Is Suicide Bombing Wrong?
Is It Any Different?

by James Glaser
February 15, 2006

I'm an American, and love my country, but I do feel that all the killing of innocent people we do isn't any different than what suicide bombers do. Oh you can say we are not trying to kill innocent civilians, but that is no longer true. In each and every war we have been in for the last 60 years we have been killing innocent civilians by the thousands. In those sixty years we have not come up with a way not to kill them, and we keep right on doing it year after year, war after war. Americans have killed way more civilians in both Iraq and Afghanistan, than all of the suicide bombers we put on the front page of our newspapers.. Toward the end of this column are a couple of reports that tell about the kind of bombs we use, and we use those bombs in civilian areas. When you bomb civilian areas, like cities, you kill civilians

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States Prince Turki al-Faisel, told the Council on Foreign Relations that suicide attacks by Palestinian groups against Israel were "legitimate means of war under occupation."

Many of the groups attacking our troops in Iraq feel that the American military is an army of occupation in their country, so you would have to think that al Faisel would condone the suicide bombings there too.

That makes me think about what we would do in this country if some foreign power was in control of our lives here at home. It is hard to imagine any country having the ability to control us, because as large as our military is, we haven't been able to take control of Iraq, and Iraq has 1/12th our population and the whole country is about the size of California. To have any chance of taking control of America a foreign power would have to place about two million troops here.

That isn't going to happen, but if Americans were put in the same position as the Iraqis or Palestinians are, would we resort to suicide bombing in defense of our country and way of life? I think so. When any person is pushed hard enough, they will resort to anything to strike back.

Some people might say that on moral grounds Americans would never resort to suicide tactics, but frankly on moral grounds we don't have a leg to stand on. In the last 60 years no nation has come close to the number of innocent deaths the United States has caused in wars all over this globe.

In war after war, we continue to take out thousands of innocent men, women, and children. In war after war we claim that we make every effort to reduce the number of innocent people we maim and kill, but that maiming and killing never stops. It is part of modern warfare.

Going in, be it Iraq, Afghanistan, or Bosnia we know we are going to have a lot of blood on our hands, but we blow that thought off, and attack anyway. Then when resistance to our forces start using suicide bombers as a tactic, we start telling the world how horrible those attacks are. Just a few months ago, President Bush admitted the killing of about 30,000 innocent Iraqis, and as horrible as suicide bombings look and sound, their death toll is a fraction of what we kill in attacking any country.

Americans have no concept of what our air power can do to a population in a very short time frame. We rain down indiscriminate death on any populated area we attack. Baghdad and Fallujah were both large metropolitan areas that we bombed. America's pinpoint accuracy is only as pin-point our intelligence, and our intelligence has not been very intelligent.

The amount of explosives any suicide bomber can carry is really nothing when compared to one of our two thousand pound bombs, and we can drop those in multiple numbers on any target.

WASHINGTON—It will fall silently and unseen from the distant sky, a cigar-shaped steel capsule hurtling down at 300 mph with a single deadly purpose. In the final moments, there might come a brief, chilling whir as tiny gears adjust its tail fins to nudge it closer to its target.

At home, television viewers monitoring the war with Iraq will see the familiar gun-camera footage: cross hairs on a blurred image of a building and, as a Pentagon officer narrates, the flicker of a shadow and a bright flash before the tape runs out.

On the ground, however, the work of the 2,000-pound Mark-84 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bomb, the new workhorse of the U.S. military, is just beginning. In nanoseconds it will release a crushing shock wave and shower jagged, white-hot metal fragments at supersonic speed, shredding flesh, crushing cells, rupturing lungs, bursting sinus cavities and ripping away limbs in a maelstrom of destruction.

These and other effects, calculated and charted by Defense Department war planners in a predictive software program called "Bug Splat," are largely obscured by smoke and debris.

But they may become a critical factor if the United States goes into a controversial war with Iraq. While the Pentagon's war plan is designed to minimize casualties, the inevitable civilian dead and wounded are sure to be seized on by opponents, particularly in the Arab world, as evidence of American perfidy.

The simple fact, says Dr. Harry W. Severance, an emergency physician and associate clinical professor at the Duke University Trauma Center, is that weapons like JDAM are designed to kill.

Then there are our cluster bombs

Varieties of
Cluster Bombs

The bomblets in the CBU-52 are softball-sized and are intended primarily to shred and dismember human bodies. The dispenser holds 220 of the bomblets and can be used against both people and light-skinned vehicles.

This cluster bomb is also used to butcher human bodies and destroy light skinned military or civilian vehicles. The dispenser holds 650 baseball-sized bomblets to be dispersed indiscriminately over a wide area.

CBU-59B Rockeye II
A newer version of the MK-20 Rockeye cluster bomb, the CBU 59 is used against both modern armor and human bodies. Rockeye II and the older Rockeye I are dart shaped bomblets with a small fuze in the pointed end of each bomblet. The CBU-59 dispenser holds about 700 bomblets.

The CBU-71/B is very similar to the CBU-58, carrying 650 baseball-sized bomblets. The CBU-71 bomblets have what the U.S. authorities call "a random delay fuzing option."

Translation: these cluster bombs are used as land mines which will explode by themselves at random times to terrorize a local population.

