Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
"Suicidal" vs. "Homicidal" bombers

By freebird in Op-Ed
Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:56:17 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Over the last few days there has been a shift in a term heard all too often in relation to the ongoing crisis in the mideast. Today Ari Fleischer (the US press secretary) made a strong enough point about it that it seems an actual policy decision, rather than simply a random lexical fluctuation. We no longer have "suicide bombers", they are now "homicide bombers".

Let's discuss which of these terms is the more accurate, and what the intent behind the shift might be.


Since time immemorial (well, most of my life anyway) we've heard of suicide bombers. Generally of an extremist religious bent, these madmen (and, increasingly, madwomen - let's hear it for gender equality!) have given their own lives as an effective way to take others lives in a horrific display of commitment and anger.

"Suicide Bomber" has always seems a fairly straight-forward, descriptive term. Many bombers are clearly unwilling to go that far, and the diffence is important. If it were just a matter of the life of the bomber (about which very few sane people can be overly concerned), there would be little need to differentiate. However, the willingness to make that ultimate sacrifice makes a huge difference in the type and efficacy of bombings they perform. There are many ways to protect yourself against a non-suicidal attacker that are simply uneffective against someone willing to make their very body a vehicle of destruction. So the distinction between suicidal bombers and other terrorists seems relevant, not only in a linguistic but a security sense. Linguistic because, after all, most bombers are committing some form of homicide (whether strategic, industrial, or military bombings should be excepted from this is an argument for another day). Security because (some) different preparations must be taken against them.

On the other hand, it seems the Administration wants to emphasize the fact that they are not just suicidal, but homicidal. Perhaps the desire is to draw a distinction between the larger categories of bombers attacking buildings and infrastructure with relatively little loss of life and those attacking people. Or between the Good Bombers (us, for example, attacking Bad Guys - and hence not committing homicide, but dispensing justice) and the Bad Bombers (who are Bad Guys who kill Good Guys, hence commiting homicide). Perhaps they are concerned that the General Public will think "suicide bombers" are simply committing suicide in a dramatic way, and miss the fact that they generally take many innocents with them.

In any case, it is always interesting to note these intentional changes in the terms of discourse, and speculate as to the reasons underlying them. This is clearly not a case of "lexical drift", where there is a gradual change in nomenclatural preference in the populace as a whole, but a conscious attempt from the US leadership to change the terms we use to describe this terrible phenomenon. Is the Administration simply trying to use a clearer, more accurate term? This is their position, and while it seems less than obvious that "homicide bomber" is more accurate than "suicide bomber", since it in fact describes a less specific class - in fact one would think the latter a subset of the former - they may be right, or at least this may be their motivation.

Or is it a political maneuver? If so, what is the desired effect? One reporter in this morning's press conference asked if it was an attempt to appease those elements of the American public who feel the President is being too easy on the Palestinians. This is an interesting hypothesis - lexical 'tweaking' as a form of soft attack; perhaps we need a new term: "Lexical bombers"? If this is the motivation, it would seem unlikely to satisfy those who want to drop 'daisy-cutters' on Arafat's headquarters, but I may underestimate the importance of the change.

As mentioned above, it seems possible that it may be an attempt to draw more semantic boundaries between the types of bombing the US engages in and those the "Martyr's Brigade" undertakes - though certainly "suicide bombings" seems to do this at least as well. Is it just an attempt to make them seem more 'evil'? Certainly one can't argue with that, though if it comes at the expense of clarity, it could be argued that it makes a resolution more difficult by 'over-heating' the discourse.

Obviously, the particular terms used seem of little importance in the face of the horrific brutality we're witnessing (whichever side you blame, if you blame a single side). But it can be argued that these terms are relevant not only because they give a clue as to the political and cultural undercurrents of the situation, but can in fact effect those undercurrents.

What do you think?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Also by freebird


Display: Sort:
"Suicidal" vs. "Homicidal" bombers | 120 comments (112 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Jawoll (4.42 / 7) (#1)
by moeffju on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:05:48 PM EST

You got the point already: (Almost) All bombers are homicidal. This is just one more extravaganza in the line of "Axis of Evil", "War On Terrorism" (but not on our own), etc.

On the other hand, who expected the US to stay reasonable...

Rhetoric (3.75 / 4) (#8)
by KilljoyAZ on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:19:07 PM EST

I think the US government is trying to shift the focus from the "martyrdom" aspect to the murderous aspect of the bombings. It most likely will be a hideous failure.

One of the few problems the region doesn't have is a rhetoric shortage.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
I find it interesting (4.28 / 7) (#13)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:36:20 PM EST

And I think this spin is for internal consumption. People may not realize it yet, but while Israel is winning every battle but they are losing this war - because (a) all they are doing is creating more bombers and (b) the US government has noticed that US public opinion is shifting AGAINST Israel. Otherwise, they wouldn't bother with the spin control.

If the US becomes neutral in this matter, Israel is screwed - because they are huge recipients of US aid and weapons.


--
Uhhh.... Where did I drop that clue?
I know I had one just a minute ago!


[ Parent ]
Spin doctors ahoy (none / 0) (#67)
by moeffju on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:26:10 PM EST

Yes, it is most certainly an attempt on shifting the perception. From a language point of view, it doesn't make much sense - not to me, at least. Usually, all bombers are comitting homicide. The specialty about those people is that they don't just remotely explode a bomb (that's something Israel does), but that they go as far as to kill themselves in the process. This shows how desperate (or fanatic) they must be. Shifting the term to "homicidal" bombers is a spinning attempt, and nonsense.

IMO.

[ Parent ]

[OT] I may be modded down for this but... (3.66 / 6) (#9)
by Rk on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:27:16 PM EST

the expression is jawohl and not jawoll, if it's the German expression that you're trying to use.

[ Parent ]
Actually, I am a german (none / 0) (#66)
by moeffju on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:22:27 PM EST

And this was done on purpose. "Jawoll" is the dialect form, used in the southern parts of germany mostly. I also spell it "Yawohl" or "Yawoll" sometimes, as a pun on the world's (especially the US') love for Bavaria etc.

[ Parent ]
It's meant to sound harder (none / 0) (#105)
by fr2ty on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 11:11:19 PM EST

so that you speak up and stand straight. Besides in some dialects it is used to signals some kind of military discipline.

Try shouting "Jawohl" with a looooong "o" to your drill sergeant.
<gig>
--
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
i don't know about this. (4.20 / 5) (#2)
by chopper on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:07:18 PM EST

so, does this mean that Paul Tibbets and the crew of the Enola Gay are 'genocide bombers'?

what about bombers who blow themselves up before they have a chance to run into a crowd? are they still 'suicide' bombers? or if someone blows up a day care center, are they now called 'infanticide' bombers?

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish

Try learning what Genocide means (2.33 / 3) (#53)
by PresJPolk on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 08:38:32 PM EST

The Enola Gay bombers were war criminals and mass murderers. One city does not a genocide make.

[ Parent ]
really? (2.33 / 3) (#55)
by infinitera on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 09:48:20 PM EST

I would call Truman and the Joint Chiefs war criminals. The pilots just followed orders..which, granted, makes them responsible/mass murders, but not the people behind the act.

[ Parent ]
Bombing a city (none / 0) (#63)
by PresJPolk on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:48:35 AM EST

I don't care what the orders were. Anyone who could nuke a city obviously was different from most people.

[ Parent ]
i beg to differ (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by infinitera on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:12:31 PM EST

There's tons of psychological research showing [good] people will follow orders that go against their judgment, even so far as to torture or kill others (that particular study didn't actually have people killing people, but the people thought they were.. it was later attacked for research methods because it traumatized the subjects) - growing up in a hierarchy does that, represses one's morality. Just about anyone could have been in that plane.

"When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned."Pastor Martin Niemöller, usually paraphrased as "First they came for.."

-Dan

[ Parent ]
some more thoughts (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by infinitera on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:31:06 PM EST

Here's a great book on the subject: The Moral Judgment of Children, by Jean Piaget. He concludes (and I'm paraphrasing here) that hierarchy prevents and is opposed to the creation of internal moral systems. And that children's play when left alone will tend toward consentual activities and advanced democratic concepts (Given enough children so the force of one bully is not an issue). All I'm saying is, don't indict the people, they're just doing their part in society - indict the society or the leaders.

-Dan

[ Parent ]
Why not go all the way (4.84 / 13) (#5)
by rickward on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:13:14 PM EST

and refer to suicide bombers as "human fragmentation grenades?"

The "suicide" in "Suicide bomber" evokes ideas of personal bravery and courage, of laying down one's life for the greater good. A "homicide bomber" is a criminal.

