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A suggestion for new teminology

While reading some DOD press briefing transcripts tonight I was struck by the total dehumanization inherent in a person choosing to be a suicide bomber. At the instant they strap on the explosive belt or seat themselves in a car bomb they cease being a person. They become nothing but an expendable munition, bombs in a deceptively human form.

I suggest a new name for them: SPM’s.

Self Portable Munitions.

24 comments to A suggestion for new teminology

  • Harry


    I agree with your thesis.

  • Charlie

    I’ve been calling them “exploding Palestinians” for a while now.

    It seemed better than what I was calling them before: “morons”.

  • Yes, we need more precise terminology. “Morons”, although a fine word, is too imprecise.

  • Dog

    It is plainly wrong to state that these are acts of suicide.

    Those involved denotate a bomb with the sole intent to committ mass murder and maim as many people as possible. Those who committ these atrocities are terrorist mass murderers.

    The lede should read “a terrorist committed mass murder today by dentonating a bomb on a bus. In the explosion, the terrorist also was killed.”

    Such a change correctly focuses the reader on the act of terrorist mass murder, and not on the cynical and disgusting ploy of conflating tactical terrorist acts with suicide.

    This for too long has been a sickening propoganda tool employed by the terrorists and their enablers in the Middle East and West alike.

  • Tony

    I call ’em ‘splodeydopes’.

  • Anointiata Delenda Est

    The appropriate name for the imbecilic foot soldier (aka suicide bomber) has been known for at least as long as the Charge of The Light Brigade: “cannon fodder”. The real question is what to call the Generals. I think our Left could be a (rare) guide here: “Islamic running dogs of the Capitalist System”, decoded as “I’m in it for the money, you’re in it for life/death”.

  • fnyser

    islamikazi seems right to me.

    OK, that’s a Sig right? But those aren’t sig grips.

  • hast

    Fox News calls them homocide bombers.

  • Dale Amon

    I disagree with almost all of the other suggestions because they imply there is an actor to that is a human being. A bomb is not a person. It is a thing. Just because it selects its own target and self-delivers and chooses the instant of detonation doesn’t make it human.

    Suicide bombers/islamokazi’s/homocide bombers aren’t people. They are things. Weapons wielded and expended by others in a way no different than mortar shells, bullets or RPG’s.

    That is what the terminology must do. Recognize the ‘thingness’ of an SPM.

  • Julian Morrison

    Blech. All dehumanization is always bad, and especially of an enemy. I’m not christian but I find “love your enemy” sensible advice. That way, if you’re fighting, you’re doing it for reasons and not for blind monkey-mind tribalism, hate, and bloodlust. The reasons should be sufficient on their own.

  • Dale Amon

    But it is self-selected de-humanization. The next to last moral choice one of the makes as a person is to strap on the explosives. The final one is pushing the button. I don’t know how many stop between step 1 and 2, but I do not get the impression it is any worse from their commander’s perspective than the number of RPG’s that misfire.

    It is the leaders of Hamas, al Qaeda and other organizations who have already done the de-humanization of their followers. To a bin Laden they are not soldiers, they are munitions to be delivered to specific targets and detonated.

    Don’t blame me for what they have already done.

  • Dale Amon

    I might also add that SPM-hood is reversible up to a point. A human being would take the belt off as soon as they are away from their leaders and throw it in a gutter; or they’d park the car bomb somewhere safe and anonymously ring a bomb squad to safe it.

    By following through they prove they are just a biological AI delivering an explosive charge to a target.

  • It has to be remembered that these people do this for gain,one to enter Paradise,two to advance their cause by killing those they see as the enemy.
    As for dehumanising or demonising the foe, I am afraid that the line has been crossed we face an implacable adversary who has no interest whatsoever in negotiation and desires one of two things, our destructio or our conversion to Islam

  • The renaming impulse is all wrong and actually helps the islamists. Instead of minimizing their humanity we should be emphasizing it and noting that the theologians who support this are supporting a faith of nihilism and death that, in Islam’s own tradition, marks them for intense pressure culminating in fatwas that call for their own deaths. If they’re not human, it lets the imams who try to recruit people into that mindset off the hook and in business.

    I don’t have an actual new name but something that I’d be happy with would make and emphasize the svengali/koresh/stockholm/Jim Jones aspect to the whole thing. By Islam’s rules, they should be slitting these imams’ throats for persistently encouraging this sort of thing. I’d be more than happy for them to stop short of that and reform but if it takes some slit throats to stop it, I’m ok with that.

