>Why do Terrorists do what they do?

> This picture (taken from http://www.fullposter.com)shows the 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. It depicts what we often think of when we think terrorism. But this is something that is going on all around the world, not only targeting the West but many centres of authority around the world.

Some people suggest that few people truly believe terrorists will be granted eternal paradise. They say that if this was true then more people would be doing it and that in fact it is only the young who are fooled. Do you believe this is true? If so then why do those few believe?

And more importantly, if you believed killing others would gain you access into eternal paradise would you do it? If you believed your God wanted you to spread misery would you worship that God?


  • >One of the reasons I posted this debate, and indeed created the entire site is that we are shying away from debate far too much in modern times. We are scared to debate matters of religion and culture but we shouldn't be. ResWe absolutely need to repect the ideas of others. But I can't think of a single reason for terrorism I couldn't argue against. And I don't see why we shouldn't be making those arguments. You don't fight ideas by cracking down on those who hold them. Every poweful society in the history of mankind has proved that that this always fails to work. Ideas need to be debated. Cruelty towards one holder of an idea makes others research what was so important. Without any counter-arguments, and plenty of consipiracies created through shock within our subconscious, the people who believe such ideas multiply. What needs to happen instead is to let and indeed encourage people to educate themselves as much as possible, just ensuring that they get the counter-arguments i.e. those we think are the right ones.

  • >you gotta back that truck up a way there Rob.Terrorists = someone who inspires terror. If I was iraqi and saw 10 U.S. marines on patrol in my town i would make myself scarce. Anybody in sight of me with a machine gun and a sanction to use it where they see fit inspires terror in me.So the question should be something more like 'why do suicide bombers do what they do'?i guess they see it as the most effective means of achieving their ends.if they bomb a western target then i would suppose they are trying to send the message that they want the westerners out.if they bomb a local target then i would suppose they are trying to destabilise the political situation that they see as contributory.i don't know if it has anything to do with virgins anymore. but then again, sexual frustration can cause lots of things.i agree with your second post that their is a prevalent culture in the rulings circles that tut-tuts any debate that includes sensitive topics like race, religion, etc.What can be done about that?the ruling circles like to ignore it, and the non-ruling circles become apathetic because they know they are being ignored.after our discussion about EU leaders and its digression into representative vs direct democracy, i have to say that the lack of debate is attributable to the political systems 'rigging' of voices.if we instituted direct democracy then people would enjoy debating all the things that concern them because they will be able to see direct results.below is a link to an article saying that 50% of germans don't believe in representative democracy as a political systemhttp://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114819&sectionid=351020604Thanks to Rob's hard work in the EU appointments section I am now going to continue my non-voting record until a direct democratic system is installed.

  • >"sexual frustration can cause lots of things" I'm scared to ask, lol.The first point about terrorism being for pragmatic reasons is true in part, but mainly for the leaders. My question is not really about why this tactic is chosen. I get that. It's about the motivation to do it, and specifically the religious motivation. Terrorism is not just a political protest about western presence in the Middle East. It's also about a belief that their view is the right one and ours the wrong one. But how does this, or even a political desire to get western troops (that are already leaving Iraq) out of the Middle East warrant taking the lives of innocent people?And are you seriously trying to get back onto direct democracy again? It could not work! Ruling is more than a full time job, it requires staying up late, getting up early, being away from home for extended periods, sometimes working through the night. You want the entire nation to do that? Who would do the other work? We need people to handle the things that we do not have the time to either do or stay up to date with.As for the link it is interesting but means little. Churchill once famously said “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” This is indicative of what many people think. Slating one thing without providing a viable alternative is exactly what politicians around the world are criticized for.

