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| Kamikaze Essay

The first word that comes to mind when I hear the term suicide bomber is “kamikaze.” As many people probably already know, a “kamikaze” pilot was the term for a young Japanese pilot who intentionally used his own plane and himself as a weapon against enemy ships. These pilots were part of the suicide corps during World War II that took off with only enough fuel to attack – not enough to return home. In fact, media from all over the world, especially after the events of September 11, played up the similarities of suicide bombers and kamikaze pilots. The discussion of their similarities were spread all over the world and how both actions are seen differ based on nation, religion and even individual belief. My image of both suicide bombers and kamikaze pilots was that they were crazy people who were mind controlled by either country or religion to commit acts of martyrdom.

Young kamikaze pilots and even normal Japanese citizens were taught that dying for their nation was a virtue and that there was no greater honor. Also, suicide bombers held the belief that to all those who fall in a holy war, paradise in the afterlife would be their reward. The only differences between them are beliefs but both are crazy actions that I would never understand. However, the most suicide terrorism is not because of individual people who are actually crazy but rather, suicide terrorism follows strategic logic (Kaye 2003). It is also generally one strategy that is only part of a larger goal. In this paper, I will examine the differences and similarities between suicide terrorism and kamikaze attack and show how suicide terrorism is a rational and effective way to help achieve a goal.

Suicide terrorism is follows a strategic action which is that of coercion. This strategic action is not carried out by individual fanatics who are willing to take their lives like the kamikaze. Suicide terrorism attacks are carried by an organized group as part of superior campaigns so as to achieve its specific goals which are mostly political. Such a group usually states a reason as to why they are going to carry out the attack and if their goals are fulfilled they stop the suicide bombs. This is one of the reasons why suicide bombing is more strategic than kamikaze attacks. Kamikaze attacks sacrificed the lives of the Japanese people and they did this so as to pay the debt they owed to the family and society. This was war propaganda and mostly the victims sacrificed themselves so as to destroy many enemies, they paid the price with blood and the aim was to convince the allies to give lighter terms.

This was is not a strategic way and it is difficult for most people to understand how someone deliberate sacrifices their life with no chances of surviving at all. The goals for kamikaze attacks are not well achieved like those of suicide bombing. Hoyt (1983) proposed that the kamikaze attacks damages and casualties were minor from information which he obtained from eyewitnesses of kamikaze hits on British carrier on May 9. So this makes one wonder the volunteers of the attacks died yet their goals was achieved.The price these volunteers pay is very dear.

Pape (2003) argued that suicide terrorism is usually a means by which terrorist groups such as al-Qaida use to coerce present democracies to make changes to national self determination. The terrorist group is usually the stronger group when it comes making such demands. The democracies are usually the weaker group and are usually torn whether to comply or not. Most of these democracies usually opt to agree with the suicide attackers demands rather than pay with the blood of their citizens. This makes suicide attacks more logical than the kamikaze attacks. Kamikaze attacks are usually acts of martyrdom which are religious and ideological in nature. The reason that the martyrs’ status is elevated in the community is not logical. Kamikaze attacks inspire others in the community to sacrifice themselves. This sacrificial myth is used by government as a means of coercing individuals to engage in such acts of martyrdom for their own selfish needs. Though this method does not yield results in most occasion the Japanese government give material rewards to the dead volunteer’s family thus continued to encourage people.

The kamikaze attacks were usually legitimate and put in place by the Japanese government while suicide attacks are illegal planned by groups outside the state structure. This is one of the major differences between kamikaze attacks and suicide attacks. Religious ideologies and ideology propaganda are not a critical issue in making these kamikaze attackers turn into suicide attackers. Religion and ideologies were used by the Japanese government to validate and honor the acts of killing enemies whether they were armed forces or residents of a country.

Suicide attacks on the other hand make violence and brutality a ritual and they make people to live by sacrificing their own lives. War maltreats all human beings. The kamikaze attacks were lunatic actions by fanatics while suicide attacks are illegitimate actions by groups used for coercing democracies to give into their demands. Huntsman (2010) quoted Durkheim who argued such acts of martyrdom led one to commit suicide out of sense of duty because the society was highly integrated and respected. Kamikaze attacks and suicide attacks are similar in that both the two methods destroy the morale of the enemy nation and thus the two are an economical way to force a nation to surrender. The kamikaze attackers and suicide bombers do not usually have the images of their victims in mind. The bombing act by these two is possible if the two detach the image of victims from their minds.

Both suicide attackers and Kamikaze are strategies used by the terrorists to make the public lose confidence in their governments. Hoffman (2003) argued that the two create a climate of fear and intimidation to allow terrorist exploitation.

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