In “The Down Syndrome Bombers: Terrorism Sinks to a New Low” at Pajamas Media, Aaron Hanscom notes that the jihadists’ use of mentally disabled women in Baghdad for two jihad-martyrdom attacks last week was nothing new:
Last week’s horrific bombings at two pet bazaars in Baghdad reacquainted us with the most disturbing type of suicide bomber: the unwitting martyr.
Had the perpetrators of the attacks that killed at least 99 people been young men who believed self-immolation was their one-way ticket to paradise, the story would have never made headlines. While voluntary martyrdom operations in Western countries still occur infrequently enough to shock the public into recognizing (however belatedly or temporarily) the brutality of radical Islamists, they have become old news in Iraq. One can’t help but wonder if there will come a time when the headline “Mentally Retarded Women Used in Bombings” no longer appalls us.
Because that moment has fortunately not yet arrived, Friday”s terrorist attacks were effective reminders of the utter depravity of jihadists. According to U.S. and Iraqi officials, pictures of the two female bombers showed they had Down syndrome. Their remote detonated bombs went off in locations thronged with families and children. “It appears the suicide bombers were not willing martyrs, they were used by al-Qaeda for these horrific attacks,” Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, the top U.S. commander in Baghdad, told the AP.
In fact, this was only the latest — not the first — instance of mentally disabled individuals being used unwittingly as human bombs. Last year, Brian Glyn Williams noted that the employment of suicide bombers who are mentally unsound has become a disturbing trend in Afghanistan. “Coalition troops who have spoken of seeing bombers blow themselves up far from their convoys have characterized it as the act of drugged or mentally unstable bombers,” he wrote on the website of The Jamestown Foundation. Williams told Time magazine that the Taliban regularly recruits young men who are “deranged, retarded, mentally unstable or on drugs.” A 2007 NPR report also found that a substantial amount of suicide bombers in Afghanistan suffer from mental illnesses.
Read it all.