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Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It Hardcover – October 15, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert A. Pape is professor of political science at the University of Chicago and the author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism and Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War.


James K. Feldman has taught decision analysis and economics at the Air Force Institute of Technology and defense policy analysis at the School of Advanced Airpower Studies.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 9/15/10 edition (October 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226645606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226645605
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is an axiom in academe: Most things that can be measured aren't especially interesting, while the really interesting issues can't be measured (because they are a product of complex systems). So I don't have a dog in the fight over Pape's statistical methodology.

My research (which is primarily qualitative and ethnographic) in counter-insurgency and terrorism spans decades. I agree Gerald Larose comments and with Pape's thesis that military occupation by foreign troops causes terrorism. Perhaps most eloquently stated in the following quote from the American Civil War historian, Shelby Foote:

"When asked about the American civil war, Foote resorted to an anecdote. Early in the conflict, he used to say, a squad of Union soldiers closed in on a ragged Johnny Reb. Figuring that he did not own slaves, nor had much interest in the constitutional question of secession, they asked him: "What are you fighting for, anyhow?" The Confederate replied: "I'm fighting because you're down here." Foote regarded that as "a pretty satisfactory answer".

Note as of 9/12 2011

Although I agree with the author, I need to add this caveat: complex adaptive systems rarely, if ever, have only one cause. So from both a practical and theoretical standpoint we need to leave that door open.

As a political scientist, Robert Pape is known for subscribing to the "Rational Choice" theory, the most dominant neo-classic model in 20th century economics. So what? Well, they invariably simply the model down to one causal variable. What is conveniently forgotten is that it is a multi-variable world out there. So we need to go a couple of steps further in exploring the relationships at work here. What is the root cause, not a symptom.

My example of Shelby Foote is true enough, but I also need to address "why" Union troops are "down here" in the first place. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

John Marke
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Format: Hardcover
As a retired combat arms NCO with significant experience in counter insurgency warfare I can tell you that the author hits the nail right on the head. He provides the very clearly stated facts and statistics that prove something already well known to Special Ops types and other snake eaters. And that is that our brain dead foreign and military policy is creating far more terrorists than we are killing.

That is indisputable. Iraq, for example, was a mortal enemy to Al Queda before Desert Storm II. It also acted as a buffer to Iran. Thanks to Bush's bumbling efforts Al Queda now has free reign in Iraq and that country has been essentially handed over to Iran.
Now this is something that the neocons, chickenhawks all, refuse to admit. Thats why you see the hate speech you see here, undoubtedly from living room commandoes eager to send your kids to die.

They also have apparently never read a history book and feel that we can turn Afghanistan, The Eater of Empires, into a 51st state. What complete idiocy. For every local, terrorist or not, killed by US forces or a drone, you can bet 10 more are created.
Keep in mind that history teaches us that tyrants NEED other tyrants. How else can the profits keep rolling in for the war machine?

The author was recently briefly interviewed on Fox News. I say briefly cause as soon as the author made his key point which is anathema to the voice of the Israeli lobby that is Fox News he was quickly cut off.
The auhor is 100% correct.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Robert Pape along with Dr. James Feldman have upgraded the study (up to 2009) from the 2006 work Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. From 1980-2003 there was roughly 315 suicide terrorist attacks. In the new study, it has climbed exponentially going up to over 2100 suicide attacks. Using sound methodology and data (for a detailed database from which both authors drew their research See the website Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism [...]), Cutting the Fuse proves that the increase in suicide terrorism attacks is not due to radical Islam or jihadism but the main cause for over 90% of the suicide campaigns is due to military occupation of regions that terrorists prize or have concern for.

The book concludes with a summation of the updated research and policy recommendations that all politicians and terrorist analysts should consider.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am amazed that how much time and energy is put into this research based fascinating book which proves which already has been said by knowledgeable and wellinformed Americans that we are producing lots more Suicide. Bombers byattacking and fighting those wars which has made us less safe and has killed thousands of innocent people across the board including Americans.
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Ever since 911 terrorism has been one of the most hotly debated subjects in America. Unfortunately, it is a subject not well understood by the majority of people. What I love about his book is that it is not written from a political perspective (which is rare, considering the subject matter); it is based on statistical facts. Although all of the charts, figures, numbers, etc., may make it a little dry for some, it is nonetheless an important read. If the American people, including Congress (and especially some of the radio talk show hosts) would read this book, terrorism would be a non-issue.

By the way, I would also strongly recommend Dr. Pape's prior book, 'Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic Of Suicide Terrorism'.
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