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Suicide Bombers cover photo

Suicide Bombers 2004


Distributed by Films Media Group, PO Box 2053, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-2053; 800-257-5126
Produced by Discovery Channel
Directed by Pascal Franchot
DVD, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Middle Eastern Studies, Terrorism

Date Entered: 06/07/2005

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

This Discovery Channel production investigates the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks at the Beirut International Airport on 23 October, 1983 and uses this attack to discuss the threat of suicide bombers in general. The viewer is given an historical overview of suicide attacks since the 1983 attack, which is shown to be the father of our present-day scourge. As is normal for productions of this type we have re-enactments, archival still photos and video, computer graphics, and a number of “talking heads”. In this case these include Marine survivors of the attack, Audrey Kurth Cronin (who has done extensive research into the Beirut bombing), several terrorism/security/structural experts, and James Webb, former Marine and Secretary of the Navy, author, and a reporter in Beirut in 1983. From the investigation we learn that the Marine would have had very little chance of stopping the truck that carried the bomb into their barracks. We are also shown security measures that are now employed to frustrate similar attacks. There is a short segment that describes a recently foiled plot that was to have taken place in Jordan against several targets. Technically, this is a flawless production. All of this is very interesting and most informative. Anyone who wishes to know more about what is involved in a suicide bombing and the challenges involved in defeating them needs to see this.