America’s forefathers decreed an end to the connection between the colonies and England because of the tyranny they perceived in British rule. They were willing to fight for the disconnect and shed their treasure and blood in achieving it. However, they made the fight as an army-to-army thing or soldier-to-soldier, as had been the case for all of history in practically all, if not all, cultures. The last thing any of the patriots would have done was put his family in harm’s way in the process. Indeed, it was for the family’s best shot at a satisfying life that the sacrifices were made. The sanctity of life, as remarked in the Holy Bible and embedded in the psyche of the patriots, was of paramount importance and not to be violated for any purpose, especially one of military significance and certainly not in the name of God.
Risking one’s life in behalf of an honorable cause such as freedom is justifiably considered praiseworthy, though not as an act of suicide but as an act of some form of combat that could lead to death. In other words, one fights not to die but to protect oneself as much as possible while making the enemy die. In the process, the protection of the most vulnerable is of utmost importance. Nor is it commendable for leaders to encourage or order their subordinates to risk their lives while knowing full well that death – without the means to fight for their lives – is certain. This was the way of the commanders of the Japanese Kamikaze pilots of Word War II, who as a result turned themselves into human bombs as they crashed their aircraft into U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific, without any protection whatever and with death as their inevitable fate.
At least those K-pilots were fighting in a war and engaging in military operations only. The people they were trying to kill were fellow combatants…on the other side. They were not doing their thing against civilians who had no protection whatever. Indeed, while taking a significant toll on the U.S. Navy in destroying ships and lives, hundreds of their comrades, with no means of self-protection, were shot out of the skies by U.S. fighter pilots and shipboard gun crews before they could wreak further havoc. They engaged in suicide missions against an armed enemy with only the skies as their support.
Contrast both the patriots in the U.S. of the late-18th century and the Kamikaze pilots of WWII with the Islamic terrorists of today. The patriots fought as an army (no civilians) against an armed enemy on battlefields away from their domiciles, at least where possible – and this was almost everywhere. Instead of engaging an armed enemy, the homicide/suicide Palestinian bombers and similar bombers in Afghanistan and Iraq strap on explosives and blow themselves up in neighborhoods and in public, heavily populated areas with the express purpose of also taking the lives of as many civilians – women and children mostly – as possible. In the giving of their lives, they can be compared to the Kamikaze pilots, but only to the point of just that – the self-sacrifice. In using their sacrifice against people who, besides not even being combatants are actually totally vulnerable and totally unsuspecting, they become monstrous murderers who have no place among civilized people.
The most egregious example of the homicide/suicide bombers occurred on 11 September 2001 when the four Egyptians and 15 Saudis hijacked the four American airliners, turned them into bombs of enormous power and brought about the deaths of some 3,000 unsuspecting, totally vulnerable civilians who were simply going about their normal activities. That day, just as noted by President Roosevelt with regard to Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, will go down in history as one of infamy, with about the same number of people killed. The Japanese act was one of undeclared war, which meant that the military victims were actually functioning as civilians going about their business on that Sunday morning. The recent interdiction by the British authorities of a plot designed to kill at least 3,000 more unsuspecting, innocent people on pan-ocean airliners is the latest example of treachery beyond comprehension…making for another day of infamy.
The evil of the homicide/suicide bombers is matched in intensity by the venality connected with their enterprise, i.e., the paying of such amounts as $25,000 by governments such as those of Saddam and Egypt’s Saudis to their families in exchange for their lives and the perfidy attached to promising essentially ignorant people that they are performing in obedience to their god (Allah) and will be rewarded for their self-induced “martyrdom” in Paradise with eternal sensual ecstasy. There is no treachery conceived by the mind of man as inhumane as this, both in the buying/rewarding of the life/death of the perpetrator and in the destruction of the lives of the victims and their families, especially when and where no war has been declared. In the instance of war, whether officially declared or otherwise engaged by a governmental resolution, such as WWII or the Gulf War, civilians, unfortunately, often become victims. For the suicide/homicide bomber, there is no such excuse or explanation.
In more recent conflicts, such as the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, weaponry has been refined to such a point that military targets can be effectively neutralized with an absolute minimum of deaths and injuries to civilians. This country has made great efforts to utilize this humane factor, besides which the weaponry is not configured in populated areas by this nation’s military or that of any civilized country. It is either located in the air or on the ground away from populated areas.
Contrast this approach with that of any terrorist organization such as Hezbollah. There can be no depth of degradation as profound as that which attaches to the placing of military weapons in populated areas, especially in the full knowledge that retaliation will be swift and deadly when they are used. In other words, in the expressed-for-public-consumption hope that an enemy will not strike that area – but knowing full well that it will on the basis of undeniable evidence – Hezbollah places its mobile rocket-launchers beside apartment buildings or other structures where people live or work, fire their weapons and then in a quintessential act of insensitivity and cowardice move quickly away before the inevitable returning fire kills unsuspecting women and children – in fact, their own wives and families. There is no way to comprehend evil on a scale such as this.
Without question, the governments that propagate terrorist activity such as described here must be neutralized. This is being done now in both Afghanistan and Iraq. It most likely will have to be done, also, with such governments as those in Iran, Syria, and Sudan. This does not mean troops on the ground. It does mean concerted and consistent destruction of military installations and civil infrastructure in those countries – by whatever means – until the threat is nullified.