Guest Writings
7/9/05 Inside the Mind of a ‘Suicide’ Bomber – Part 2 Yamin Zakaria

Targeting Civilians

Lies breed more lies; projecting falsehood as truth necessitates the creation of more lies. For example, to support the primary lie of Iraq’s WMD capabilities, layers of false information were generated by the Anglo-US government. Similarly, to conceal their culpability – the British, US and Israeli governments have tried to divert their publics from the real reasons that shape the minds of ‘suicide’ bombers, through propaganda and blatant lies. I exposed most of those well-known, lies and propaganda in the previous article [1]. In this article, I will analyse the more credible argument used against the ‘suicide’ bombers: the indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

While, the actions of ‘suicide’ bombers are made gratuitously violent by deliberately amputating them from their political and historical context; concurrently, the actions of state terrorists are sanitised by amplifying political and historical context, whilst marginalising the sufferings inflicted upon their victims. Consequently this helps their population to maintain their ‘conviction’ of innocence; and helps to project ‘suicide’ bombers as mindless terrorists, ‘cannot be negotiated with’, are ‘Islamo-Fascists’ etc. and state terrorism is justified as simply a reaction to that.

Accordingly, when the British, Israelis or Americans are killed by ‘suicide’ bombers, they are ‘innocent’ victims of terrorism. The killings of much larger numbers of civilians by an organised army in occupied Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan are simply ‘defensive’ measures; their innocence is irrelevant, so shedding of their blood needs no justification, no matter how many hundreds of thousands die. This illusion created by the media is the exact opposite of reality because ‘suicide’ (martyrdom) operations in almost all cases are a response to the imposed wars and occupation by a more powerful enemy.

People understand that ‘suicide’ operations, by its nature are a retaliatory measure of last resort, simply due to its finality. Thus, the best efforts of the media and politicians have not been successful in projecting ‘suicide’ bombings as an act of naked aggression. Instead, the media has focused in demonising it for its usage against civilians instead of confining it to military targets. Let us begin to analyse the ‘suicide’ operations in the context of war.

‘Suicide’ Bombings are Indiscriminate

This is an irrational argument, as all bombs are indiscriminate; in fact the more powerful the bombs are, the more indiscriminate they are, ergo the nation that has dropped more bombs than any other in history, the US, is by definition the greatest indiscriminate killer. Bombs and missiles dropped from planes have the explosive power of hundreds or thousands of suicide bombers. Using ones body or a fighter plane to deliver the bombs are just different delivery means, and there is no inherent logic that dictates one method as more immoral than the other. However, the masses are swallowing the logic that, the methods of the ‘suicide’ bombers are immoral even though they may be only detonating a 50lb bomb in comparison to the ‘moral’ methods of using planes, dropping 1,000lb plus bombs on people! This is how absurd the propaganda machine has become.

Even if the dubious claims of using precision or smart bombs were true, it would still be immaterial, because the pilots are usually neither precise nor smart, when they unleash their bombs over Baghdad and Kabul as shown by frequent reports of bombs falling on wedding parties, families, civilian markets etc. They simply do not care and behave as if they are playing a video game. One of the ‘achievements’ of using high-tech weapons is that the soldiers are desensitised, being at a distant as they do not see the sufferings inflicted on their victims. If you desensitise soldiers who are already violent and xenophobic, the consequence is likely to be horrific. Such a mindset that is far more indiscriminate and insensitive to killings, at the wheel of a main battle tank, piloting a fighter bomber or manning a machine gun at a checkpoint, and is certain to be far more destructive than ‘suicide’ bombers!

We witnessed this murderous mindset during the 1991 Gulf War. The allied soldiers resorted to an orgy of killings on the road to Basra; they even fought each other to take pot shots at the retreating Iraqi civilians and soldiers, who were complying with the UN resolutions. Also in the recent war in Iraq and Afghanistan, frequent reports of coalition forces wiping out entire families at check points, in their homes or wedding parties, etc. But anyway, who cares, we are not in the business of counting bodies, as has been said by a US General. The disgusting brutality of the Anglo-US forces in Abu-Ghraib and other prisons underline that indiscriminate mindset.

‘Suicide’ bombers mainly target innocent civilians.

Those who are constantly lecturing others about targeting civilians use powerful munitions that are bound to have high civilian casualties! Hence, there is very little merit in the claim by the Anglo-US-Israeli axis that they do not target civilians intentionally, while they continue using powerful indiscriminate bombs, that have resulted in the killing of tens of thousands more civilians than all of the suicide bombers combined. Indeed, such claims are not only laughable but one of the greatest hoaxes of this age! If avoiding or minimising civilian casualties was a genuine concern, nations would rush to prohibit the production, development and usage of the most powerful and indiscriminate bombs e.g. Nukes, Daisy Cutters, mini-Nukes, JDAMS and their equivalent, but they do not.

The Western and Israeli forces kill civilians using their long range weapons with ease, whereas the ‘suicide’ bombers cannot retaliate in the same manner, lacking the weapons and resources. Since the two opponents are not equal, the weaker party will be forced to be opportunistic, seeking a variety of targets with variable results, including unfortunately civilian casualties. The weaker and more resource hungry party must do this for its survival, as the only other choice it has is capitulation. So the methods of the ‘suicide’ bombers may seem to be more directed towards civilians, but this is a consequence of their lack of resources and not their intent, whereas the armies of the State Terrorists have an abundance of resources, intelligence and weapons, yet inflict far greater civilian casualties, by simple logic this imbalance leads us to a truth about the murderous nature of these states and who is the real culprit that targets civilians.

