Suicide bomber versus homicide bomber


Justin Slotman agrees with Juan Non-Volokh that the term “suicide bomber” is more accurate than the term “homicide bomber” to describe Palestinian terrorists who attack innocent Israelis. The argument is that it’s redundant to say “homicide bomber” because the mere act of bombing is homicide in itself.

And it is jarring to hear Laurie Dhue start talking about “homicide bombers” on Fox News. It’s a cutesy little term, loaded down as it is with well-intentioned there’s-no-two-ways-about-this condemnation of a horrible kind of terrorism. But stick with suicide bombers, it’s just better English.

On the one hand, I see what he’s saying. However, there’s been a tendency of the general media to talk about the number of casualties on the Israeli and Palestinian side just as numbers, without stressing who these people were. By the numbers alone, it would appear that 3 times more Palestinians have been killed in the past two years as Israelis. But none of these reports specify how many of the Israelis killed were innocent victims, and how many of the Palestinians were the bombers who blew them up along with themselves. In fact, a full two-thirds of the Israeli casualties have been civilians (and most of the soldiers, even, died in cowardly ambushes and attacks, not in battle) while a full two-thirds of the Palestinian casualties have been terrorists, gunmen, or other fighters.

In this sense, “suicide bomber” is almost as bad as saying “freedom fighter” or “martyr” – it gives them a glory and legitimacy that encourages these attacks to continue.

Language is political. Make no mistake about it. They haven’t. Why else do you think they’ve been winning the media war?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Stefan Sharkansky 11.26.02 at 8:15 PM

Another appropriate term might be “Jewicide bombers”


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