On The Shortage Of Experienced Suicide Bombers

Suicide bombing is dying out because it doesn’t work – probably because all humans have a wired-in sense of fairness.

Suicide bombing shouldn’t be confused with fighting to the death. The latter is integral to the Hawk fighting strategy, and is highly successful – if your opponent thinks you’re ready to die fighting, he may decide to concede.

But the suicide bomber doesn’t offer his (or her) opponents the chance of concession, and has no hope of survival. So from an evolutionary standpoint, the tactic is a dead end.

Here’s the record (my ellipsis and subheads):

Tamil Tigers

The Tamil separatists of Sri Lanka (the LTTE) pioneered the modern use of suicide bombers over twenty years ago.

The LTTE is now being defeated, partly by an enraged Sri Lankan population, and partly dissension and demoralization within their own (presumably much reduced) ranks.


Hizbollah was the next to pick up on suicide bombers. While Hizbollah claims to represent the Shia minority in Lebanon, it has brought itself increasing resistance from the majority of Lebanese by acting in support for foreign nations.

Actually, Hizbollah has largely abandoned suicide bombing, apparently noting the downside of the tactic.


Palestinian terrorists adopted the use of suicide bombing against Israel in 2000.

The Israelis eventually developed tactics that defeated this weapon.

The Palestinian attacks destroyed the substantial support within Israel for a Palestinian peace deal, and increased support for stronger measures against Palestinian terrorism.

Al Qaeda Iraq

Al Qaeda also adopted suicide bomber tactics, particularly in Iraq.

This turned out to be a major error. So many Muslims were killed, particularly women and children, that Arab public opinion turned against al Qaeda.

Even Sunni Arabs in Iraq have been fighting al Qaeda, despite the fact that al Qaeda is committing all this mayhem in the name of Sunni Arabs.

Al Qaeda Pakistan

Al Qaeda began using suicide bombers in Pakistan four years ago, and were promptly taken apart by an enraged Pakistani government, with much public support.

Al Qaeda Afghanistan

In the last six months there have been nearly 80 suicide bombing attacks in Afghanistan, over fifty percent more than in the previous six months. This campaign has been even less successful than previous ones…

Meanwhile, most of the victims are Afghan civilians. Naturally, Afghans see these foreigners (Afghans are difficult to recruit as suicide bombers) as murderers who do not have Afghan interests at heart.


Suicide bombing is described as a weapon of the weak. What it cannot be described as is a weapon of the victorious.

The piece omits the London and Madrid bombings, which caused massive damage to the Muslim communities in both nations.

Or 9/11, which rendered Islam toxic in the US, and ensured the Muslim oil weapon will be blunted much sooner than otherwise.

All of which suggests that the evolutionary biologists are right – our brains really are wired with a sense of fairness.


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