As we have discovered in our research on Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, suicide terrorist campaigns are almost always a last resort against foreign military occupation. Chechnya is a powerful demonstration of this phenomenon at work.
A good thing that Pape and co-authors Lindsey O’Rourke and Jenna McDermit mentioned the West Bank. But given the centrality of the Palestinian suicide bomber in western demonology–Thomas Friedman (and numerous other friends of Israel) justified the Iraq war on that basis–Pape’s point surely deserves elaboration. If you look through Bob Pape’s website at the University of Chicago, you will find numerous articles that describe suicide terrorism by Palestinians as a response to occupation. Here, for instance, is Pape in Turkey’s newspaper, Zaman, saying that the first Palestinian suicide terrorists followed 20 years of occupation.
The Times has had Pape write often in the last few years, including this important piece in ’03, saying suicide terror is not about Islam, the Tamil Tigers have used it more than anyone. But the Times has never had him directly address the issue of the Israeli occupation and what he routinely terms "Palestinian resistance versus Israel." Why not? Its readers deserve that insight.