Suicide bombers are dumb

A heartening graf about suicide bombers in Afghanistan:

Nowhere is the gap between sinister stereotype and ridiculous reality more apparent than in Afghanistan, where it’s fair to say that the Taliban employ the world’s worst suicide bombers: one in two manages to kill only himself. And this success rate hasn’t improved at all in the five years they’ve been using suicide bombers, despite the experience of hundreds of attacks—or attempted attacks. In Afghanistan, as in many cultures, a manly embrace is a time-honored tradition for warriors before they go off to face death. Thus, many suicide bombers never even make it out of their training camp or safe house, as the pressure from these group hugs triggers the explosives in suicide vests. According to several sources at the United Nations, as many as six would-be suicide bombers died last July after one such embrace in Paktika.

Training suicide bombers would seem to be a tricky proposition because you’re already dealing with people who think it makes sense to blow themselves up. And who won’t get the chance to learn from their mistakes. And for whom the result will be the same whether they screw it up or not.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

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