Monday, December 05, 2005

Kamikaze Pilots and Suicide Bombers

Yuki Tanaka, writing in Japan Focus, makes some comparisons between the Japanese kamikaze pilots of WWII and today's suicide bombers. He believes both groups were and are motivated primarily by a desire to protect their homelands, and that religious justifications essentially do no more than provide a structure and rationalisation for deeds impelled by despair. He also says that the "state terrorism" of bombing civilians, both during WWII and currently in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq, should deserve at least equal opprobrium. He sees "state terrorism" of this sort as morally equivalent to suicide bombing.

This strikes the blog as signally unconvincing. Today's suicide bombers are attacking democratic states, they're intent on forcing those states to act against their own interests. "State terrrorism" - a highly sententious description of the military actions of Israel and the USA in the Middle East - is aimed at protecting or extending democracy.

That both kinds of violence kill innocent people is undeniable, but the difference is that while suicide bombers deliberately target innocents, the so-called "state terrorism" of USA and Israeli governments bends over backwards to avoid them. Voters would soon turn against governments guilty of gross contempt for civilian life.

No such sanction, needless to say, applies to the sponsors of suicide bombers.
Japan Focus Article

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