  • >I did provide a viable alternative, direct democracy.We need to start a thread on "How we can achieve Direct Democracy".I don't know if most arab terrorists are religiously motivated, or politically, or if both, then what the spread is. Who knows, its all presumption right?But if the are religious, they probably explain away the taking of innocent lives in the same way the west does, "collateral damage".Or maybe they just delude themselves into the means justifying the ends, in the same way the Roman Catholic church has many a time.My favourite quote comes from Catch-22, "Anything worth living for is worth dying for" said the young soldier. "Anything worth dying for is worth living for" replied the old man.

  • >Ok I'll start the other blog tomorrow. But with terrorism yes they probably do justify it in such ways. These actions by the West are wrong too. But they're not quite as wrong. At least when the West acts it targets the key problems and those innocent hurt are unintentional. The terrorists deliberately aim to hurt innocent peopple to achieve their aims. This is immoral, and any God worth worshiping would tell you that. Now understandably those who excercise terrorism do not have the kind of wealth or power that the West has and cannot use the same tactics. But they do have enough wealth and power to try other ways, indeed in many ways they have more power through religious influence. In this modern age it would be easy to mount a huge media assault on the West. There are plenty of examples of the West doing things they should not be doing in the Middle East. If the terrorists filmed these events and fought more like politicians, selling the information to the media and flooding the world with information about what is going on they would be far more likely to have success. They would create enemies of the West within the West (not just among Muslim Westerners either) and also create external pressure upon the West from other countries to pull out.The quote is a great one. It highlights how much more worth these terrorists could be alive than dead, and how much more potential exists for religious convertions if victims remain alive.

  • >I'll send your CV on to Osama, I hear he's looking for a new strategist.This media campaign, ir qould be the same one the palestinians are using? Oops, my deliberately pointed mistake, the Isreali's refused access to the strip for journalists.Wasn't it Goerring or someone who said 'control the media, control the people'? The western media comes in degrees of bias, some may put the odd negative report up whilst others, like Fox News, would never ever.I don't watch much news, but what i do watch are RT (russia today), Al Jazeera, and other ethnic news channels on my sky box (about channels 515-525 i think).Given that Al Jazeera does display a more level approach, there has still been little effect on the western population becuase 1. Other news channels still avoid reporting on it and 2. Not many people watch Al Jazeera.Youtube etc is no use because people only watch what they desire on youtube, so it is preaching only to the converted there.I think you are close to the point in saying that the arabs don't have the power to target the places they would like to most target. The did when they attacked the twin towers but now they are back to having to shit in their own neighbourhood.Do they intentionally target innocent civilians or is this just how it is reported by the west?

  • >And Iran's refusing to let pretty much anything near the name of free media exist in Iran, yet Iran is still one of the biggest stories in world news.And stories about Palestine are all over the internet. The Palestinians could scarcely have gotten better international attention. Before stories about Palestine appeared accross the world media Israel was seen as the good guy. News stories in the last forty years have flipped that on its head. And now, when the UK is suggesting that goods should be labelled as to whether they come from Palestine or Israel, Israel is screaming 'No, please don't!' Palestine is in favour. I think the reason why is obvious.As for media bias, yes it's a huge problem. But people often forget that the media exists not to spread the truth or even their version of it. They exist to make a profit. Give them a good enough video and I guarantee they will play it.Do terrorists intentionally target innocent civilians? Yes! Terrorism is a tactic designed to terrify and shock a nation (by the way on the subject of shocking a nation Naomi Klein says some excellent stuff). There is little that does this better than spreading fear that 'it could be you next!' Although if this is what you meant then I take your point that they are in fact using the media to spread this message. I just don't agree with the message i.e. threats, terrorism etc. Right now terrorism is creating a negative image that will echoe throughout generations to come. Even if it is succesful they're stealing part of their children/grandchildren's reputation to do so.

