Friday, July 20, 2007

"But Muslim doctors are certainly not the only ones who have become involved in terrorism. Ikuo Hayashi, a distinguished Tokyo physician and chief of circulatory medicine at a leading Japanese hospital, pleaded guilty to planting sarin gas on Tokyo subway trains. Radovan Karadzic, still to answer for the terror and genocide of Srebrenica, is a psychiatrist.

Perhaps the question should be reversed. Why should doctors not be terrorists? In general, it is not the downtrodden, poor, and illiterate who rise to the top in many organizations, whether legitimate or criminal. Doctors are often intelligent, dedicated, hardworking, ambitious, and of high status, so it should be no surprise that they, alongside bankers, lawyers, engineers, and teachers, tend to reach leadership positions in many terrorist organizations. Should we therefore be any less surprised that a medical doctor could become a prime minister of Norway, a U.S. senator, or a British foreign secretary than that a doctor could rise to power in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Al Qaeda?

Clearly, though, there is more to explain. Ambition and the pursuit of power are needed to rise to the top of any organization, but once there, why do some use their position to further their political goals legitimately while others embrace terror and murder?"

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