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Unintended Consequences

StrategyPage claims that suicide bombing isn't proving very effective in Iraq, and is bound to get less so:

In theory, the suicide bomber should be the ultimate "smart bomb." But in practice, the guy carrying, or driving, the bomb is rarely calm and clear headed while moving towards the target. Many of the bombers are mentally unstable to begin with, and as the moment of death approaches, some lose it entirely. The suicide bomb tactic only works because of the support staff, and the ones in Iraq are excellent largely because so many of them are unemployed secret policemen, who used to work for Saddam. They know how to train and motivate people for dirty deeds. But the U.S. has been going after the support staff personnel for over three years now, and has thinned the ranks considerably. The current surge offensive has been particularly hard on the suicide bomber support people. Many of them have been killed or captured, and others escaped in such a hurry that they left their tools and records behind.

If it's difficult to recruit a madman to wear a bomb vest, imagine how difficult it must be to replace his well-trained and experienced handlers. Unless, of course, we give them access to lawyers, courts, etc.

But the news isn't all good:

Bombings are down, and many of the brains behind these bombings are getting out of the country. These fellows had lots of blood on their hands before 2003, and have simply moved up on the "most wanted" lists since then. So they will be out there for years to come, offering their skills to whoever can pay. They, and their brethren in the roadside bomb business, have reshaped the murder business for at least a generation.

It's probably usually better to kill a terrorist than to capture one. I wonder what the ACLU thinks about that?