Are al-Qa’ida and the Taliban driven by the desire to help others?

John Rentoul

9 11 c 300x192 Are al Qaida and the Taliban driven by the desire to help others?A worthy entry at number 602 in the chart of Questions to Which the Answer is No is supplied by Aditya Chakrabortty at The Guardian.

It is actually an interesting article about research by psychologists and economists into the motivations of suicide bombers. Although it is spoiled by Chakrabortty’s apparent endorsement of the facile conclusions one of the researchers, Eli Berman:

Rather than winning hearts and minds, Berman suggests western powers should always have been focused on providing sewage and schools. Rather than occupying territory, the logical conclusion of his work is that foreign governments should have restricted themselves to supporting aid and development projects carried out by NGOs.

If only democratic governments had thought of that.

Thank you to Dan Hodges.

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  • Lord Bigglesworth

    I’ll take a stab at these

    #1 In so far as making them secular, yes.

    #2 I’m sure Thucydides has something to say about this.

    #3 I think he’s an academic, but aren’t we all in this day and age.

  • stonedwolf

    Q – Why would Christians and Jews care about making Muslims secular.

    A – The happenstance of oil.

  • Lord Bigglesworth

    I’ll meet you halfway

    A2 – Oil and the desire of the secular west to make the entire world secular without asking.

  • stonedwolf

    Nope. No oil, no desire.

    The “greatest mineral prize in human history”, as the US State Department
    once incautiously called it, is an overwhelming level of motivation.

  • Lord Bigglesworth

    You make it sound like economic motivation is the only reason the west does anything.

  • stonedwolf

    It is. It’s just the apologists who project their own motivations onto
    western terror. I mean power.

  • Lord Bigglesworth

    I see. Just out of curiosity, do you suppose the Arabs do things purely for economic reasons as well?

  • stonedwolf

    By “the Arabs” do you mean Arab governments? If so, then yes, their prime
    motivation is self-interest, not altruism.

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