An Israeli analyst says a disproportionate number of engineers became terrorists because they can't tolerate uncertainty:
What links the following people: the Nigerian who wanted to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day; the two Palestinians arrested at Be'er Sheva's Central Bus Station and who are suspected of reconnoitering for a mass terror attack; Mohammed Abd al-Salam Faraj, leader of the killers of Anwar Sadat; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, planner of the attack on the Twin Towers; Mohamed Atta, who commanded the attack; and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Answer: all are engineers or students of engineering and applied science.
Tom again: Hmm, I wonder that guy in Austin who had a psychotic gripe against the IRS did for a living (besides play bass in a honky tonk band)? Maybe a software engineer?
This is gonna make my next Thanksgiving fun. Half my male relatives are engineers-civil, mechanical, chemical, you name it. Now I'm gonna have to figure out which of them are most likely to snap or blow up their underwear.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.