  • >Iran is getting a lot of attention now, but it's not very favourable right. Is it a con-incidence that the negative coverage about Iran comes along at the same time as the U.S. are trying to build a case for invading Iran?Correct about Palestine, it is slowly winning favour in the international world (at least amongst citizens, if not politicians) but this isn't due to their concerted efforts to influence the media. It is more attributable to Isreal's blantant over-stepping of boundarys. It's hard to hide a wall that has imprisoned a nation.I fully commend the UK supermarket chains in discerning between Israel and Palestine on their products and hope this is just the thin end of the wedge.Al Jazeera had remarkable footage during the Iraq invasion and occassionally this was referenced by other news channels but I had to switch over to see it for myself.Money is a great end game to focus on, and if you can entice the media to show this kind of coverage because of the viewers/revenue it will attract then great. But you must realise that there is another side that has money and influence and can counter argue for their benefits also.I'll have to read a bit of Naomi Klein before I comment of your statement that terrorists target civilians specifically.Finally is the french test on monday or wednesday and do i have to prepare anything?

  • >Bear in mind that it isn't only the US media reporting on Iran. And besides, Bush may have wanted to invade Iran but the situation’s since changed. Obama would have to be an idiot to want to now. That's why he's re-opened up the diplomatic route."It's hard to hide a wall that has imprisoned a nation." Correct. But it is easy to ignore one. It happened in Rwanda, Ukraine, and many other countries. And in fact when Western and Soviet armies rolled into Nazi territory they were shocked to find the Death Camps because most people didn't know they were there! So in some cases it is possible to overlook one entirely. This was the case with Palestine.The rights of Palestinians have been trodden on for a century. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 13 states that "everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." Yet people only learnt about the millions of Palestinians in exile fairly recently. And even now people accept that a right of return is only ever going to be a vague token or principle rather than a real offer to allow return. And interesting that you should mention a wall. http://www.stopthewall.org/downloads/pdf/Wall-fc-En.pdf Did you know about that? The sheer extent of the very real walls built to confine Palestinians is more than enough to make a person sick. I once read about a 50 year old man who was forced to retire because Israel built a wall in between his home and job. Now he can’t do anything but stay at home and rely on his family. But this is only a very minor example of what misery the wall is causing. What about Israeli closeness with the US. Do you know the real reasons behind that? People say because of the Jewish lobby but in reality that is a very small part of the reasoning. More true would be to say that Israel is profiting from global insecurity with its booming security industry. The main market? The US! Israeli weapon's specialists take new developments across to America just as any car salesman would do. They sell weapons with the assurance that they have been TESTED on Palestinians! Sorry, just realised I've started ranting. What I meant to say is that although to some extent you're right that the knowledge of what was happening would come anyway, the Palestinians have been enormously successful in selling their story. Disasters are occurring right, left and centre. Almost every country has witnessed a barbaric attack on one ethnic or religious group. In fact that is how Europe formed, in a process that could be seen under Charlemagne's genocidal attempts to form a single nation, right up to the recent break-up of Yugoslavia and their splitting themselves out into their various mono-ethnic groups (read Mills Kelly's work on the history of the Balkans and Yugoslavia).As for the money-media complex (made that up by the way) yes it’s true that others can spend money to influence the media. But failing outright bribes (which unfortunately I’m not able to say don’t occur) if both sides are giving all their information then it would be up to the media to publish what they then think is right. It’s usually the case that the story of those suffering human rights abuse sells more than those denying it, especially if they have pictures and videos. That’s how the people of Iran are fighting Ahmadinejad and Khamenei.As for Naomi Klein it’s not that she talks about terrorists targeting civilians. I just know that from my degree. She just puts out a lot of interesting information, and what she says is quite radical which makes it really interesting even if you don’t agree.I’ve sent you an email about the French.

  • >I didn't read the rant paragraph, forgive me if there was an important point in their somewhere.So you are saying the west overlooked the wall Israel built and that it is only through Palestinian media-directed efforts that brought it to world-wide attention?You are kidding yourself.

  • >No. I am saying that that Palestinian efforts to inform more people about their situation (followed by international efforts) have helped change the situation from one of those little known human rights catastrophes into the major problem of the world today. Observe the facts. People are not as selfless as they like to think. Most people are happy to ignore such problems if they're not bombarded with shocking facts and stats.

