Why do suicide bombers do what they do? Ariel Merari is a retired professor at Tel Aviv University and author of Driven to Death: Psychological and Social Aspects of Suicide Terrorism. Merari recently took part in a contentious study exploring these motivations and found that the typical characterization of bombers as young ideological enemies of the West overlooks the real driving force behind terrorism: national humilitation and the desire to avenge community suffering.
Adam Lankford is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Alabama and the author of the book Human Killing Machines, about the systematic indoctrination of terrorists and other violent offenders. He’s coordinated anti-terrorism forums with the State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, and has conducted new research which poses the idea that suicide bombers may, in fact, be motivated by their desire to kill themselves.