Author links terrorism to past personal trauma

Just now Judy sent me this intriguing op-ed from the Washington Post yesterday.  Author and terrorism expert, Jessica Stern, links her personal experience as a young teen who was violently raped with the development of the ability to feel not much—either joy, fear or sadness—later.  After visiting terror camps for her research she is beginning to suspect that young boys, raped by older men in Madrassas, become unfeeling and thus more able to terrorize others—-a plausible theory.

Then near the end she says this (emphasis mine):

Today, my work is moving in a new direction. A group of psychologists at Children’s Hospital Boston has been studying the health issues of Somali American youth, with a focus on trauma. I am working with the group to study a question of recent national concern: why some Somali youth in this country run away from home to join al-Shabab, a Somali terrorist group that claims to be aligned with al-Qaeda. Is there a link between possible abuse and alienation and vulnerability to terrorist recruitment? Could terrorism sometimes reflect a kind of perverse post-traumatic evolution?

There is only one problem with this theory.  The majority of the Somali youths who went off to join Al-Shabaab were raised in the US with every opportunity for a good education and a better life.  Many seemed to have caring parents and other caring family members.  They did not, for the most part, experience terror in Africa.  So, unless we are now suggesting they were sexually abused in Minneapolis and elsewhere, the theory lets Islamic indoctrination as a possible driving force for joining a terrorist group completely off the hook—something many are trying very hard to do.

This is a continuation of the notion that poverty breeds Islamic terrorism when we know that the leading terrorists are most often well-educated and have an above average financial status.  I don’t disagree with the notion that those carrying out the suicide bombings may have been terrorized themselves.  Those Somali boys from Minneapolis went to fight for Allah (it wasn’t terror or sexual abuse that got them on the plane), but then I suspect they were sufficiently terrorized when they arrived in Africa.

Why can’t most people wrap their heads around the idea of the Islamic imperative to Jihad?  Because, I believe, most in the West don’t care deeply about religion and thus can’t imagine that others do.

Refugees International in search of new head honcho after Dan Glickman quits after 2 months!

Boy I sure would like to know what’s behind all this—the e-mail explanation from the Board at Refugees International sounded like a stretch.   Longtime readers know that Refugees International is a Washington, DC lobbying shop for the refugee industry and when former head honcho, Ken Bacon,*died, retired Congressman Dan Glickman (an insider’s insider) came on with much fanfare.  He was hired in January, started work in April and quit in June?

Below is what the new Board Chair, Eileen Shields-West, said in an e-mail.  By the way, what happened to Kashmiri Separatist, Farooq Kathwari’s** chairmanship.   I see he is still on the Board.  Note emeritus board member George Soros.

As you know, we announced with excitement the hiring of Dan Glickman as President of Refugees International in April. Last night, Dan let us know that he is resigning, effective June 18. Dan remains strongly committed to the plight of refugees and the lifesaving work of Refugees International. However, he has decided that he cannot devote the necessary time and attention to leading this critically important and robust organization while also pursuing multiple lifelong interests he developed during his 35 years in public service, especially food and agriculture.

Effective immediately, RI Board member L. Craig Johnstone will become the Interim President of RI. Craig is a former U.S. Ambassador, former Director for Resources, Plans and Policy in the Department of State, and former Deputy UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

* Political junkies will recall that Ken Bacon was the Pentagon spokesman during the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal who released Linda Tripp’s personel file to the media causing the media to focus their ire on Tripp (to destroy her) which played an important role in saving Clinton’s bacon.

** Farooq Kathwari is involved with the Kashmiri separatist movement.  His son died a jihadist in Afghanistan.  Here is just one of several posts on Kathwari.

Note to readers! Anyone with the inside skinny on this can reach me at