I think renaming them as "homicide bombers" is an attempt to shift the attitudes of the American public in preparation for diplomatic or military action. This signifies a major shift, I believe, in US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

People who get pissed over silly things deserve to be bothered at all costs. --MisterQueu

In the US Army (3.40 / 5) (#17)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:52:33 PM EST

In the 80's we referred to them as "dumb bombs"

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
A suicide bomber is a criminal... (2.50 / 4) (#31)
by synaesthesia on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:35:31 PM EST

...at least in the eyes of God*-fearing Americans.


* One particular God, obviously.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Suicide evokes bravery and courage? (4.57 / 7) (#38)
by Rk on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:48:21 PM EST

No, I don't think so. That's why Palestinians don't call them suicide bombers, since in Islam suicide is considered to be a sin. Admitting the fact that suicide bombers are commiting suicide would be making the Palestinians look hypocritical, since they, like the Israelis, have been motivating their populace and justifying their actions at least partially though religious belief. They're martyrs instead, just like Carlo Giuliani, the "brave martyr" who died fighting the "facist Italian goverment SS troops". You see, it is a matter of a perspective. To one side, they're suicide (or homicide, if you like) bombers, to the other, they're martyrs. To one side, they're terrorists, to the others, they're brave men, risking or giving up their lives to hit the enemy where it hurts the most. To one side, they're rebels, to the other, they're freedom fighters. There is a middle view, but nobody gets to hear it, because moderation is boring and doesn't serve anyone's agenda.

[ Parent ]
Suicide and holy war (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by synaesthesia on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:57:02 PM EST

in Islam suicide is considered to be a sin.

Are you sure about this? I had always understood it to be the case that if you died in the service of Allah (like, killing his enemies) you get a guaranteed place in heaven.



Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
There's a difference (4.50 / 2) (#58)
by Stickerboy on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:04:01 AM EST

Dying in the cause of your religion does not mean committing suicide.

Christianity is similar, where dying as a martyr for the religion is given the utmost reverence (although most Christians don't actually seek it). Suicide is implicitly a sin, since killing is a sin, and you're dying in the midst of sin with no chance to repent.

And it would seem to make sense that dying in the service of Allah does not necessarily get you off the hook for committing suicide (and that's neglecting the debate over Islam prohibiting the killing of any innocents); let's take a more extreme example than suicide bombing and say you drop a nuclear weapon on a city, and kill a hundred people who blaspheme against Islam. Does that justify and absolve your sin of killing a million others? Outside of the extremist Islamic militants, you won't find many people agreeing with the idea that "Allah's service" is an appropriate cover for committing sin.

[ Parent ]
The term jihad (none / 0) (#103)
by fr2ty on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 10:51:17 PM EST

We'd need an expert on the term jihad here. The problem is that there are quite a few concepts of jihad, some are meant to be a religious allegory, some are meant as plain war. But the term is in the quran and is being interpreted.

Another point we'd have to discuss is the term believer or non-believer, as jihad is carried out against the non-believer. Christians actually aren't non-believers, they are a retarded folk of followers of a sub-prophet if you follow the quran. (Some people might hang me if they read this, but from my reading of the quran it's true.)
The quran also speaks of important figures of the jewish faith: Ibrahim, Musa, Yussuf, make up the jewish/christian names for those yourself. Mohammed had a deep respect for cultures possesing "scripture", actually.
But this is becoming off topic.

I guess it is more politics than religion, it's about propagating political ideas in times of war and the exploitation of people's desire to have a somewhat defined religious basis.
--
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
warning: Western viewpoint (none / 0) (#91)
by ethereal on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:28:39 PM EST

Maybe it's just me, but I always thought of a "martyr" as someone who is killed by the other side for your beliefs. So:

  • Mullah killed by Israeli fire: martyr.
  • Palestinian ambulance driver killed in a crossfire with Israeli troops: maybe a martyr, depending on how religious you think ambulance driving is.
  • Christian thrown to the lions in the Colosseum: martyr.
  • Christian who jumps into the Colosseum on his own: not a martyr, because the Romans didn't intend to kill him.
  • Suicide bomber - not a martyr, because they killed themselves, they weren't killed by Israelis.

The perception of exactly how you get to be a martyr must be different somehow, or else maybe those folks are just fooling themselves so that they can have a reason to go through with it. I guess you could make the argument that they believe that the Israelis will kill them all one way or the other, and so they might as well be suicide bombers, but I think that's a stretch.

--

Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the
[
Parent ]

Is it really suicide in the bombers mind? (1.00 / 1) (#73)
by hawaii on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:49:00 PM EST

All this talk about what goes on in someone's mind to make them decide to kill themselves (along with many others) for whatever cause.

However, these (suicide/homicide/whatever) bombers are guaranteed a place in paradise with N number of virgins, etc. Is it really suicide if you are so utterly convinced of an afterlife of paradise? Is the act of explosion (in the bomber's mind) really a suicide, or is it more like the act of buying a one-way ticket to a nice tropical island?

That is, are the bombers really heroic for hastening their trip to paradise?

[ Parent ]

I've always preferred (4.37 / 8) (#6)
by leviramsey on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:16:02 PM EST

"Not so smart bombs" myself.



I'm tired of this..... (1.83 / 6) (#10)
by sisyphus on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:27:56 PM EST

The world doesn't evolve around usa and it's surgically attached Israel....


The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

Go push your rock. (4.20 / 5) (#12)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:31:25 PM EST

Face it, if Israel and Palestine keep this up, the whole region is going to start smoking and the economy of what ever rock your hiding under is going straight down the toilet. You have a vested interest in not seeing this region go to war.


--
Uhhh.... Where did I drop that clue?
I know I had one just a minute ago!


[ Parent ]
Final solution. (3.80 / 5) (#16)
by deefer on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:50:33 PM EST

Buy a 2 chunks of land. I'm sure there's plenty of places in the world where the governments will sell an Israel sized chunk, and a Palestine chunk. Where no one will dispute ownership, preferably.

UN funds this, and the relocation costs of Israelis and Palestinians.

Check to make sure nothing living is left in the area.

Then nuke the entire fucking area. Leave behind nothing but radioactive glass.

This way, no one's happy. But it always works with kids who don't play nice; if you can't share your toys then neither of you gets to play.


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

I like it. (3.75 / 4) (#18)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:55:40 PM EST

But I dare you to find to country sized pieces of real estate that no one has claimed as their own. I have come to believe, however, that the creation of Israel was the "final mistake" of the colonial powers.

--
Uhhh.... Where did I drop that clue?
I know I had one just a minute ago!


[ Parent ]
Oh no (4.00 / 4) (#20)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:59:27 PM EST

The colonial powers have made lots of mistakes since then.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
I'd guess (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by deefer on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:16:58 PM EST

Somewhere in Africa would be a good start. Or one of the uninhabited pacific islands.

Just as long as there is a full investigation with the locals, that they irrevocably sign away rights to the land.




Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

Maybe we can put one lot out of the way in... (none / 0) (#35)
by maroberts on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:45:28 PM EST

..<a href=http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/5/14533/82883>The Falkland Islands</a> !!! ;-P
~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
[ Parent ]
Lol. nice sig. (2.50 / 2) (#42)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:11:56 PM EST

But, about the falklands, won't they have to worry about suicide sheep?


--
Uhhh.... Where did I drop that clue?
I know I had one just a minute ago!


[ Parent ]
There's lots of advantages. (3.00 / 2) (#44)
by maroberts on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:49:21 PM EST

If the Palestinians are down there

a) there's only the Argentinians to pick a fight with , and they have to cross a lot of water to do it

b) Its a long way to Israel

c) if the Palestinians do fight Argentina, the Arabs won't be pissed at the US and UK, cut off our oil and stop us playing games in Iraq


~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
[ Parent ]
How about... (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by Rocky on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:45:35 PM EST

...Montana?

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]
Maybe we can put one lot out of the way in... (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by maroberts on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:46:04 PM EST

..The Falkland Islands !!! ;-P
~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
[ Parent ]
Easy answer (3.75 / 4) (#43)
by KilljoyAZ on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:34:44 PM EST

Antarctica. It has the added advantage that disputes over water rights will be unlikely.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Not Fair to Children (none / 0) (#85)
by RHSwan on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 11:00:35 PM EST

Most children over the age of two are more mature than that.

[ Parent ]
missed chance (none / 0) (#92)
by ethereal on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:34:35 PM EST

Unfortunately, the Allies missed their great chance to do that after WWII - they could have just given Germany to the Jews, and let the Palestinians keep Palestine. Well, except for all of those famous religious sites. That would have been a problem. Oh, and the Germans of course.

--

Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the
[
Parent ]

Yes... (1.20 / 5) (#15)
by Rocky on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:36:43 PM EST

...as a matter of fact, it does.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]
Tell that to China or Inda (3.20 / 5) (#25)
by BlackTriangle on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:17:40 PM EST

They'll have a good laugh.

Moo.


[ Parent ]
All the way... (1.60 / 5) (#28)
by Rocky on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:31:29 PM EST

...to a fiery, nuclear hell!

