Seven members of an Iraqi family were killed when US troops opened fire on their truck which failed to stop at a checkpoint in southern Iraq. There’s no doubt in my mind that the most terrible impact of last weekend’s suicide bombing—and Iraq’s threat of more to come—is that these kinds of tragedies will become all too frequent. Sadly one could view this from the Iraqi regime’s point of view as a “side benefit” of suicide attacks, as incidents like this are likely to erode support for the US-led coalition and its efforts.
Still, I’m surprised whenever I hear suicide bombings described as “unprecedented” war tactics; doesn’t anybody remember the kamikaze attacks of World War II?
That being said, I would hesitate to compare the latter with this new breed of suicide bombers: from what I’ve read and heard, kamikaze attackers (pilots mainly, though attacks occurred on land and sea as well) were volunteers—and they didn’t try to hide themselves amongst civilians. The contrast could not be greater: the Japanese willingly died to save their own people; the Iraqi regime willingly sacrifices its own people to preserve its grip on power.