In fact, historically, the indiscriminate killing of civilians en masse was introduced with the arrival of Air Forces, by the Western powers. The needless destruction of civilian cities like Dresden, Cologne, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki are some prominent examples. All the suicide bombers combined, could not even match a fraction of the track record of the Westerns powers. If anyone is guilty of targeting civilians and by the quantitative measurement of the actual number of civilian victims, it is the West and its client states like Israel, that are infinitely guiltier than all the ‘suicide’ bombers combined, and that is FACT.

What constitutes military targets?

Now let us examine the distinction between military and civilian (non-combatant) targets. Why should the armed forces be exclusively targeted when it was the political establishment (civilians) in collusion with the mass media that usually initiates and authorises war? Even within the military forces, there are the soldiers sitting in their barracks or on holiday, are like non-combatants. What about the non-combat military personnel like doctors, cooks, cleaners, accountants and nurses? What about the commercial firms that supplies the lethal arms?

Therefore, the distinction between combatants and non-combatants is blurred in the context of warfare, as substantial sections of civilian life contribute to the war machine. Indeed, this was the conclusion of Sir Arthur “Bomber‰ Harris (Dresden, Cologne, Hamburg etc), and Harry Truman (Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo Raids) both targeted civilians en masse to sap the front line enemy forces effectiveness and would shorten the war, so this is very much a lesson learnt from the West.

It could be argued further, that if the legitimate political authority can become target then so can the source of that authority. This is especially true for democracy, as when it goes to war, that must be by the definition of democracy be the ‘peoples’ choice and hence responsibility. However, when the consequences of this choice visit upon the democracy, there is an immediate divorce between the people and the decision to go to war; suddenly the people are ‘innocent’.

In war, the entire nation is a legitimate target as they wage a war collectively as a nation. However, civilians or non-combatants are off limits only due to the nations accepting this convention during war. Armies would only target combatants in the battlefields in the past, away from cities and towns. That has clearly changed over the years especially with the invention of air raids from the First World War (WW1). Ironically the very nations that invented and practiced the targeting of civilians, as part of their war strategies, are now lecturing others about targeting civilians, of course that tends to surface only when their own civilians have been targeted, as Iraqi’s, Afghan’ etc do not count in their estimation! 

Final argument for excluding civilians as a whole is that many of them are opposed to the war. However, the same could be said for those who serve in the armed forces, who are also opposed to the war. Thus, the armed forces as a whole should also be excluded by the same argument then you might as well surrender. Furthermore, why ignore those civilians who side with the war and helped to prop up the democratically elected governments who chose war. Could one not equally argue using the same logic of including the whole based on some? So the right to target all the civilians based on some who supported the war and re-elected the same leader of war. When a bomb is dropped by an allied Plane, does the bomb ask whether those underneath it are for or against the invasion, and separate the respondents? Such absurdity is not entertained by the West and neither is it entertained by those that resist them. 

Are Civilians Innocent or Guilty?

It is argued that non-combatants in war should be avoided because they are innocent. This is not true; civilians are only excluded by mutual agreement between nations, like an international convention observed by nations. Warfare by its nature is reciprocal, one nation cannot unilaterally adhere to certain standards regardless of what the other one does, especially a war that is fought in self-defence.

Even, the usage of the term innocent or guilty is misleading, because, innocent and guilty is decided by certain laws that one is subject to. If any citizen committed a crime, then only the criminal could be punished not his entire family or tribe. In contrast, international relationships between nations are dictated by mutual agreement and conduct, not by any external laws. The use of the term “international laws‰ is also misleading, as often these so-called laws flow in one direction; used by stronger nations to subjugate the weaker nations. Otherwise, the US and its partners would have been tried for war crimes in Iraq by the UN.

Likewise on battlefield there is no principle that you seek the GUILTY soldiers only, i.e. those who have killed your troops. If an army approaches, you can pre-empt an attack by laying an ambush, kill all the soldiers without giving them an opportunity and/or take them prisoner. They can then be dealt with according to the prevalent international tradition and/or interests of the nation; the entire army is liable to attack anytime. The issue of innocence or guilt does not come into play, in war. Each nation sees the other nation in its entirety as the culprit, just as the allies did in WW2, the army is just the executive tool of war; both nations are fighting collectively as a nation and collectively they are a target, unless they have agreed to exclude a certain section of their societies.

No doubt, a nation is like a legal entity, as it forms treaties and contracts with other nations. Acts of the head of any state are binding upon the nation. As the heads of nations wage war or sign contracts, the entire nation are responsible collectively, it has nothing to do with individual innocence or guilt. Responsibility is collective in war and peace. Every citizen of a nation and every citizen of a member of an alliance is equally responsible and liable for the acts of the collective (nation or alliance), even if he was not involved directly or did not act personally. Only those who object strongly and separate themselves clearly are excluded from the collective responsibility.

Of course morally speaking, civilians and non-combatants should be off limits, but those who are lecturing on this issue are the worst violators, just examine their track record of civilian deaths! There is a simple solution, if you do not want your own women and children to be targeted, then don’t kill the women and children of other nations. It is the nation who attacks the civilian population first that puts its own civilians at risk, by making them a target of their victims. Clearly, it is the British and the US governments that targeted the civilians in Iraq first. As have the Zionists in occupied Palestine, and they still continue to arrive from Russia, Europe and the US with a license from ‘God’ to aid the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. When its most needed, that precious International ‘Law’ seems to have been misplaced, conveniently for the West, law is sidelined when it comes to the mighty oppressing the weak.

Yamin Zakaria

London, UK

Copyright 2004 by Yamin Zakaria (06 September 2005)


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