Boo!

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]
Editorial? (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by jmzero on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:36:15 PM EST

Perhaps your comment would have been better as an editorial. Many of the people reading here are reading for topical content.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
maybe (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by freebird on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:40:19 PM EST

Could be. I didn't want to make strong point one way or the other so much as initiate discussion, and maybe even more, see if people felt the question itself to be relevant.

But I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "topical content" - isn't this related to 'news' and 'politics'? I guess you mean specific news, rather than discussion of news?

...TAGGATC...(etc)
[ Parent ]

Not you (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by synaesthesia on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:54:36 PM EST

I think the 'you' in jmzero's comment may have been sisyphus - the parent comment of his.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Not sure (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by jmzero on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:51:20 PM EST

Whether you're responding to me commenting on Sisyphus's comment (which was a comment on your article) or whether you thought I was myself making a comment on your story.

In any case, my thought was this :

Perhaps Sisyphus should have marked his comment editorial as it seemed to be meta-discussion rather than discussion.

And don't get me wrong, I don't think this is a big deal or anything - just wanted to clarify.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Of course not (none / 0) (#100)
by axxeman on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 10:21:58 PM EST

That would be devolving.

Besides, USians are creationist anyway.

Or was that destructionist?

Not yet. Don't come before we have finished humping...
[ Parent ]

I think (3.50 / 2) (#11)
by shrike7 on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:28:09 PM EST

that you're probably right that the Administration is trying to set the terms of the debate. I also think they'll fail miserably, because eventually enough people are going to say essentially what you said: Why call them something vague when something specific is close to hand? Plus, changing the way people talk by governmental fiat almost never works.
CXVI
Homicidal vs suicidal behavior (4.87 / 8) (#14)
by sampad on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:36:22 PM EST

Another result of using the term homicidal rather than suicidal is that any sympathy that the reader might have toward the bomber is replaced with disgust. A suicidal attack is interpreted as an profound action because the bomber has shown his support for a cause which he values more than his own life. This can invoke storybook images of martyrs that could cause people to sympathize with the attacker. Homicidal is a word normally used to characterize serial killers and others who take human life without any apparent reason. In this case, people will almost never feel any sort of sympathy towards attacker who is no longer a brave martyr but rather a manic. If the Palestinian fighters are seen as psychotic fools rather than brave rebels then it would be easier for people to support the fight against Evil.

Inversion (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by bob6 on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:04:05 PM EST

We hear that Israel is a "homicidal state" because the army kills Palestinian civils, bla, bla bla...
My point of view is that we may call Israel a "suicidal state" because its current politics will certainly not guarantee its own security in the short and long term.

My guess is that Israelis (that support Sharon) will appreciate even less the word "suicidal" than "homicidal" to qualify themselves.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Hehe.. (1.00 / 1) (#61)
by goatse on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:13:07 AM EST

The Israelis are more-or-less behaving themselves. The U.S. would not restrain its self as much in a simillar situation. I mean come one we just pounded the crap out of Afganistan for one attack. We stayed in Vietnam for ten frigging years gue to our ego. We would be using nukes if we faced Israels troubles. Actually, its official U.S. policy to respond to conventional assult of U.S. soial with nuclear weapons (soviets always had a bigger army). You know even the British forces in the Persian gulf war were authorized to use nukes in retaliation to chemical or biological attacks.

Still, you might be right about Israel endangering their future, but if they go down.. man.. it will be one big (nuclear) boom! [Most likely that would require cities in Israel and various Arab states getting nuked.. our oil would glow in teh dark]


[ Parent ]
Wait a minute (none / 0) (#101)
by fr2ty on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 10:24:40 PM EST

You stayed in Vietnam to gue your ego. Forgotten anything? This is about killing people, not just watching TV. Behaving one's self means kill kill kill and ethnic cleansing in this case.

(this mapgives us a look, if we want to trust the publishers. Or try this linkfor a collection of related publications.) Vietnam was kill-E03 too, it was not only about (sorry) your frigging american ego. You are missing some dead people there. And I think "you" would NOT use nukes if you were facing israels problems because "you" solved your own settling problems some hundred years ago.

It is a hard job to drive a culture out of God's own country, even if your motivation to cultivate it with your own ideas was oh so idle and pure.

Oh, and don't hate me, I am just upset:-)
--
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
Israel a "suicidal state" (none / 0) (#109)
by beak on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:15:30 AM EST

And an article more finely reasoned that I could ever write supporting this view can be found here.
    [...] the State of Israel knowingly sacrifices its own civilians for the Molech (*) called settlements


[ Parent ]
I was referring to politics (none / 0) (#110)
by bob6 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:24:51 AM EST

Thanks for the link.
It stresses the fact that Palestinians may act towards Israeli colons as Tsahal treats Palestinian suicidal bombers.

Actually I was qualifying as suicidal the political choices of Sharon that may put Israel in serious danger.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
I agree... (3.33 / 3) (#30)
by rodoke3 on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:34:04 PM EST

You pretty much hit the nail right on the head. Governments have always used this type of tactic on the people to get them to sympathize with the government.

Liberty cabbage, anyone? ;-)


I take umbrage with such statments and am induced to pull out archaic and over pompous words to refute such insipid vitriol. -- kerinsky


[ Parent ]
"Terror bomber" (3.66 / 3) (#46)
by jmzero on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:07:01 PM EST

CNN seems to have started calling them "terror bombers".

Of course terror and terrorism are rapidly losing meaning, but I think that "terror bomber" gives useful information.

It implies that this particular bomber's intent is killing civilians in order to advance a political cause (which, IMHO, is a reasonable definition of terrorism).

"Homicide bomber" conveys no extra information - people assume bombing is about killing people. If you classified bombings with this word, you'd find very few that weren't homicide bombings. It's use is political - intended to remind people that bombing is a way of killing people.

"Suicide bomber" conveys some information, but not the most important. When a bombing takes place, the survival of the bomber (whether he/she intended to or not) doesn't seem to the most important information to relay. We wouldn't classify all of the bombings in the world according to whether they were suicidal or not. Again - its use is political. It's meant to reinforce the idea that these bombers have more conviction/are more desperate.

On the other hand, I think it's useful to classify bombings as terror/non-terror (although I suppose that distinction is subjective).
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Interesting...reference vs. referent (4.66 / 3) (#49)
by freebird on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:42:43 PM EST

I hadn't noticed that...

Most of my thought has been on the means or effect (IE, defending oneself against suicidal bombers as opposed to non-suicidal).

But the *goal* may well be at least as relevant a feature to base classification on. I was about to say this differentiates between 'military' and 'terrorist' bombings (I know, a fuzzy boundary at times) but on second thought, I'm not sure it does, as military bombing is often intended to invoke terror.

It seems that, as is often the case, there is conflict between the desire for language to convey information about the REFERENCE and the REFERENT. That is, between saying something about the terror/suicide/homicide bombers themselves, and saying something about the position "we" take in regards to them.

Gee, it's almost as though language and conflict don't form a one-dimensional, easy to classify structure...:)

...TAGGATC...(etc)
[ Parent ]

Goal (4.00 / 2) (#52)
by jmzero on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:38:32 PM EST

But the *goal* may well be at least as relevant a feature to base classification on. I was about to say this differentiates between 'military' and 'terrorist' bombings (I know, a fuzzy boundary at times) but on second thought, I'm not sure it does, as military bombing is often intended to invoke terror.

I think we (and any news source) can make a distinction between military bombing and terror bombing without "picking sides" or even making moral judgements.

I would say that military bombing is a subset of terror bombings. Specifically, it is military bombing if at least one subgoal is a direct military objective (I avoid saying primary goal, as that means the news source would have to make difficult judgements again).

For example, if I destroy a military base, enemy forces, a factory, or even signifigant infrastructure then that can be viewed as a military attack - even if many civilians are killed in the process, and even if the civilian deaths are intentional (because judging intent is hard, and not something a news source should do).

However, if the attack is not against any of these sort of targets, then it is not a military attack, it is only a terror attack.

Thus, the entire Palestinian intifada can be thought of as military - as they fight soldiers and such. However, by this definition, individual bombings are "terror" in most cases... unless you contend that disrupting Israel's war economy by removing a bus, a plumber, and a section of road was more than a trivial sub-goal of the bomber in question.

Not that this classification is perfect - for example, would 9/11 be called "terror" here? I think it should be, but I suppose you could think of it as "military" in that it did do signifigant economic damage as well as accomplish its "terror" purpose.

So it's not hard to come up with a definition of a "terror" attack - the problem is in coming up with a definition that gives us the answers we want.