  • >Why do Terrorists do what they do?A child who becomes a terrorist would most likely not have done so if you or I had raised them.Thus we cannot blame the person – but the society that created how they think.This is because humans are programmed by an interplay of their genes, environment and culture.Probably the driving forces areCultural; fanatical religious beliefs, nationalism.Environmental; poverty, corporations, selfish brutal tyrants.There are lots of factors – life is complex – people can add them – you have discussed many above.The solution.True knowledge of reality to eradicate viral memes that are not true and harmful.True knowledge of reality as the foundation for the laws that regulate society.True knowledge of reality as the foundation for wise moral leaders.Corporations are not moral, and select for profit / overconsumption rather than what is good for humans.Thus corporations must be regulated to do what is good for humans.Abruptly written but meant kindly and sincerely, after a many years thought.Cheers,Geoff Haselhursthttp://www.spaceandmotion.com/society/politics-economics-truth-utopia.htm (Any thoughts appreciated)

  • >There are not many people who would disagree with you that universally held truths would solve the problems. But the problem is that truth is subjective. Terrorists are acting on their views of what the truth is. They think your science is as much a belief as their religion, except that they think theirs is right and yours wrong.The solution of creating 'one truth' has been the path followed by most leaders throughout history but it has always resulted in death and misery. What we need is not complete acceptance and understanding of 'the truth', but rather the acceptance of some truths by most people, and a general acceptance and understanding of people's entitlement to think different things.Even basic scientific truths will never be accepted by all people. You've probably heard the story of a woman who cried out in a public lecture that the world was in fact flat and standing on an infinite pile of turtles? She is not alone. There is a society of people who still believe the world is flat.We cannot remove humanity's capacity for stupidity. What we can do is ensure that the decision makers have enough knowledge to make their own minds up.

  • >However educating all people is also crucial. For as terrorism indicates, all people should have enough education to teach them that violence is not the most productive method in the long term.

  • >"But the problem is that truth is subjective." This is a viral meme (postmodernism) that has very destructive consequences.Is it subjective that humans must breath to stay alive?Is it subjective that the earth and sun must exist for humans to evolve?Is it subjective that all humans experience existing in space?Is it subjective that you were born?Is it subjective that humans depend on life for their food?This is the problem – humans are stupid programmed machines infected with cultural myths that blind them to truth, reality and wisdom – all necessary for our future survival.Cheers,Geoff

  • >All true (though I would debate the phrase that humans are stupid machines). But even if you have the true knowledge of the universe that does not mean that all others have or will ever have it. Therefore your aim of teaching people is highly commendable. But nevertheless another truth which must be taken into account is that few people know the truth, and some never will know it. In fact it is impossible for us to know everything about every field. And therefore it is always possible for people to question the so-called 'truth' that others hold dear.Therefore truth, reality and wisdom should be shared and taught as you suggest. But respect for other people's views about what that truth is should equally be respected. Debating and trying to prove those beliefs wrong can be admirable depending on the circumstances and what it will truly achieve, but at the end of the day we have to accept that many people will still walk away saying 'you're wrong'.I accept your critism though. I was wrong to say that truth is subjective. What I meant to say was that people's beliefs about what is true will always vary.

  • >Thanks Rob – much better.I think you could write it thus.All truths are subjective – some of those subjective truths are also objective (apply universally to all people).Darwinian evolution is clearly true – and very useful source of wisdom for how we should live on earth with Nature. But many people don't accept it as true – even though it is logical and necessary.This is one of the central problems – and thus why democracy is deeply flawed (it has good and bad).Truth is not democratic – and truth is the source of wisdom.Back to the original question – Terrorism.It is errors in our culture that are the cause – it is these we must cure (not a war on terrorism which is insane).Cheers,Geoff

  • >Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

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