That’s the conclusion one is supposed to reach reading some experts. Instead of acknowledging the real cause of Islamic terrorism, which is Islam, they peddle spurious explanations that do nothing but obfuscate the issue.
Commentators range from medically ignorant (e.g. Peter Hitchens, who knows next to nothing about psychiatry) to quite learned (e.g. Dr Max Pemberton, who knows quite a lot). Yet both types are equally wrong.
Towards the end of his long and learned article (Potheads: is marijuana a factor in jihadi murders?) Dr Pemberton inadvertently wrote 18 words that invalidated the previous 2,000: “Of course, I am not suggesting cannabis use can turn someone into a suicide bomber or a terrorist.”
Good. So what is he suggesting? That immoderate use of cannabis may have undesirable psychiatric effects? But everybody knows this, and some of us have even observed it in our friends or, in my case, colleagues.
That one sentence appears after a protracted explanation of how smoking pot can make a person psychotic. Since 1,000 words are supposed to be worse than one picture, the article features 12 of them, all of Muslim terrorists known to be cannabis users.
Does this mean there’s a causal effect? But Dr Pemberton himself says there isn’t, albeit towards the end of the piece.
It’s just that those 18 words were written by an honest man protecting his intellectual integrity. The rest of the article came from a propagandist wishing to leave us with a virtual explanation – in the hope that we’ll then desist from probing any further to reach the real explanation: Islam.
This virtual explanation confuses cause and effect. These Muslims don’t become mass murderers because they smoke weed. Muslim recruiters choose them for such missions because they fit a certain psychological profile, one of whose features may be cannabis use.
Suppose for the sake of argument that you wished to recruit a youngster willing to blow himself up in a crowd of people. What sort of a person would you look for? An intelligent, stable, well-adjusted individual?
A bookish young teetotaller pondering the influence Avicenna and Averroes exerted on European scholasticism? A bluestocking devoting her life to investigating symbolism in poems by Hafiz and Omar Khayyam? Or an alcoholic, drug-addled dropout like Abedi? Quite.
A terrorist’s unwinding habits would only matter if he were indeed a loner acting entirely of his own accord. If it could be shown that a significant proportion of such criminals smoked cannabis, then this information would be of interest.
But murderers like Abedi aren’t independently acting individuals. They are part of a worldwide conspiratorial network using them as delivery systems, or personified bombs if you’d rather.
Their function is no different from that of a suitcase hiding an airliner bomb or a rifle firing at a crowd. That’s why Dr Pemberton’s learned discourse is as irrelevant as he himself tacitly acknowledges.
It’s also possible that aspiring suicide bombers start taking drugs to overcome fear, which has to be dreadful. A well-balanced individual won’t blow himself up if he doesn’t have to – lust for life will prove too strong. For him to go on a suicide mission he has to be appropriately stimulated, and chemicals provide a useful boost to Muslim brainwashing.
Drugs have been used as such stimulants since time immemorial, to serve causes good or bad. For example, a pill called ‘West Coast Turnaround’ improves the efficiency of long-distance transportation in the United States by allegedly enabling a driver to go coast to coast and then immediately turn around and go all the way back.
A similar concoction (probably crystal meth, which has since acquired much street cred) kept Falklands pilots flying more numerous sorties than was prudent, which wasn’t the first time in history that the martial utility of drugs came into play.
Remember, for instance, the Viking berserks who gave rise to a good English word by munching magic mushrooms before battle, the Saracens who went on cannabis-inspired suicide missions behind the Crusaders’ lines, or the Soviet soldiers in penalty battalions who under the influence of pure ethanol would charge tanks with bayonets.
But none of those people did what they did because they used drugs. They used drugs to remove inhibitions, to make it easier for them to do what they wanted or had to do.
Ascribing suicide bombings to drugs betokens a deliberate refusal to face the real reasons, because doing so would eventually lead to taking intelligent, courageous action – or at least reaching intelligent, courageous conclusions. Our culture of multi-culti probity makes this impossible.
Dr Pemberton presents scientific, and Peter Hitchens emotive, arguments against legalising marijuana, and I for one agree with them – but not in this context. Ban cannabis or any other poison, and this won’t eliminate the poison of Islamic propaganda flooding the brains of young Muslims.
Not recognising this is disingenuous and not particularly clever. Worse still, it does untold harm to the cause of anti-terrorism. Correct action can only result from correct thought, which linking terrorism with drugs isn’t. Far from it.