CBU-72 Fuel Air Explosive
This cluster bomb is different from all the others. It's an extremely destructive incendiary bomb, rather than a shrapnel bomb, sometimes compared to a mini-nuke.

It's used to detonate minefields, to destroy aircraft parked in the open - and also to burn the occupants alive in armored vehicles, and to burn alive or suffocate people taking shelter in bunkers or over demolished city areas where people may be hiding in basements and rubble.

The bomb is made up of three separate bomblets dispensing an aerosol fuel cloud across the target area. As the fuel cloud descends to the ground it is ignited by an embedded detonator to produce what the U.S. military calls "an impressive explosion," which sucks out all the oxygen over an extended area.

The rapidly expanding wave front due to overpressure flattens all objects and burns all people alive within close proximity of the epicenter of the aerosol fuel cloud. It also produces "debilitating damage" well beyond the flattened area from oxygen deprivation.

Fuel air bombs also can be used as asphixiation weapons, without being exploded, but this is in violation of international treaties.

CBU-87 CEM Combined Effects Munition
According to the "Jane's Air-Launched Weapons" directory, the U.S.-made CBU-87 "combined effects munition" is a "free-fall cluster bomb" composed of 202 "multi-purpose bomblets." Each bomblet is capable of penetrating up to 177 mm (seven inches) of armor and has fire-starting capabilities as well.

The CEM dispenses the 202 bomblets over an area of 800 feet by 400 feet.

The U.S. calls it "an area denial cluster weapon."

Translation from military-speak: the bomblets create an 800 by 400 foot mine field.

This cluster bomb is intended to destroy both lightly armored vehicles and human beings.

The CBU-87 was used extensively during the Desert Storm terror campaign.

The "GATOR" family of scatterable mines is another favorite body-butchering weapon used by "fighter aircrews." The dispenser holds 72 anti-armor mines and 22 anti-personnel mines. These mines arm immediately upon impact.

The GATOR has two integrated "kill mechanisms," a magnetic influence fuze to sense armor, and deployed trip wires that explode the bomb when adults, children or an animal walks on or disturbs them.

Another feature of the GATOR is the "random delay function" detonating over several days for "highly effective area denial and harassment operations."

Translation: these weapons are highly effective for the terrorization of human beings.

CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon
This "cosmic cluster munition" combines 10 bomblets with 4 "skeet type" warheads in a single dispenser, providing 40 weapons total. After release, a fuze causes the dispenser to disperse the 10 bomblets, each stabilized by a parachute.

At a preset altitude a rocket fires, propelling the bomblet in an upward vector. As the bomblet climbs, it is spun to disperse the 4 internal skeet warheads randomly by centrifugal force.

An infrared sensor in each warhead searches for a motorized vehicle or living being, and upon discovery detonates over it, firing a "kinetic fragment." The fragment drives itself through the lightly armored top of the vehicle - or warm blooded animal or human.

If no isolated victim is found, the sensor detonates the warhead above ground to spray the battlefield - or the village - with a myriad of lethal fragments.

This American weapon is very effective against armor and human bodies, covering a 4,800 square yard area.

CBU-97/B Sensor Fuzed Weapon
The CBU-97/B cluster bomb was used in the American/NATO terror campaign of 1999 to kill civilian people all over Yugoslavia. For example, this is probably the model that slaughtered the old men and women doing their shopping on the market street in the town of Nis.

This cluster bomb destroys armored vehicles like tanks, and can spray a "battlefield" (read: market square) with metal fragments, making it lethal against people and other "soft" targets. Like horses, cows, sheep and family pets.

According to Jane's Defense Weekly, which predicted its use in early April 1999 (by which time it had already been used), each sensor fuzed weapon carries forty SKEET warheads that use infrared sensors to home in on armored vehicles and people.

Each warhead is a copper-plated, 1 kg Explosively-Formed Projectile that spins at 1,600 rpm. The SFW can be dropped from 200 to 20,000 feet from B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, as well as from A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft and F-15 and F-16 fighters. The SFW can cover an area the size of about 12 football fields (or 6 hectares).

A B-1B bomber can carry 30 SFWs, or 1200 individual cluster bombs, with the potential to blanket a populated area equal to 360 football fields.

Five B-1B Lancer bombers were deployed on April 1, 1999, at RAF Fairford, England, and used to terrorize the civilian men, women and children of Yugoslavia.

The A-10 Warthog and F-16 can be fitted with four SFWs. At the beginning of April, only the B-1B had been "certified" for using the SFW, which suggests that any other aircraft using the weapon was conducting experiments in the so-called "combat" situations.

MK-20 Rockeye
The Rockeye is a clamshell-shaped dispenser holding 247 dart-shaped bomblets. The bomblets free fall over a 3,300 square yard area and detonate on impact. The shaped warhead charge in the bomblet is intended for use against armor and people.

We are not making bombs to avoid civilians, we are making bombs to kill and maim, and if civilians are in the way, well we regret that, and we regret that real often.

The only difference between our munitions and those of a suicide bomber, is that our bombs are much more powerful, and we have learned how to keep our bombers from dying, so we can use them again and again. Technology is our strong point, and we have developed many weapons to kill with. Suicide bombers are very low tech, and those willing to deliver the bomb, only get to make one attack. In the end, the high tech weapon and the low tech weapon are both used to kill and maim. Our high tech weapons just do a better job of it.

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