"Today the popular belief is that the Japanese who took part in banzai charges, flew kamikaze missions, piloted kaitens and shinyo ‘bang boats’, or served as human mines, were all fanatics. Because many of the banzai charges were ordered on the spur-of-the-moment no doubt there was an element of fanatism in the army’s operations. But the kamikazes, kaiten and kairyu men were dedicated individuals whose calm acceptance of death illustrates the impact of ideological persuasion." (A.J. Barker, Suicide Weapon, C1971, Page 157)
For the past 25 years or so, we have been seeing only the 2nd occurrence of the use of suicide as a weapon. The point here is that many of us believe that our enemies are only a very small minority of ‘fanatics’. Just the idea of a small number of ‘fanatics’ is incorrect. ‘Ideological persuasion’ is required to overcome the most basic instinct of all living things, survival. The suicide attacks we are seeing today are spread all over the Islamic world. They tend to be concentrated within areas of open warfare, but suicide attacks are occurring in many other parts of the Muslim world as well. Just the very size of the geographical area indicates that this ‘ideological persuasion’ is much more pervasive than a very small minority of ‘fanatics’.
Of large concern is that the suicide attackers are coming from such a large population. This population can be expected to produce far more suicide attackers if the need became obvious. It is also very unlikely that this ‘ideological persuasion’ can be altered in any significant way without some very large, traumatic event.
The first occurrence of the use of suicide as a weapon took nuclear weapons to put an end to it. (Many argue that Japan was on the verge of surrendering anyway, but no doubt the nuclear attacks sped up the Emperor’s decision to intervene and end the war.) The educational system of the culture that produced this first wave of suicide attackers was altered severely and thoroughly.
I expect that WMD will be used long before this war of ‘ideological persuasion’ is over.