I for one don't want to call the US blowing up a chemical plant in Sudan a terrorist attack. But at the same time, it's hard to define terror in such a way that it excludes this attack and not 9/11 - unless you make some judgements of intent (and you don't think, as Chomsky does, that the US should have expected this to result in 10's of thousands of deaths to malaria).
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
So what do they call non-suicidal bombers? (4.75 / 4) (#22)
by Delirium on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:09:48 PM EST

Is someone who sets up a bomb and detonates it either with a timer or remotely a "homocide bomber" as well? They clearly are committing homicide using bombs as a weapon. Will they be called something else, or is the intent to remove the distinction between bombers who die while carrying out bombings and those who don't?

Jet pilots (nt) (5.00 / 4) (#54)
by pyramid termite on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 09:03:26 PM EST


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
value of human life (4.66 / 6) (#29)
by infinitera on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:33:20 PM EST

This is same type of Orwellian language as collateral damage. It is entirely antithetical to an honest quest for peace, because until you understand the motivations of such an act, and the sacrifice involved, you are not going to stop it. Note, I did not say it was a justified or moral act. Just that the bomber's life is a human one too, and his was the first victim before the bomb even exploded.

Suicidal homicidal bomber (4.80 / 5) (#41)
by mech9t8 on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:06:51 PM EST

The problem is restricting it to just two words.

They are homicidal - they're killing innocent people.

They are suicidal - they're killing themselves

They are bombers - they're using bombs

It seems to me "bomber" is the least important word there - for instance, there are suicidal attacks by Palestinian gunmen as well as bombers.

So perhaps suicidal murderers, if we want a catchy two-word expression.

Of course, it could be debated whether "homicidal" or "murderer" is appropriate in this situation, since we don't call soldiers that. And while the West traditional hasn't sent soldier specifically to die, there have been enough instances where death was all but assured - especially in World War I and II.

So if Arafat calls a spade a spade and admits the suicide attackers are, in effect, acting as his army, we could call them suicidal solders or suicidal freedom fighters or whatever (even "martyrs", I suppose). As long as the bombers are (nominally, anyway) condemned by *both* sides, "murderers" seems to me to be the most appropriate.

--
IMHO
murder-suicide (none / 0) (#71)
by hawaii on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:28:40 PM EST

Look at what it's called when someone kills their family and then themselves. It's a murder-suicide. Murder comes first, then suicide.

You're right that it's suicide/homocide/bomber. My not instead call them murder-suicides? I think the bomb part isn't as important when talking about the overall effect. I think that basically gets the point across, and is already a term prevelant in the west.

[ Parent ]

Mismatched term (none / 0) (#108)
by RSevrinsky on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:17:29 AM EST

Murder-suicide connotes a different kind of crime. Usually, it's a crime of passion, carried out on family members. In other words, the perpetrator is disturbed enough to kill someone he cares about, and is unable to live with the consequences. He may already consider his live worthless before the act.

This is markedly different from Islamic fundamentalists who don't care specifically about who they kill in the name of their cause (as was evidenced by the bombing in Haifa in an Arab-owned restaurant). Even if they were only out to kill Jews, that still would be very different from someone who murders a family member, a lover, a family member's lover, a girlfriend -- always a specific known individual.

[ Parent ]

Suicidal Bomber (3.66 / 6) (#47)
by xriso on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:25:13 PM EST

Somebody who just wants to blow self up.

"Don't come near me! I just want to blow my self into little tiny bits! I don't want anybody else to be hurt! OK? OK.... BOOOM"
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

"suicide" not "suicidal" (5.00 / 5) (#50)
by freebird on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:55:18 PM EST

I know, it's a nitpicky point, but...your description is apt for a "suicidal" bomber, not (neccesarily) a "suicide" bomber.

For example, think of the difference between a "homicide detective" and a "homicidal detective".

(yikes...)

The '-al' suffix implies something about the internal state of the person, the '-ide' suffix implies something about their sphere and method of acting -- in both cases.

...TAGGATC...(etc)
[ Parent ]

heh (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by freebird on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:01:34 PM EST

...but I used the "suicidal" form in my title, didn't I...heh.

I'm not sure if that's what you were getting at, but either way, oops.

...TAGGATC...(etc)
[ Parent ]

More Washington Bullshit (4.50 / 10) (#48)
by holycola on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:32:59 PM EST

Yet another attempt to ensure that people don't think of the terrorist as a person. By replacing 'suicidal' with 'homicidal' we are invited to ignore the fact that the perpretrator was willing to die for whatever cause he or she is trying to help. I don't believe that soaking a cause in blood is a way to build a future, but trying to manipulate language in the service of dehumanization doesn't get us any closer either.

-----
This is not a sig.
Trollish, but I'll bite (1.00 / 1) (#62)
by daelstorm on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:46:55 AM EST

Step #1 Person is a human being.
Step #2 Person decides to reorganize his/her body parts, while attempting the same for others.
Step #3 Person effectively dehumanizes him/herself.

I think a slight bit of being human is caring about being alive. Once you lose that, you are a liability to humanity.

[ Parent ]
hmm, Bush did it again! (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by KiTaSuMbA on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 10:00:25 PM EST

Current US administration has proven already they do not master english in an adequate way.
This only another example.
A Bomber is someone who uses a Bomb to attack people. Bombs usually kill or at least are intended to kill people.
Homicide is the act of killing people in a non legitimate (what is and what is not legitimate is another arguement).
Thus a "homicidal bomber" lectically is an error as the concept of "kill" is simply repeated: all bombers not otherwise defined (i.e. soldiers, pilots, etc.) are homicidal. A suicidal bomber instead, is a very specific type of bomber: someone who will kill himself in order to deploy the attack. In the same manner kamikazes are defined as suicidal pilots, not homicidal.
A suicidal bombing is an act of despare and for those who do it, actually an act of heroism (NB: I'm not saying it is heroic, I'm saying the bombers honestly believe it is). This is what the US administration is trying to de-focus by using and inviting others to use this stupid lectical error. They fear that the public will sympathize with the bombers. This is not the case IMO. Nobody sympathized with the kamikazes during the war, and it was war anyway, some things were expected to happen, like killing opposite troops. No sane man, especially in the independant (or "independant" if you like) west, will consider bombings killing innocent people an act of bravery. Bush's policy to use "heavy words" will again hit back. Look at all the criticism and tell me: did he actually managed to de-emphasize the human drama behind the bombings or did he provide another stance to talk about it through the criticism he received? Now, more islamic hotheads can talk about the US hating them, and the discrimination and, and, and...
People, a suicidal bomber is a suicidal bomber is a suicidal bomber.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
This reminds me (4.80 / 5) (#57)
by Stickerboy on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 11:51:55 PM EST

... of a few years ago, when I read that the Department of Transportation was going to stop reporting statistics on motor vehicle "accidents" and instead report motor vehicle "wrecks".

The reasoning behind it was that the large majority of "accidents" are caused by an avoidable act by one or more drivers, and the DoT wanted to avoid giving the impression that "accidents" just happen - that the drivers are in control in a large majority of the incidents.

[ Parent ]
How about (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by axxeman on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 10:25:37 PM EST

Kamikaze bombers. or

Smart bombs.

Not yet. Don't come before we have finished humping...
[ Parent ]

actually, (none / 0) (#106)
by KiTaSuMbA on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:40:01 AM EST

most italian and greek press use frequently the word kamikaze to define them.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
Doh! (none / 0) (#112)
by Caton on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:05:14 AM EST

Smart bombs

Are you sure?

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

Absolutely. (none / 0) (#115)
by axxeman on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:01:24 PM EST

But then, I'm the kind of person who thinks Dancer In The Dark had a relatively happy ending.

Not yet. Don't come before we have finished humping...
[ Parent ]

Maybe.. (none / 0) (#117)
by Caton on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:45:40 PM EST

Not-so-smart bomb would be a good compromise wording.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Re: Maybe (none / 0) (#120)
by Majromax on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:39:06 PM EST

"Not-so-smart bomb would be a good compromise wording."

I'd settle for "Darwin Award," myself.

[ Parent ]

Palestinian Issue (1.50 / 2) (#59)
by Merk00 on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:05:31 AM EST

I would surmise that there's a very simple reason for the change in term: force the issue that the Palestinians are terrorists. If we start referring to all terrorist attacks using bombs as "homicidal bombers" (including both Palestinian and non-Palestinian attacks) it becomes much harder for Arab countries to deny (or to appear to be truthful when saying so) that the Palestian movement does not represent a terrorist operation.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission

hmmm... (1.00 / 1) (#60)
by Ender Ryan on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:48:39 AM EST

hom·i·cide Pronunciation Key (hm-sd, hm-)
n.
1. The killing of one person by another.

Ok, this change of language may be a form of propaganda. Or, it could simply be a better description? After all, the intent of the suicide bomber is to kill others, not the self.

In either case, from the definition of homicide, the change of language, whether appropriate or not(???), would seem to be quite accurate.

