I take your point that having discerned that suicide terrorism is motivated by trying to force occupying powers to vacate land doesn't necessarily mean that the "solution" to terrorism is to therefore vacate land.
However, I would think that any sane policy would have to start with at least acknowledging this fact, instead of pretending that we are the midst of some kind of "global war" wherein the martyrs of Islam won't be satisfied until the West is destroyed utterly.
The whole point of this guy's research (and it is extremely
comprehensive research) is that this notion, widespread as it may be, is flatly untrue, suggesting that any WOT which uses "global war" as its underlying organizing principle is doomed to failure.
At one point in the interview Pape talks about protecting our interests in the middle east while minimizing our military footprint in Muslim majority nations:
TAC: What would constitute a victory in the War on Terror or at least an improvement in the American situation?
RP: For us, victory means not sacrificing any of our vital interests while also not having Americans vulnerable to suicide-terrorist attacks. In the case of the Persian Gulf, that means we should pursue a strategy that secures our interest in oil but does not encourage the rise of a new generation of suicide terrorists.
In the 1970s and the 1980s, the United States secured its interest in oil without stationing a single combat soldier on the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, we formed an alliance with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which we can now do again. We relied on numerous aircraft carriers off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and naval air power now is more effective not less. We also built numerous military bases so that we could move large numbers of ground forces to the region quickly if a crisis emerged.
This strikes me as the kind of pragmatism that only becomes possible when you drop the "holy war" blinders and think about how to go about achieving a desirable end. But we're so invested in "if we do x, the terrorists win" rhetoric, simple self interested logic somehow becomes "treason".
Mindless belligerence over actually getting what you want. How fucked up is that?
'Gut, I'm not telling you anything. Again, from Pape's research:
The evidence shows that the presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism.
If Islamic fundamentalism were the pivotal factor, then we should see some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world, like Iran, which has 70 million peoplethree times the population of Iraq and three times the population of Saudi Arabiawith some of the most active groups in suicide terrorism against the United States. However, there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Iran, and we have no evidence that there are any suicide terrorists in Iraq from Iran.
Sudan is a country of 21 million people. Its government is extremely Islamic fundamentalist. The ideology of Sudan was so congenial to Osama bin Laden that he spent three years in Sudan in the 1990s. Yet there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Sudan.
I have the first complete set of data on every al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from 1995 to early 2004, and they are not from some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world. Two thirds are from the countries where the United States has stationed heavy combat troops since 1990.
If you can make sense of those numbers within an "It's all about Islamic extremism" paradigm, my hat's off to you.