There are, to put it mildly, a lot of problems with Robert Pape’s op-ed. As his colleagues have already pointed out (see American Political Science Review, Volume 102, Issue 02, May 2008, pp 269-273), he only samples suicide attacks in his research, making it impossible to assess the motivations of wider, mixed-tactics terrorist campaigns. (For instance, Pape’s calculus would ignore the first of yesterday’s two bombings in Dagestan, on the grounds that the first attack involved a remote car bomb – not a suicide explosion.) Even if Pape is correct that the individuals who strap themselves to bombs indeed operate under non-religious imperatives, we can hardly conclude that the support networks enabling these attacks would be possible without the role of religious extremism.
More than anything, reading “What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?” demonstrates the author’s weak grasp of Russian and Chechen history.
Response to Robert Pape's NYT Op-Ed « A Good Treaty