Also, consider... Someone blows himself up on a schoolbus with the intent of killing others, killing your children. Would you consider that person to be committing suicide, or homicide?


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


Then what is the opposite? (none / 0) (#68)
by moeffju on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:27:48 PM EST

How do you call the others then? Those who remote control a bomb and blow up people are surely commiting homicide too, and they use a bomb, thus are bombers.

Calling suicidal bombers "homicidal" is surely not untrue, but one might think the latter a part of the former. Using this language, the distinction gets lost.

[ Parent ]

linca - you're a dumbass - nt (none / 0) (#113)
by Ender Ryan on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:20:46 AM EST


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

Re: hmmm (none / 0) (#119)
by bogado on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:41:31 AM EST

Yes that is exactly what the people who are changing the terms want you to think. "Shure this person motive is only to KILL PEOPLE. The bomber did not have any intetions but to kill jews." But the fact is that those people who are blowing up them selves have other intentions beside killing, as much as the israeli soldier that shots at children throwing stones at them.

I do not think that going into a public place and blowing your self and others up is a good strategy in this war, in fact I think that they are playing the "Sharon/Bush" the more people they explode more excuses the US/Israel goverments have to fire their state of art wepons at palestin people.

But we must not be mistaken this bomber are trying to defend their people, the best way they think they can. They are trying so hard that they are willing to give their life and this is what this change in semantics is trying to hide from the public. And this makes me seek.


[]'s Victor bogado da Silva Lins

^[:wq
[ Parent ]

Bias in language (4.60 / 5) (#64)
by Betcour on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:19:50 AM EST

Frankly this change of definition is just more display of pro-Israeli bias :
  1. These are really suicide bombers. Not only do they kill others, they also kill themselves. The fact that someone is ready to die to do this should not be ignored because it is a strong message about the state of desparation of the bombers.
  2. "homicidal bombers" is redundant. Obviously a bomber is usually aiming for an homicide, not to find a partner to play chess. "homicidal bombers" imply that there are "non-homicidal bombers". Duh !
  3. I guess we will have to rewrite all history books so that the Japanese use "homicidal bombers" when the Kamikazes dive on US boats.


Suicide/Homicide (3.00 / 3) (#70)
by hawaii on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:21:41 PM EST

  1. You're forgetting something relevent in Western society - the concept of a murder-suicide. Ie, some crazy guy/girl goes on a shooting rampage, and then kills himself/herself. These are called murder-suicide. Note that murder comes first, and also that it's not just referred to as a shooting-suicide or an agressive-suicide.

    The new usage of homicide-bomber more aptly fits this definition of emphasizing that it's not only a suicide and a bombing, but large acts of homicide as well.

    If news organizations are allowed to call Israeli actions massacres because innocents get killed in large numbers, then there's nothing wrong with calling these homicide bombers, which also reflect people getting killed.

  2. "Homicidal bombers" is certainly not redundant, as not all bombs are aimed at killing. There are people that blow up dams, people that blow up cars (when there's nobody in them) to scare people (happened to my friend's who's father is a politician in Cyprus).

  3. Your comment about Kamikaze's is ridiculous. Usually history books refer to them as Kamikaze pilots, after the initial definition is made. They're not repeatedly referred to as suicide missions. This definition of Kamikaze usually includes the word suicide (see merriam/webster for instance) but also includes the word attack. Kamikaze's were used in the midst of declared warfare between nations at war with each other. In war it is obvious that the aim of any attack is to maximize casualties/damage on the other side.

Finally, about your comment saying this change is more display of pro-Israel bias. I'm curious if you're equally critical of countries that have far greater pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel bias, such as all members of the Arab League, for instance. Most of these countries refer to any Israeli action as massacre/aggressiion/assault/evil, and any Palestinian attacker as a freedom fighter or martyr, for instance.

[ Parent ]

Bad for worse (4.50 / 2) (#74)
by Betcour on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:51:16 PM EST

"bombers" already carries the idea of murder. Few bombers don't aim to kill, and a bomb is universally associated to the idea of death. "Suicide bombers" has the advantage of carrying three informations : suicide, murder and bomb. "homicidal bomber" only carries two informations : murder and bomb. We don't know anymore whether the terrorism gave his life away in the process or not. The media end up giving us less informations. They just changed our vocabulary by making it less meaningful and less informative. In "1984", the fascist state that drives the country also refines vocabulary to make it less meaningful and rich just the same...

As for the bias : the idea of murder is written twice (homicidal and bomber), making an emphasis, while the idea of suicide is totally removed. This is obviously biased since it insist on the death of the targetted victims (Israeli) while the death of the terrorist (Palestinian) is ignored. If we did the opposite (calling it simply a "suicide") you would find this obviously biased because we would ignore the Israeli deaths. Why is ignoring the Palestinian death not biased then ? A life is a life, and a life taken is a life taken.

[ Parent ]
death of a bomber salesman (none / 0) (#77)
by hawaii on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:11:34 PM EST

Why is ignoring the Palestinian death not biased then ? A life is a life, and a life taken is a life taken.

One comment. If one takes their own life, then they took that life themselves, and it shouldn't be counted as a 'kill' by the enemy.

That is, when Israel releases the numbers of killed Palestinians involved in its operations, it doesn't include the bombers because they intended to die specifically, and it wasn't the IDF that killed them.

As far as ignoring the Palestinian death, that's a good point. However, just calling them 'suicide bombers' doesn't really convey the extent of the damage caused. For the exact same reason that only referring to Israeli counter response to said bombers as 'defensive measures' doesn't convey the extent of this damage either.

If you're going to talk about the harms one side causes the other, then you should also mention the harms of both sides.

I mention this because you seem obviously bothered by a pro-Israeli bias, but you don't seem bothered by a very virulent anti-Israeli coalition of the Arab League, for instance. Have you read any Arabic news pages? For a while, I was reading some daily(Arabnews, Arabicnews, etc), getting varying slants of the middle east, and the amount of omissions by these news sites was sickening. That is, almost all atrocities comitted by Israelis were listed, and any comitted by Palestinians were ignored or barely mentioned. Even Israeli newspapers (the ones that I've read - Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz) don't do anything remotely this skewed, even with their obvious Israeli bias.

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#79)
by Betcour on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:33:26 PM EST

I'm bothered by Arabic countries bias (obviously they are indeed virulent from the quote I had), but since I don't read a word of Arab (or Hebrew) I just don't bother reading them. I find European medias more balanced (BBC, Libération). But I've seen a few Israeli publications written in English and frankly, they are as biased as the Arab league. The Israeli press writes pages on a bombing victim, and is totally silent on the 10 Palestinians who died the same day.

I don't expect either side medias to be unbiased (war is war, and propaganda is an integral part of it unfortunately), but I've very angered when US medias seems to be just publishing the White House press-release instead of doing real journalism. CNN is really just the "US Public Propaganda Department".

[ Parent ]
Media (none / 0) (#81)
by hawaii on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 04:15:08 PM EST

You seem to be reading more right-wing Israeli media than I do. Check out Ha'aretz for a left-of-center Israeli news site. Obviously it has a bias, being in Israel, but if you think they are, as you say: The Israeli press writes pages on a bombing victim, and is totally silent on the 10 Palestinians who died the same day. Then you're mistaken. They (along with right-of-center Jerusalem Post) DO mention Palestinian civilians killed, accidents of the IDF, inquiries of human rights violations of the IDF, etc. I've seen them put pictures of Palestinian families left homeless on their sites, etc.

So, IMHO, these sites aren't as biased as the Arab media. If you do have an example of a more even-handed Arab news outlet, please let me know. Many Arab sites I've seen do, as you have referred to, pages on the victims of IDF incursions. But, unlike most Israeli sites that I've seen, they are quiet on the bombings, shooting attacks, snipings, etc.

I've very angered when US medias seems to be just publishing the White House press-release instead of doing real journalism.

You are forgetting an important part of living in US - freedom of speech, and freedom to choose your own news source. There are many places you can get your news (if the average Joe wants to be spoonfed, then that's his problem), and you're also free to publish/distribute your view of the story. This is a very important freedom - to let the people know of other aspects of a story, or stories that aren't brought to surface by media outlets.

You seem to be worried about US medias publishing white-house-fed propaganda, but in the bigger picture, I'm more worried about countries with state-controlled-media feeding the propaganda machine, without the citizens having the ability to get other perspectives of the story. This borders on brainwashing.

[ Parent ]

Lies & media (none / 0) (#87)
by Betcour on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 06:12:52 AM EST

You seem to be worried about US medias publishing white-house-fed propaganda, but in the bigger picture, I'm more worried about countries with state-controlled-media feeding the propaganda machine, without the citizens having the ability to get other perspectives of the story. This borders on brainwashing.

