bin laden confidencesuicide bombing

These two charts show dramatic decreases in the confidence that Muslims have in Bin Laden and suicide bombing. There are huge drops from 2008-2009 when Obama took over, but there were also significant decreases all during most of the Bush years.

One pessismistic interpretation however is that confidence in Bin Laden is decreasing, not because confidence in terrorism as a response to globalization/westernization/whatever, but that confidence in Bin Laden the person is decreasing even though confidence in the cause of terrorism may be steady or increasing. As I recently read, and this shows how out of touch I am with current events, Bin Laden is not really considered by the government to be the leader of Al Qaeda anymore. According to the state department, that honor goes to Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the former #2 man of the group. So, it might be that the decline in confidence in Bin Laden really just represents his falling out of favor compared to Al-Zawahiri, and shows nothing about people’s judgment about Al Qaeda’s goals.

As for the suicide bombings, I don’t have a ready-at-hand pessimistic interpretation. Although, just because the general populace becomes more critical of suicide bombings does not necessarily mean there will be less of them. All that matters is that the small minority of those who do believe in suicide bombings continue to exist and to execute attacks.


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