John Andrews: "Sociology of Jihad"
I don't think that I'd ever heard of The Counter Terrorist Magazine even though I've done a bit of digging around on the issue of terrorism, but I came across an interesting article by a former CIA agent, John Andrews, that had been published in this magazine last summer.
Here's the magazine's self-description:
With a reputation forged by hard work and determination to empower Homeland Security warriors, Security Solutions International is proud to offer The Counter Terrorist magazine.I don't know much about Security Solutions International either, but their words sound pretty hardbitten, as though they consider themselves the Sam Spades of anti-terrorists.
Anyway, the article by John Andrews is titled "The Sociology of Jihad: How Rational People Commit Atrocities," and it appeared in the July/August issue of The Counter Terrorist Magazine. I call attention to it because it makes a remark about jihadist motivation for committing acts of terror that reminds me of my reading of the 'suicide note' left behind by the 9/11 terrorists:
Positive emotions motivate people to carry out horrific acts more easily than negative emotions. Killing in defense of family, friends or country is acceptable and encouraged. Perhaps the 9/11 perpetrators carried out their horrendous actions out of in-group love rather than out-of-group hate. (Andrews, "Sociology of Jihad," The Counter Terrorist, page 29)Andrews concludes about suicide bombers:
These people are not raving maniacs. We must go beyond calling them terrorists and examine their ideology. They do not perform these acts in a vacuum. They are building a society and will use any means to achieve it. They do so not because they are sociopaths who hate people, but because they are true believers who want to save people. And so we are continually surprised when they turn out to be nice guys after all. (Andrews, "Sociology of Jihad," The Counter Terrorist, page 32)The "nice guys" remark is a reference to what everybody seems to say about these terrorists after they've blown themselves and others up in a suicide attack, that were such "nice guys." I don't think that most people who encountered Mohamed Atta thought of him as a nice guy, but a lot of these terrorists seem to have been considered as such.
You can read the Andrews article in full in pdf format online.