I disagree on that. During the cold war, every Russian knew that whatever was published in the nationnal press (say, the Pravda) was lies and propaganda. And I don't think any North Korean believes the local medias when they talk about their "great leader and perfect country". On the other hand, the average American believes CNN is a quite fair source of information, eventhough it is not. And when CNN says how much USA is the perfect country, they often believe it. All in all, a bad huge lie is safer than a good plausible lie.

[ Parent ]
People DO believe state-controlled media (none / 0) (#90)
by hawaii on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:20:45 PM EST

I disagree on that. During the cold war, every Russian knew that whatever was published in the nationnal press (say, the Pravda) was lies and propaganda.

I disagree entirely. One of my friends came to the USA from China a few years ago, and she thinks Chairman Mao was a pretty great guy who didn't do anything bad. She thought Tibet was part of China proper. She was really upset when someone else referred to the 'cultural revolution' in China decades ago, and had some negative things to say about China and Mao.

I was specifically referring to the Arab media, that publishes articles full of false accustions and fabrications such as the following.

  • Jews killing non-Jewish children to get their blood for Matzah
  • Jews inventing the myth of the Holocaust only to inflict their cruel will on others
  • Israelis dropping poison candies from airplanes to trick Palestinian and other Arab children into eating them
  • Israelis using radioactive uranium ore in bullets
  • Jews sending female soldiers into Arab towns to do a striptease and then pull out a pistol and kill those present
  • Jews spreading AIDS amongst the Arabs
  • even accusing Israel of blackmailing the USA by having the ability to spy on every cell phone call in the USA.

This has some of the following observed effects.

  • Bashar Assad, President of Syria, said on May 6, 2001, to the Pope
    "They [the Jews] try to kill the principle of religions with the same mentality that they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Mohammed"
  • Marouf Al-Dawalibi, the Saudi Arabian delegate appealed this to the UN Human Rights Comission at, ironically, the conference on religious tolerance on Dec. 5, 1984
    "The Talmud says that if a Jew does not drink every year the blood of a non-Jewish man, he will be damned for eternity."
  • Suha Arafat, wife of Yasser Arafat, said this to First Lady Hillary Clinton during a Gaza appearance on Nob. 11, 1999
    "Our people have been subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children."
So, NO, you're wrong when you say people still question the authenticity of reports of state-controlled media, as the previous real examples demonstrate. IMHO, this is a far worse kind of abuse because these fabrications and obvious extreme biases against Israel, as well as Jews, legitimize attacks and racism against them. IMHO, This is far worse than some bias on CNN. And as for your biases, BBC is biased pro-Palestinian as well, as is obvious from the history of the conflict. For example, when talking about the 6-day war in 1967, they only mention Israeli agression, they don't mention that Egypt blocked Israeli shipping through the straits of Tiran. Just one of many obvious biases.

So, you argue against a news organization that has a different bias from you, but you don't care, or even acknowledge, news organiziations that have the same bias as you.

[ Parent ]

bias (none / 0) (#94)
by felixrayman on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 04:41:32 PM EST

For example, when talking about the 6-day war in 1967, they only mention Israeli agression, they don't mention that Egypt blocked Israeli shipping through the straits of Tiran.

Why don't you mention that Israel also attacked America and killed 34 Americans and wounded 171 during the 1967 war? Are you biased in favor of the Israelis?

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
media (none / 0) (#95)
by hawaii on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 04:54:38 PM EST

The attack on the USS Liberty was one consequence (and I don't deny it) of the 6 day war. It was NOT one of the determining factors that led to the war. However, the Egypts naval blockade against Israeli shipping certainly WAS.

If you're going to say what led to the Israeli pre-emptive strike against the Egyptian armies, it's important to explain WHY Israel felt determined to strike. BBC's history of the middle east DOES NOT indicate this, except as a slight footnote at the end of the section.

Everybody has some bias or not, just some choose to admit it. I admit I'm Jewish (and Buddhist), and am therefore more sympathetic to the history of Israel than most others that only became aware of middle east history after 9/11. Just as most Muslims are probably more sympathetic to the Palestinians. Everybody else more-or-less got swept up in this conflict recently, and probably has their own bias in one way or another. Major news outlets, however, should not represent any particular bias.

That is, I'm not writing histories of the conflict for major news outlets that are SUPPOSED to be unbiased in their journalism!

[ Parent ]

more bias (none / 0) (#96)
by felixrayman on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 05:19:14 PM EST

The attack on the USS Liberty was one consequence (and I don't deny it) of the 6 day war. It was NOT one of the determining factors that led to the war. However, the Egypts naval blockade against Israeli shipping certainly WAS.

The US certainly could have used the USS Liberty attack as an excuse to wage war against Israel if it chose to do so, but it did not because it would not have been in President Johnson's interest to do so (he needed Jewish votes). And Israel could have certainly come up with responses to a naval blockade other than a regional war involving attacks on Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the US. If you believe the blockade of Tiran justified Israel's attack do you also believe the US embargo of Japan justified Pearl Harbor? Israeli military leaders and politicians of the time have said they did not believe Egypt was any threat to Israel and they did not believe Egypt wanted a war.

I'm not writing histories of the conflict for major news outlets that are SUPPOSED to be unbiased in their journalism!

No, you are interpreting every history of the conflict that does not correspond to your own as being 'biased'.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
You're equally the same (none / 0) (#97)
by hawaii on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 06:50:31 PM EST

And Israel could have certainly come up with responses to a naval blockade other than a regional war involving attacks on Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the US. If you believe the blockade of Tiran justified Israel's attack do you also believe the US embargo of Japan justified Pearl Harbor?

If you want to nitpick, the closing of the straits of Tiran was one of many indicators of an impending Arab attack. By not listing any of these indicators of an attack and merely saying Israel struck at Egyptian targets, is a very misleading description of the 6-day war.

And if you're interested, the following events contributed

  • Syrian attacks on the Golan Heights (including 37 attacks in the first four months of 1967 before the 6-day war)
  • large-scale massing of Egyptian troops in the Sinai, along the Israeli border by May 15
  • massing of Syrian troops along the Golan Heights by May 18
  • Nasser ordered the UN Emergency Force, which was stationed in Sinai since 1956, to withdraw on May 16
  • After the withdrawl, it was proclaimed in the Arab World
    As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more. We shall not complain any more to the UN about Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.
  • On May 20, Syrian defense minister Hafez Assad said
    Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united....I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.
  • On May 22, Egypt closed the Straights of Tiran to all Israeli shipping (which is a legal casus belli (sp))
  • A day after the blockade, Nasser said:
    The Jews threaten to make war. I reply: Welcome! We are ready for war.
  • On May 27, Nasser said:
    Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight
  • On May 28 Nasser said:
    We will not accept any...coexistence with Israel...Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel....The war with Israel is in effect since 1948.
  • On May 30, King Hussein of Jordan signed a defense pact with Egypt. Nasser announed:
    The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel...to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations.
  • President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq said, shortly before joining the military alliance on June 4,
    The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear -- to wipe Israel off the map.
  • Approximately 250,000 Arab troops were mobilized, about half in Sinai
  • More than 2000 tanks and 700 aircraft surrounded Israeli borders
  • Israel's pre-emptive strike occurred on June 5
So, all of these factors led to the pre-emptive strike. Any news organization that only says Israel attacked Egyptian and Syrian forces is clearly misleading the public. Your statement of
Israeli military leaders and politicians of the time have said they did not believe Egypt was any threat to Israel and they did not believe Egypt wanted a war.
Is clearly not true, or not as clear cut as you intended.

As far as your concerns regarding the USS Liberty, 10 official United States investigations and 3 Israeli investigations all conclusively established the attack was a mistake, not a deliberate action.

No, you are interpreting every history of the conflict that does not correspond to your own as being 'biased'.

NO you're mistaken. Firstly, I hardly looked at every history of the conflict.

Secondly, I call any description of the conflict that has serious omissions or serious fabrications as being biased, which this BBC history adheres to. Please feel free to post any links to websites documenting the history of the conflict which you personally feel are unbiased.

Finally, if you think CNN or other news outlets are biased, then aren't you guilty of exactly that which you accuse me of?

[ Parent ]

bias (none / 0) (#98)
by felixrayman on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 08:02:31 PM EST

As far as your concerns regarding the USS Liberty, 10 official United States investigations and 3 Israeli investigations all conclusively established the attack was a mistake, not a deliberate action.

A little background from that bastion of anti-Israel sentiment, the Toronto Sun:

"At 0800 hrs, 8 June, 1967, eight Israeli recon flights flew over Liberty, which was flying a large American flag. At 1400, waves of Israeli Mystere and Mirage-III fighter-bombers attacked with rockets, napalm, and cannon, concentrating on the ship's antennae and electronic dishes. Liberty was left afire, listing. Eight of her crew lay dead, 100 wounded, including Commander William McGonagle."

"At 1424, Israeli torpedo boats attacked, raking the burning Liberty with 20 and 40 mm shells. At 1431 a torpedo hit the Liberty amidships, where the signals intelligence systems were located. Twenty-five more Americans died."

