“How many people in this room think that under no circumstance they would become a suicide bomber?” Dr. Dipak Gupta, former director of the International Security and Conflict Resolution program and political science professor, said.
This greeting engaged San Diego State students and faculty members attending the discussion titled “Dying for a Cause: The Rationality of Suicide Bombers” at the International Student Center Speaker Forum series.
“Marines’ urination on Talibans — an abnormal action, yet when under a certain amount of stress and hopeless situations their rationality may be altered into making reckless decisions,” Gupta said. “These responses can also be caused by the extreme pressure in group manners.”
Throughout the lecture, Gupt drew a parallel between the United States military and suicide bombers, arguing that the military wanted to do something for its country, just as a suicide bomber would want to protect his or her community by annihilating who they believe is a suspected threat.
According to Gupta, altruism makes us true human beings, always looking to better our communities; it is the reason why functioning cities and communities exist, yet altruism can take a perverse form if it hurts innocent civilians.
“I think American soldiers enter war assuming there is a risk to be killed, yet our rationality is not to kill but to save lives,” a military science junior who preferred not to be named said. “That’s our main goal, to fight until we die and not to die to hopefully end the fight.”
“Soldiers do mean things to defend their country, forgetting that they are fighting for a cause and not against the civilians personally,” Direncan Ugurlu, a Turkish exchange student, said.” Also, when fighting against terrorism, blaming the entire community should not be done.”
“If your community or close family was in great danger and you had to make a decision, you would do anything to protect them, including possibly becoming a suicide bomber yourself,” Gupta said.