November 03, 2007

Get tough
on suicide bombings
By SALIM MANSUR -- for the Toronto Sun

A recent story in The Times of London reveals how utterly despicable are the folks who plan and execute suicide bombings.

Two 17-year-old peasant boys from the wilds of northwest Pakistan failed in their mission to kill the pro-West governor of Jalalabad, an Afghan border town. Farman Ullah, the suicide bomber, and his accomplice, Abdul Quboshi, instead were captured.

Times writer Robert Baer got to interview both captives. The peasant boys told their captors they believed virgins would be waiting for them at the site of the explosion and escort them to Paradise .

These captives -- their illiterate minds twisted by handlers recruiting them -- were programmed human bombs.

PROMISE OF VIRGINS

Baer writes: "But Farman's fanatic certainty about his scheduled appointment with the virgins of Paradise was not enough for his Taliban trainers. Attached to Farman's suicide bomb vest was a radio transmitter. If Farman's nerve failed or something went wrong, Abdul Quboshi's job was to press the detonator. As Farman told me: 'The Taliban said God himself would ignite the vest. I did not have to do anything.'"

Western democracies are confounded by the evil of suicide bombing. There seems to be no proportionate measure available at hand, or devised, to eradicate the plague of suicide bombings that result in disproportionate casualties and widespread fear.

One practical response is to have democratic governments make suicide bombing a criminal offence, then prosecute with the state's full resources those who belong to, or associate with, the network of Islamist terror (and any other network of terror) that provides ideological training, material and logistic support to recruits like Farman Ullah.

It is to this purpose that Liberal Senator Jerry Grafstein recently moved, for the third time, a private member's bill -- Parliament being dissolved and then prorogued required the bill to be submitted again -- in the upper chamber to amend section 83.01 of the Criminal Code to include, for greater certainty, suicide bombing in the definition of terrorist activity.

In introducing the Senate bill S-210 Grafstein observed, "Reverence for life is a lynchpin of all religions and the keystone of the rule of law. All our laws are wrapped around this central idea."

Criminal law provides for the prosecution of those who engage in misconduct. But Grafstein also reminds us of criminal law being a deterrent, making it known that "if you do this, you will have the full power of the state brought against you."

To those who argue that a suicide bomber in consummating his mission is unavailable for prosecution, Grafstein responds: "A successful suicide bomber cannot be prosecuted. However, one can certainly prosecute those who would aid and conspire with him or her, those who taught and applaud the action."

RECOURSE IN LAW

It is necessary for democracies to possess recourse in criminal law, as Grafstein proposes, among the state's arsenal of weapons, legal and military, necessary to defeat international terrorism and eradicate suicide bombing as an instrument of Islamist terror.

Liberal democracies have defeated their enemies in the past as they must at present, and might have to in the future.

To prevail while protecting their values of rights and freedoms, liberal democracies must be adequately armed and to this purpose Grafstein's bill is an urgently needed measure that hopefully will be enacted soon.