"At 1515, the crew were ordered to abandon ship.Israeli warships poured machine-gun fire into the life rafts, sinking two. As American sailors were being massacred, a rescue mission by U.S. Sixth Fleet carrier aircraft was aborted on orders from the White House."

So we have an attack of over an hour duration on a perfectly clear day on a ship flying an American flag and clearly marked as a US ship. The ship was repeatedly overflown by Isreali reconnaisance planes for a period of 6 hours. The investigations you speak of would carry more weight if the US military hadn't ordered the surviving members of the crew to never speak of the incident.

Your statement of Israeli military leaders and politicians of the time have said they did not believe Egypt was any threat to Israel and they did not believe Egypt wanted a war. Is clearly not true, or not as clear cut as you intended.

As I've already posted the relevant quotes in another story, I'll stick to one of the particularly amusing ones, from Moshe Dayan who was defense minister at the time and pretty much single-handedly brought about the war against Syria:

Eighty percent of the incidents worked like this: We would send tractors to plow in an area of little use, in a demilitarized zone, knowing ahead of time that the Syrians would shoot. If they didn't start shooting, we would tell the tractors to advance until the Syrians would get aggravated and start shooting. We used artillery and later the air force became involved." Dayan said of the northern Israeli settlers who eventually moved into the Golan "The Syrians opposite them were soldiers who shot at them, and they certainly didn't like that. But I can say with absolute certainty that the delegation that came to convince [then Israeli prime minister Levi] Eshkol to ascend the Golan did not think about these things. They thought about the land of the Golan. I know what went on. I saw them and I spoke with them. They didn't even try to hide their lust for that soil. That's what guided them." (Boston Globe, May 2, 1997, Israel took Golan out of greed, Dayan says; Ex-defense chief describes tactics of a land grab).

You can find similar quotes by military officials and politicians regarding the attack on Egypt if you have the desire to look for them.

As far as CNN's bias goes, I don't recall questioning anyone's bias but yours, which I think is pretty clear.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
We've gone astray (none / 0) (#116)
by hawaii on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:20:25 PM EST

Okay, I could put down an equal list of items saying why the attack wasn't deliberate (for instance US denying a ship was in the area, the ship going over international wartime speed limit for neutral observer, etc).

It seems that you won't be convinced it was an accidental mistake, and I won't be convinced it was a deliberate attack. Basically, I really don't think Israel is that stupid to intentionally attack a US naval ship.

Let's call a truce regarding these issues, it seems that if we don't we'll spend hours and hours listing fine details and get nowhere. (BTW - is it just me, or is K5 like crack. I mean, if I was as productive in school as I am here, I'd be doing much better in my classes)

But this is way astray from my original point, before you accused me of being biased by not mentioning the Liberty regarding the 6 day war. We're basically bickering about who started what, and whether one attack was deliberate or accidental, etc.

The point of my post a few parents back is that this bias is NOTHING compared to virulent anti-Semitic (or anti-Jewish if you prefer that term) propoganda rampant throughout Arab media. You said people subject to state-controlled propoganda still know it's false. My point was that, in the post that listed many examples of high-ranking public diplomats that are SUPPOSED to show some sort of professional diplomacy, showed their basic belief in these propagandist rumours. If these diplomats believe such things, then you can imagine what the populace thinks.

So, back to my original point, I am bothered by such a disproportionate bias in media from Arab countries. CNN's bias compared to BBC is peanuts compared to these other media. So when people complain of biases, I want to make sure that they understand that there's a bias in the other direction as well, which is more intensive, as well.

[ Parent ]

planning (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by lucid on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 09:20:33 AM EST

You're forgetting something relevent in Western society - the concept of a murder-suicide. Ie, some crazy guy/girl goes on a shooting rampage, and then kills himself/herself. These are called murder- suicide. Note that murder comes first, and also that it's not just referred to as a shooting-suicide or an agressive-suicide.

Suicide-murders are harder to pull off because of all the planning involved. It's just better to do it the other way around, otherwise if something goes wrong, it's all over.

The new usage of homicide-bomber more aptly fits this definition of emphasizing that it's not only a suicide and a bombing, but large acts of homicide as well.

Irrelevant semantics are doubleplus good. Was anyone really unaware that suicide bombers were killing other people, too? Were the headlines too subtle to convey this adequately?

Why do we need what is readily apparent "emphasized?" More importantly, how will this bring the dead people back? Hot air and meaningless redefinitions of well-defined terms only serve to give the impression that the ship is well-manned and on course, but this changes nothing. If you wanna change the world, shut your mouth and start to spin it.

"Homicidal bombers" is certainly not redundant, as not all bombs are aimed at killing. There are people that blow up dams, people that blow up cars (when there's nobody in them) to scare people (happened to my friend's who's father is a politician in Cyprus).

Sure, bombs don't kill people, homicide kills people. But that's really beside the point. People blow up all sorts of silly things without killing anybody at all. Some bombs go unnoticed for years.

Your comment about Kamikaze's is ridiculous. Usually history books refer to them as Kamikaze pilots, after the initial definition is made. They're not repeatedly referred to as suicide missions. This definition of Kamikaze usually includes the word suicide (see merriam/webster for instance) but also includes the word attack. Kamikaze's were used in the midst of declared warfare between nations at war with each other. In war it is obvious that the aim of any attack is to maximize casualties/damage on the other side.

That's nice, but I guess if you don't have a country, you can't declare war on anyone. What's a Palestinian to do?


[ Parent ]

War of words (2.50 / 2) (#72)
by muttonhead on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:34:45 PM EST

Let's have a discussion of the meta meaning of these words, rather than the words themselves.

The war of words is really where the battle is being fought -- especially in America which stands alone in Israeli support at this point -- and when a discussion like this debates word meanings attributed to Arafat's followers, the Israelis win because whether the term is 'suicide bombers' or 'homicide bombers,' our minds are still bathed in the association: Palestinians=Bad.

Listening to the media today I hear commentators talking about the old term vs. the new term. The deck is stacked against the Palestinians like this. If you want to hear about the Israeli atrocities you have to go to alternative sources, like Democracy Now or Z-Mag.

If mainstream media spent as much time reporting on Israeli atrocities, the American taxpayers funding the Israeli military would end such support and the Israelis would have to leave the occupied land.

There is terror on both sides. It's not so much that one side is right and wrong, but the imbalance in reporting is what bothers me. We should pay attention to how much time we spend debating something referring to one side while the other side escapes discussion!

What would Palestine gain if they win: the Palestinian land.
What would Israel gain if they win: the Palestinian land. The remaining 22% of it.

RE: War of words (2.66 / 3) (#76)
by fremiste on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:10:55 PM EST

So what should Israel do? Give all the land to the Arabs like the PLO desires. If you beleive the Palestinians want their own state and not all of Israel, you haven't been paying very close attention to Mid-East politics since the 1940s. Oh, yeah, seem like your mind is already made up when you are reading websites that are either pro-arab or Arab apologists.

Have you considered many of the terms used in the press are pro-Arab biased? For example, calling the West Bank "occupied territories" is very biased. Doubtful that you notice or care.The Mexicans would have more justification calling Texas and California occupied territories. Jordan _attacked_ Isreal in 1967. Israel counterattacked and claimed the West Bank. If Jordan didn't attack, the West Bank would still be in Palestinian control. Don't believe Jordan attacked? Read the Jordanian government's official website about the 1967 war.

What I really don't understand is why such love of the Palestinians. When Jordanians, Lebanese Phalangists, or Syrians kill Palestinian, no one seems to care. And when the Palestinians kill their own who they accuse as being conspirators with Israel, again, no one cares. So do you just hate Jews? If you answer in the afirmative, I'd understand. If you really have no hate for Jews, then I'm at a loss.

[ Parent ]

anti-semitism.. (2.25 / 4) (#82)
by goatse on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:28:21 PM EST

..is a solid part of anti-israeli sentement world wide. The Arab case has always been based in a fundamentally anti-jewish world view, ie.e Musslems should be in charage and Jews should pay higher taxes. It says so in the Koran. When the rest of the world dose not like something Israel is doing, it is only natural for them to adopt the anti-semetic views of the loudest anti-Israeli voices.

Personally, I think the Israelis and the Palistinians just need to fight for a while. We have all been doing too much to keep them from killing one another when its obviously what both sides want to be doing. Yes, I know the Israelis did not always want to kill Palistinians, but year after year of school busses exploding changed that. At this point it would be wrong for us to stop the fighting. It will not take long for the Israelis to descided that peace is preferable, kick Sharon out, and offer the Palistinians a reasonable ammount of land. I just hope that the war goes on long enough to make the Palistinians sick of war too, otherwize it will all start over again.


