It also is clear that Islamist leaders have little or no fear that news of the death or capture of senior operatives will undermine the morale of their fighters or curtail funding or other forms of aid from their supporters. Neither al-Qaeda, the Chechen insurgents, nor al-Qaeda in Iraq nor Saudi Arabia has tried to hide the death of prominent members. The Islamist leaders appear to believe that “martyrs are recruiters, too,” and at times have used the death of a leader to make light of the success of their foes. When al-Muqrin was killed in a gunfight with Saudi police, for example, al-Qaeda quickly used the internet to announce his death, name his successor, and describe the successorâ€™s qualifications.
Ulrich then throatclears, without making any judgments:
He emphasizes, though, that the killing of such figures is still useful.
The plain reading being, of course, that if we fight them we only make them mad. (think Mongo)
From CNN, a non-Islamist terrorist’s view:
Nelly Avila Moreno, 45, whose nom de guerre was Karina, said she and her longtime male companion made the decision jointly to abandon the FARC group, based in the jungle, at 5 a.m. Sunday.
She said pressure from Colombian soldiers had been key to their decision, and she called on her fellow rebels to follow her example.
“I invite them to change the sensibility that is among the guerrillas,” she said, seated by her companion, who said nothing during the news conference.
She also had a message for the Colombian people: “It is important to do something for peace in Colombia, and that need to do something is precisely one of my motivations.”
After 24 years with the FARC, Karina said she wants to reintegrate with society. “At this moment, what I am thinking about is reuniting with my family and with all of society,” she said.
Karina said she had had no contact with the group’s leaders for the past two years. During that time, she said, “I was trying to stay alive.”
Now, FARC isn’t Al Quaeda or one of its offshoots, and the values of Islam certainly matter (there’s my throatclearing). But I’d love to hear from Scheuer or from Ulrich that they are serious that military pressure and constant fear of death or capture don’t demoralize – rather than incent – terrorists as much as they would, say hero-worshipping Kentucky residents.
We have our own hero-myths as well, and one of the great cultural schisms is between those who honor them and those who don’t. I tend to think that those who don’t tend to be of the “you’ll just make them angry/bold/whatever” school of thought.
I’m reminded of someone who restated the Three Laws of Thermodynamics:
You can’t win…
You can’t break even…
You have to play…