  • Julian Morrison

    All this talk of an “implacable” foe, is typical demonization. It’s also utter rubbish. These are humans, with human motivations. There are tons of moslems in the world that don’t run around blowing themselves up. The question it would be sensible to ask is: what sets these “walking bombs” apart? In what manner are they different from the ordinary moslem guy who works hard and raises a family? That then would be your target.

    Fantasies of “implacable” enemies lead to implacable and merciless “solutions” – which rarely “solve” anything. Using a sledge-hammer to crack nuts, and missing.

  • Guyjean

    I believe we should keep the word “suicide” for the simple reason that as I have always been told (hopefully correctly) – suicide is against the laws of Islam. I think this is one of the few ways of getting to these people that suicide bombings are wrong and against their religion.

    We lost the semantic battle on this one as the Pals call these people “martyrs”. we need to start calling them heretics for doing something that is against Islam.

  • Tedd McHenry

    I agree with Julian that dehumanizing anyone in our own minds is a mistake. Even if we believe they dehumanize themselves by their acts, it’s still up to us to choose whether we see them as less than human or as a sad reminder of how low humans can sink–but still be human.

    The main benefit of a term such as Self-Portable Munition is that it draws our attention away from the wretched, misguided souls who strap on the bombs and toward those who command, train, equip, and finance them. What we need is a term that doesn’t dehumanize the person carrying the bomb, but also puts our attention on the commanders rather than the foot soldiers.

    Rather than say, “A suicide bomber attacked a school bus today,” we should say, “The People’s Front for the Liberation of Judea [or whoever] ordered a suicide attack on a school bus today.” If we don’t know who organized the attack, “An unknown terrorist organization ordered a suicide attack on a school bus today.”

  • Mashiki

    Interesting comment Tedd, the last bit I’d agree with. Unfortuantly your then talking to the news channels who seem bent on making them not terrorists but ‘freedom figters’ or some other type of nonsense. Which they are not, you have to also change the perception of the media; which would be an up hill battle.

    I don’t even want to go into how long it took to get the ‘local’ news channel here to use the correct terms of hacker/cracker/phreak let alone white hat/black and grey when they decided to put out a story. But it seemed to sink in after I pointed out that the region that they were servicing also had a very technical field and second; that that by labeling these ‘good guys’ as bad…they were misinforming the public. Ofcourse I’ve gotten no where outside the local news station and the local news director really doesn’t like me at all.

    I actually made him admit that he put on ‘his version’ of the news, and it was ‘always right’. Media bias doesn’t exist… *chuckle* And that was something unrelated to that, and on the UN resolution that Canada was trying to get going. heh

  • rosignol

    I’ve been calling them “not-so-smart bombs” for a few years now.

  • T. J. Madison

    The evil and stupidity is not in strapping on the bombs or blowing oneself up.

    The evil is in the choice of target — we must never forget that.

    If a suicide bomber had managed to take out Hitler in 1942, we would think of him as a heroic liberator, willing to make the supreme sacrifice to save countless people from tyranny, oppression, and death.

    I can’t see the difference between a suicide bomber who blows up himself and 10 civilians, and a militant sniper who shoots 10 civilians before being gunned down by the police. Dead is dead.

  • T. J. Madison

    On an unrelated note, it seems like the West Bank would be an excellent place to test out anarchocapitalism.

    They already have anarchotyranny: at least two states (the IDF and PA) have been working over the general population for quite some time, with no regard for the life, liberty, or property of the inhabitatants. So with respect to all of the usual objections to anarchocapitalism — the possible breakdown of civil order, gang warfare, etc — well, the West Bank already has that in spades. It can’t get much worse.

    Similar arguments have been made by some libertarians for Somalia, as I recall.

  • Dale Amon

    Re: Somalia… more than arguments. A friend of mine is living there. Or at least I hope he is still living…

  • Dale Amon

    I’ll still call it an SPM. What else can you say about a weapons system to which you give instructions like: Go to the following co-ordinates, with alternates A,B,C and then explode.

  • T. J. Madison

    Presumably we should also refer to Soviet, Iraqi, and Chinese soldiers as SPMs as well — self-propelled machineguns. “Go to the following coordinates (usually without the alternates) and then shoot what’s in front of you.” They probably had even less personal initiative than the suicide bombers, who at the very least were volunteers rather than conscripts.