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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3074/g-i-suicide-bombers/

G.I. Suicide Bombers?

February 1, 2005 by

Today’s proposal by the administration that brought us (and them) interminable war in the Middle East to greatly increase the death benefit for combatants may incent American soldiers to take more risks in battle, especially on bad days. While this could improve their effectiveness against opponents who themselves sometimes seem to value their personal lives relatively little, it could disquiet those of the soldiers’ relatives who pause to take the economic view of things.

Eventually, this benefit may also reduce the resistance faced by recruiters—join up, die for your country, and enrich your beneficiary (who dumped you in favor of that nerd who couldn’t find the business end of an M-16). Those with especially venal prospective beneficiaries may even find themselves more encouraged to pursue a military career, the more valorous, the better. Was it Nathan Hale who said, “I regret that I have but one life to sell to my country”?

The families of Muslims who volunteer for suicide missions are compensated well for the loss of their son or daughter. It would seem their adversaries are catching on to the power of this device.


jon February 1, 2005 at 2:04 pm

Mr Potts, if your proposal was not so ridiculous, it would be sickening. Like the left and the right, you’re proving yourself to be a narrow-minded ideolog.

Get out of your pajamas, away from this blog, and into the real world. Meet a few servicemen. Find out whether they really consider the life insurance increase a viable price for committing suicide for politics as you suggest. You’re sure to find that these men are rational and compassionate, things you are nowhere near being today.


David Heinrich February 1, 2005 at 2:32 pm


You missed the point. Mr. Potts was being sardonic.

Nathan Shepperd February 1, 2005 at 4:39 pm

It’s often difficult to bring out in writing, but the fact that this isn’t National Review Online is a pretty big clue.

Vanmind February 1, 2005 at 7:31 pm

Will bounties for scalps become fashionable again soon?

Libertarian Girl February 2, 2005 at 2:37 pm

I think this was written a little tongue and cheek, but it also makes sense.

Very few American soliders actually get killed. If the number is 1000 a year in Iraq, and with the death benefit now being $100,000, this new benefit will only cost $100 million/year. A tiny price compared to the $100 billion/year it costs to maintain the occupation.

Like the author wrote, even the Islamic nutcases understand the motivational value of death benefits.

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