Saturday, July 16, 2005

They Were Not Depressed - They Were Murderers

Over at Powerline, John Hinderaker referred to a quote from this article in The Sun Online:
There is also speculation the four bombers were DUPED into carrying their bombs without realising they would explode while still in their possession. Sir Ian admitted it was “puzzling” that the gang were carrying personal identity documents. The bombers had also bought a pay-and-display ticket for their hire car at Luton Railway Station. One security source said: “It is odd that they bought that parking ticket — not what you would do if you knew you were about to die. There is a slim possibility they were set up — the bombs primed to go off earlier than they expected.”

Hinderaker added his response to this suggestion:
Seems highly unlikely. On the other hand, there were reports that most of the September 11 terrorists didn't know that they were on a suicide mission.

I agree that it seems unlikely. What seems more likely is that they were trying to appear normal in order to complete their murderous attacks. If one of them had been stopped on the way to the Underground, a young Muslim man wearing a backpack and possessing no identification might invite further inquiry. They would have purchased the parking ticket for the same reason.

There is a flaw in the analysis by Sir Ian and the unnamed security source. They assume that a terrorist willing to himself up in order to maim and kill would behave like someone who is depressed and suicidal. The London terrorists weren't suicidal. They were carrying out a plan. They weren't thinking, "Oh, why bother. I'll be dead soon anyway." They were thinking, "What must I do to make sure I complete my mission." They were not victims. They were cold, calculating murderers.

Hinderaker pointed out, that most of the September 11th terrorists were unaware they were on a suicide mission. (I think it is more likely that they didn't know most of the details of the plan for operational security reasons.) However, after September 11th, it's hard to believe that any terrorist could be that naive.