry of joy and a collective moan of fulfillment.
No, to deter the Islamic suicide terrorists, Israel, Britain and America must now offer the prospective murderers a tangible threat of real suicide. Violence and the sacred are presently inseparable for the Islamic suicide terrorist. But Israel, America and Britain must immediately think in terms of “desacralizing” his/her grotesque inversion of holiness.
It must be our prompt task to convince the would-be terrorist shatterer of innocents that divine reward will never follow sacrificial logic and that prayerful murders in the name of allah will lead not to paradise, but to the grave.
LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and publishes widely on terrorism and counterterrorism. He is the author of many books and articles on this subject, and is a frequent lecturer in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Professor Beres has been a consultant to several agencies of government on prevention of chemical, biological and nuclear terrorism. His articles on this subject have appeared in “Special Warfare” and other publications of the Department of Defense. Professor Beres is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.