[ Parent ]
So now (none / 0) (#86)
by Robert S Gormley on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 04:27:36 AM EST

We're somehow wrong because we're dealing with one wrong which is being perpetrated in massive proportions in front of us, rather than having dealt with others?

Is this some twisted version of two wrongs making a right?

[ Parent ]

I will use "sucide-bomber" thank you (5.00 / 3) (#75)
by peace on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:58:23 PM EST

What we are really refering to when we describe the Palestinians at least are "martyr-bombers". The concept of a "martyr" is very deep in the Arab psyche. The bombers that we hear about in Israel do not have the end intent of killing people and themselves, they have a larger objective that they subscribe to and they are willing to not only die for but kill themselves for. But martyr-bomber is not something that really resonates with my own Western psyche and, for me, suicide-bomber caries the political message that needs to be preserved.

I understand precisly what someone means when they mention a suicide-bomber. I do not know what a homocide-bomber is. Perhaps people who use the term should explain what it is and how it differs from a suicide-bomber. The explanations I have seen in this thread are weak. The only conclusion I can draw is that the US administration is trying to shift public opinion, not through honest and open descusion but by manipulating the language people use. But then thats no surprise.

Kind Regards

Martyrdom and the Western psyche....slightly O.T. (5.00 / 4) (#78)
by coillte on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:31:02 PM EST

I'd hazard that the concept and resonance of martyrdom has no allegiance to either Western or Eastern psyches per se.

It's resonance is not necessarily a cultural one, I think, but one born from the situation and conditions one finds oneself in. To put it sucinctly, largely, in the West, we have few causes which are likely to necessitate, provoke, or cause martyrdom. We have very few causes to die for. Which, I think, is a damn fine thing in the context.

In Europe we have had martyrs in a variety of dirrerent times, regions, and situations. And for their particular causes, that resonace is applicable.

Emily Wilding Davison in the Uk, who died for universal suffrage. A conscious act of martyrdom, whatever one thinks of it, and one not lost on either her cohorts or opponents. Northern Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands, starved himself to death in prison. A Northern Irish republican martyr.

In the current situation, the international civillian observers acting as human shields in Palestine. Within the cohorts of their supporters, both Western and Eastern, is the psychology of martyrdom present enough in both cultures to bequeth them that status should they die? Perhaps not amongst the general populace, but amongst their most ardent supporters, most certainly, regardless of their geogrraphical location.

None of this, of course, can be construed as any kind of support for suicide bombing.


"XVI The Blasted Tower. Here is purification through fire,lightning, flames, war...the eye is the eye of Shiva... the serpent on the right is the symbol of the active will to live,the dove on the left is passive resignation to death"
[ Parent ]

Emily Wilding Davison (none / 0) (#84)
by FattMattP on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 08:28:23 PM EST

Emily Wilding Davison in the Uk, who died for universal suffrage.
I followed the link and read. I don't see how she died for universal suffrage. I see someone who threw themselves in front of a horse for no apparent reason. Killing yourself for your cause only does one thing. It removes any ability for you to try and make a difference. Killing one self seems rather cowardly, in my opinion.

[ Parent ]
More on Martyrdom and culture (none / 0) (#88)
by peace on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 09:48:48 AM EST

The thing about comparing cultures is that the more we learn about "other people" the more we find we have in common. I'm not suggesting that there is a chasm between the Arab definition of a martyr and the "Western" definition. It is unlikely that one cuture is going to have an aspect of their cultural identity that is entirely exclusive. We are all human, and it is, after all, a small planet.

But I don't think it is useful to completely blur regional and historical cultural shades of grey. I do believe that the so caled "Arab world" has a deeper, more present and more personal sense of martyrdom than anyone in the West. It seems that the idea of martyrdom is bandied about like patriotism in the middle-east. The soldiers of our Armed forces do not join thinking that the highest honor would be to die for "the cause".

I think that this descusion highlights the mostly political but also cultural differences I am refering to. the so called "Arab world" would never call them "homocide-bombers".

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Of course it's more than just suicide (none / 0) (#99)
by fr2ty on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 09:55:28 PM EST

The one thing that strikes me about those psycho killings is the sickness. How sick, how far out of human life are those people?

I think the term "homicide bomber" is not only a euphemism but a kick in the face of the suffering people those poor men and women think they die for. Don't think that I support the killing of innocent people.

But the term makes the whole thing look less insane, less sad. Take away the sickness of the act, and it remains just evil.

Manipulation business, all the way. But, hey, Mr. Fleischer's job is to communicate the products of his employee.
Happens to be what actions of the Govt. of the USofA?
--
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
calling a spade a spade (4.66 / 3) (#80)
by coillte on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:59:47 PM EST

Personally speaking, I have no conceptual or practical problem with the term homicidal bomber. It seems to suit the act adequately. It's a bombing. It's homicidal.

However, it does lack specificity. It may allow us to confuse acts which are, in some sense, different from one another.

Specifically homicidal bombing in which the delivery system is not human, and in which the perpetrator does not die. It's still a bombing. It's still homicidal.

The term homicidal bombing also differentiates between the concepts of a bombing within the confines of the rules of war, and a bombing in contravention of those rules. Specifically a terrorist bombing.

Again, this I have no problem with. It is a useful, and pragmatic differentiation.

It also allows us to differentiate between, say, bombing targeting solely infrastructure - either as terrorist activity, or as a part of a "civilised conflict" as it were.

What we particularly have to be aware of, re the possible propagandaistic usages of the term, is not the term itself. It does not appear to be innaccurate, but to whom, and where, it is applied.

It would not, I feel, be particularly just to term only suicide bombers, homicidal bombers. If the term is employed, let us use it for what it means - those bombings here either the intent, or arguable, also the unintended result, are homicide.

We may well find that the prevelance of strictly defined murder on all sides of the conflict is brought into sharp relief by something as simple as the correct use of language. Let us call murder, murder.
"XVI The Blasted Tower. Here is purification through fire,lightning, flames, war...the eye is the eye of Shiva... the serpent on the right is the symbol of the active will to live,the dove on the left is passive resignation to death"
No difference to any killing bomb (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by fr2ty on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 10:59:06 PM EST

Any bombing that kills people would be homicidal bombing. It's the motivation for almost every bomb, to kill people.

The suicidal bomber kills himself too. Dresden, Hiroshima, Coventry, Pearl Harbour, thousands of homicidal bombs. You wouldn't call Kamikaze just "guided bombing", wouldn't you?
--
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
Agreed, it's "Jewicide bomber" (2.00 / 1) (#83)
by KWillets on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 07:05:02 PM EST

Actually I found some google hits for "Jewicide", but nothing combined with "bomber". The Israelis were actually referring to some policy or another as "committing Jewicide".

been there, done that (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by ethereal on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:15:43 PM EST

It's just like "illegal immigrants" became "undocumented workers" a few months back - how did that happen? And it happened in all of the media at once. Makes you wonder who or what's behind these sudden swings in the media's representation of certain issues.

Back on topic: I find suicide bombers to be scarier than homicide bombers. I'd be more worried if someone wanted to kill me so badly that they were willing to die for that cause. A homicide bomber is just Timothy McVeigh - full of anger, but not willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. I'd be more worried about people who think they have nothing to lose...

--

Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the

France (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by The Shrubber on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:48:07 PM EST

i feel pretty evil for saying this, but i've always liked how the French call them "kamikaze", il y avait un attentat... something something le kamikahz (how my American ears hear it) blah blah blah. sigh... death anyway.

nice parody site (none / 0) (#107)
by danny on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:14:53 AM EST

Check out Al-Bassaleh - it's a parody newspaper (Onion-style) just about the Palestinian intifada.

Personally I think "homicidal bomber" is a bit redundant - but perhaps we could use the term "homicidal army" for the IDF as well? And "terrorist bulldozers" has a certain ring to it...

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]

Terms (none / 0) (#114)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:43:00 AM EST

I find "suicide" bomber to be scarier than "homicide". It implies they he hates you so much he's willing to die to take you out. It also make one wonder if you CAN negociate with them, since they're so willing to throw their lives away.
Information wants to be beer.
Tamil Tigers? (none / 0) (#118)
by Mzilikazi on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:32:37 PM EST

They're the only other separatist group in the world that uses suicide bombers (and are not to my knowledge connected to the Palestinians or any other Muslim group, since they're Hindu), which is what everyone in the English-speaking press refers to them as. A quick article from the BBC for those not familiar with the Tigers (the side bars contain useful timelines and background info on the key players for more in-depth information):

Tamil Tigers: A fearsome force

A Google search for "Tamil Tigers" and "homicide bombers" turned up nothing, but perhaps someone from Sri Lanka or South India can respond here with other terms used in the region or translations of specific non-English terms for the suicide bombers.

Cheers,
Mzilikazi

"Suicidal" vs. "Homicidal" bombers | 120 comments (112 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!