Paul Lachine

Les terroristes sont-ils fous ?

ORLANDO – L’un des malentendus les plus répandus sur les causes du terrorisme est la notion selon laquelle les terroristes doivent être « fous » pour agir comme ils le font. Cette idée est aussi fausse que rassurante.

Les Conservateurs aux Etats-Unis, par exemple, s’insurgent fréquemment contre la « démence » des terroristes islamiques, et jugent les tentatives pour comprendre le terrorisme comme autant de démarches d’apaisement ou de libéralisme débridé. Au lendemain du 11 septembre 2001, en particulier, ils étaient nombreux à droite à considérer par erreur cet effort de compréhension ou d’explication des actions terroristes comme une forme de tolérance.

Nous avons déjà connu cela, cependant. Après la seconde guerre mondiale, le mythe du « nazi fou » avait exercé une très forte emprise sur les esprits ; indubitablement, seuls des individus fous pouvaient être à l’origine d’une chose comme l’Holocauste. Mais les recherches en sciences humaines et sociales dans les années 40 et 50, y compris les entretiens avec les dirigeants nazi survivants, ont démontré que les membres de la hiérarchie gouvernementale allemande n’étaient pas seulement sains d’esprit, mais aussi extrêmement intelligents.

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