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Kamikazes and Islamic martyrs

By Alan Caruba
web posted March 4, 2002

In World War II, among the most feared of the enemy were the Japanese kamikaze pilots who attacked the US naval forces, flinging themselves and their planes at aircraft carriers and other ships. They embraced their own death as an instrument of war.

If you have seen the film, "Patton", you may recall the wonderful opening speech in which he tells his troops, "Your job is not to die for your country, but to make the other poor bastard die for his." This is a quintessential American point of view. We celebrate heroics, but we want our heroes to return home alive. There is no death wish in the American spirit, but no lack of will to inflict this punishment on our enemies.

Contrast that with the way the Palestinians continue to wage a relentless war on the Israelis. Their heroes are the men who have killed, not soldiers, but teenagers outside a dance hall or mothers and their children at a pizza restaurant. They kill the old, the young, and often they do it by killing themselves in the process.

Now they have a new hero or to be more precise, a heroine. She is Wafa Idris and she has been catapulted to rock star status throughout the Middle East for having killed herself in the process of becoming the first female terrorist bomber.

Here's what the Egyptian Islamist weekly, Al-Sha'ab, had to say about her: "It's a woman! A woman, oh men of the (Islamic) nation; a woman, oh youth of the nation; a woman, oh women of the nation; a woman, o those who call for the liberation of the nation's women; a woman, oh soldiers of the nation; a woman, oh rules, princes, and leaders of this nation; it is a woman, a woman, a woman.

"It is a woman who teaches you today a lesson in heroism, who teaches you the meaning of Jihad, and the way to die a martyr's death."

In Jordan, the daily newspaper, Al-Dustour, a columnist wrote, "There is no need to bring examples of the status of the Arab and Muslim woman. The Arab woman has taken her place and her dignity. It is the woman's rights activists in the West who robbed women of their right to be human, and viewed them as bodies without souls…Wafa did not carry makeup in her suitcase, but enough explosives to fill the enemies with horror." Which is preferable? Makeup or dynamite? In the West, we do not urge women to kill themselves to demonstrate how liberated they are.

It well may be that the most frightening aspect of Western culture for Islam is its view that woman deserve equality before the law and throughout our society. We have seen what the most rigid forms of Islam does to women, shrouding them from view in public, requiring that they have a male relative as a companion if they go outside the doors of their homes, forbidding them schooling, forbidding them from working for a living, and the list goes on and on.

Suffice it to say, Wafa Idris did her bit to rewrite the rules of martyrdom, to put women on an "equal" status with those men who kill themselves in order to wage war on non-combatants, other women, their children, the old, the teenagers.

I invite you to recall history. Not until the United States was forced to drop, not one, but two atomic bombs on Japan, did the ancient warrior mentality of its leaders yield to the demand for unconditional surrender.

Now, we live in fear that Islamic warriors, careless of their own lives and contemptuous of infidels, may gain possession of comparable weapons. We cannot wait for such events to overtake us. We need no justification for action.

And you wonder why the President speaks in stark terms of good and evil? Let others pontificate on the geopolitical aspects of conflict in the Middle East. Let others speculate about conspiracies. I will keep focused on the desperate struggle an earlier generation of young Americans waged against kamikaze pilots and the utter desperation and nihilistic desire of Palestinians and militant Muslims to die rather than seek peace.

Alan Caruba is the author of "A Pocket Guide to Militant Islam", available from the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.

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