July 21, 2005

How Do You Stop a Suicide Bomber?

Is the question I asked Brian this morning on my way out the door to work. We agreed on the answer: you can't.

He had some time to post this morning. I'm certain this question is one a lot of people are either directly or indirectly asking themselves today in wake of London Bombings Part II.

DC officials have a rather silly idea about how to deal with potential suicide bombers in the Metro stations: random backpack searches: Subway riders may face random police checks of their bags under a security measure being considered in the nation's capital, the latest city to look for ways to deter terrorism on rail systems.

No decision has been made on the idea for the city's 106-mile Metrorail system, and the logistics would be difficult. But “it would be another tool in our security toolbox,” says Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

All right, class, let's hit the highlights of how this would not work:
  • If the random searches occur in crowded stations or, heaven forfend, crowded trains, what's the difference of detonating the backpack on schedule or when the Metro cop says, "Hey, you!"? Not much to a suicide bomber.
And that's about it entirely. If a person is committed (a strange word, but it fits) enough to take his or her own life with the goal being to kill as many people around him or her, what motivation to stop the process can a third party bring? Chance of getting caught? Not exactly. No cookies for snack tomorrow? I probably shouldn't joke. But there's no perceived punishment in this world (none that civilized people would carry out, anyway) to deter these people.

And then the liberals drone whiny about the liberal-perceived root causes of terror and the far right or just horribly crass folks display more window stickers of the little boy pissing on bin Laden. Because, as Brian says later in his post, they want to DO SOMETHING or blame someone or something theoretical or named.

Technology is only going to make terrorism aspects more and more accessible to interested parties. From tools to coordinate attacks to tools to implement them efficiently and "effectively." The root is easy - misguided perceptions of "reward" or (or combined with) hatred (mostly irrational). I've read my copy of The Sacred Age of Terror from cover to cover.

So how do you stop a suicide bomber? I couldn't tell you. I'm sure all of us can give a good 10 reasons on what NOT to do.

Oh, and anyone in the British media calling the bombers from either set of attacks 'insurgents?' Didn't think so.


Posted by hln at July 21, 2005 12:47 PM | General News | TrackBack

I still think addressing some of the liberal-perceived root causes of terror is at least worth a try.

[As an aside: Bombs are hardly a new technology, so I find it odd how many people seem to be willing to attribute the "new" threat of terrorism in our backyard to the march of progress.]

Posted by: hans at July 21, 2005 07:09 PM

Bombs aren't a new technology, but technology makes their materials more prevalent.

And smaller.

And the liberal-perceived causes seem to look past "evil," which is my primary umbrage taken. Are they wholeheartedly wrong, no. But I can loan you the book I briefly mentioned in this post (the point where I abruptly ended to go back to work ;)) - these terrorists are well educated, young, and idealistic. Their values are different than ours. In the first London bombing, they were citizens of the country. One was an 18 year-old "schoolboy" with good grades. Another was a 22 year-old with a sports science degree. A third was a primary school teacher who had a young child.

These people are not to be reasoned with. I suppose that's the point of my rant. And if you can't reason, you can't dissuade.


Posted by: hln at July 21, 2005 08:12 PM

Root causes:

* Existence of Israel.
* Existence of infidels.
* Government without sharia.
* Spain no longer part of dar Islam.

Which one should we address first in such a fashion that will lesson the terrorists ire?

Posted by: Brian J. at July 22, 2005 06:47 AM

Oops, my mistake. Those aren't the liberal-perceived root causes. Those are the terrorist-stated root causes.

Never mind, then, blame America/civilization. Carry on.

Posted by: Brian J. at July 22, 2005 06:57 AM

When I first read the headline for this post, I thought it said, How Do You Stop A Suicide Blogger? That would have been a much funnier question to try to answer.

Hrm. To answer the question, stopping a single bomber is nearly impossible, but stopping suicide bombing as an industry is quite do-able. All it would take is conquering the middle east and remaking it in the image of the west. I don't think the current administration has the stomach for doing that in the way that it would have to be done in order to succeed, though. Apparently, three thousand people murdered in a single attack isn't enough to piss America off the way we're going to have to get pissed off in order to win this war.

Posted by: Ardsgaine at July 26, 2005 12:25 PM

Stopping suicide bombers? Technology is the key. Identifying them without their knowledge will take advances in chemical sniffing and through-your-undies vision at a minimum. Once covertly located, a quick bullet in the back of the head will render them harmless.

Either that... or quickly suck all the oxygen out of the room while you aprehend them and hope nobody suffocates.

...just a thought.

Posted by: William Squire at July 30, 2005 05:28 PM

We certainly do need to keep playing the technology arms race with them, but cannot stake our safety on it.

This belated comment is here to clarify that addressing the liberal-perceived root causes of terror does not involve naive efforts to reason with terrorists, nor taking them at their word for what will make them stop.

At least in this newly-minted liberal's worldview, there's nothing that can be done to make the current generation of terrorists put down their arms. Rather, addressing the root causes (fairly well articulated by the IGD) must be done for tomorrow's sake, while today must be secured by diligent (rather than public-mullifying) security measures and, well, killing the actual bad guys.

Posted by: hans at August 15, 2005 09:20 AM
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