Two American researchers, Daniel Byman and Christine Fair, have published an unusual report in the July-August edition of the popular American culture magazine The Atlantic. Islamist terrorists are often portrayed in the collective unconscious as pious soldiers who organize themselves for a common cause, or holy war. But Daniel Byman and Christine Fair would beg to differ. Avid consumers of pornographic material, terrorists are not what we think they are.
Sexually depraved nitwits who are unable to pull-off the simplest operations. Such is the ghastly picture painted by Islamic terrorist researchers Daniel Byman and Christine Fair, members of the Center for Peace Studies and Security (CPASS) from Georgetown University, in a report published in the July-August edition of the popular American cultural magazine The Atlantic.
Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian strategist and one of those who orchestrated the September 11 attacks, is a perfect embodiment of the image of the well trained and organized al-Qaeda terrorist. But this image could well belong to a bygone era among current terrorists who are all but smart.
“Nowhere is the gap between sinister stereotype and ridiculous reality more apparent than in Afghanistan, where it’s fair to say that the Taliban employ the world’s worst suicide bombers: one in two manages to kill only himself,” say Daniel and Christine. Many of them are unable to leave their training camps, where Jihadists from around the world are hosted.
The reason being that “In Afghanistan, as in many cultures, a manly embrace is a time-honored tradition for warriors before they go off to face death. Thus, many suicide bombers never even make it out of their training camp or safe house, as the pressure from these group hugs triggers the explosives in suicide vests,” they say.
And when they are finally let out of their training camps, they often commit the most idiotic mistakes that end up compromising the simplest operations. The two researchers cite the case of Umar Faruq Abdulmutallab a Nigerian terrorist who tried to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in December 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underpants.
“Although the media colored the incident as a sophisticated al-Qaeda plot, Abdulmutallab showed no great skill or cunning, and simple safeguards should have kept him off the plane in the first place. He was, after all, traveling without luggage, on a one-way ticket that he purchased with cash. All of this while being on a U.S. government watch list,” says the article in The Atlantic.
But could the peak of idiocy lead to perversion? Beyond their mind-blowing disorganization, these illiberal foot-soldiers of God, according to the two scientists, lead anything but holy lives: a far cry from the image of piety they evoke among mortals. “Pentagon officials and intelligence analysts concede privately that our foes also have a voracious appetite for pornography.”
The two researchers say that “many laptops seized from the Taliban and al-Qaeda are loaded with smut. U.S. intelligence analysts have devoted considerable time to poring over the terrorists’ favored Web sites, searching for hidden militant messages.” Confirming their unabated appetite for materials from sexually explicit sites, a U.S. Department of Defense al-Qaeda analyst is quoted as saying: “We have terabytes of this stuff”.
The Case for Calling Them Nitwits, by Daniel Byman and Christine Fair seeks to bring some of the everyday occurrences in the world of Muslim fundamentalists to the fore. For them, it is important to deconstruct the false stereotypes rooted in the collective unconscious and kept alive by the Western media. Counter-terrorism is, reportedly, more effective in Muslim countries.