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Boot v Pape on Suicide Bombing

Read Max Boot’s devastating critique of Robert Pape’s flawed methodology and conclusions, on the subject of suicide bombing, in the Weekly Standard:

Robert A. Pape, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, who made a big splash with Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (2005). He began with a sweeping claim to scientific certitude, informing readers, “I have compiled a database of every suicide bombing and attack around the globe from 1980 through 2003—315 attacks in all.” And what did all those numbers prove? That “there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. .  .  . Rather what nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland.”

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