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Professor Cole has an analysis of the al Qaida doomsday document of the 9/11 highjackers on his blog that he presented recently at a genocide conference.

My own research into genocide leads me to speculate that Juan Cole has identified an important psychological aspect common to spectacular episodes of mass-murder, democide and genocide- that a lenghthy process of repetitive ideation precedes and may be required for action.

Take for example the case of Adolf Hitler. The earliest anti-semitic document historians can connect to Adolf Hitler was in 1919 in a letter he wrote while still employed as a Reichswehr spy in tumultuous Bavaria. Subsequent to that, Hitler’s enunciations of hatred and a desire for elimination of the Jews in public speeches run into the thousands, not including private monologues among Nazi party comrades or thoughts expressed within the confines of his own head. Twenty-two years of such internalized, repetitive hatred would be – to use Juan Cole’s term – “autohypnotic “.

It would be interesting to take a look at the training of the suicide bombers of the Tamil Tigers, of the pre-Khmer Rouge activities of Pol Pot and psychological profiles of apolitical serial killers to see if an obsessive idea or repetitive mental rehearsal is truly a constant in such atrocities and their perpetrators.

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