Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Once and For All: "They" Hate Our Foreign Policy, NOT Our Freedom

I am so sick of hearing the false notion that "they hate our freedom" constantly being used as some sort of excuse as to why this must be a war without end. It may not sound as good in a country song, but "they" hate our foreign policy. I'm not sure why people seem to have such a problem with accepting the fact that our misadventures in the middle east and all over the world have consequences. When we intervene in foreign affairs there are consequences; it's only logical!

It is naive to think that the United States can traipse around the world lending support to some groups, dehumanizing other groups, and sending our military about at the drop of a hat without facing any repercussions. It also shows a dire lack of maturity when a grown man or woman can look you in the eyes and repeat what they have been told, that we have absolutely no part in what happens to us, that we're not to blame at all, that we are not responsible for our own actions.

We hear about "the terrorists" and how they allegedly hate our freedom, but the average Joe does not bother to look into it further. It is simply accepted as fact. On the contrary, bin Laden himself cited six US policies:

"1: The bases in Saudi Arabia

2: Unquestioning support for Israel (The 1996 Fatwa came on the heels of the first Qana massacre in Lebanon)

3: The no-fly zone bombings and blockade of Iraq which killed hundreds of thousands of people (now replaced on the jihadist sales pitch list by the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan which have killed hundreds of thousands more)

4: Support for dictators across the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, etc.)

5: Pressure on the oil producing states to keep their prices set where America wants them

6: Support for Russia, China and India in their wars against Muslims

This is why al-Qaeda is not just bin Laden and Zawahiri sitting around hating "the Jews" and American culture from their mother's basement. They have a following because they point at concrete examples of how the U.S. government makes life worse for the average guy in the Islamic World – when it's not taking it from him outright."

That bit of insight is from Michael Scheuer, former head analyst at the CIA's bin Laden unit. The next piece of information comes from a Pentagon report from 2004:

"Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies [the report says]. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy."

These are the facts, from the CIA and the Pentagon. Keep this in mind as you witness the continuous onslaught of misinformation put forth by the media and politicians.

Here's yet another piece from then Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz:

"There are a lot of things that are different now [that the U.S. occupies Iraq], and one that has gone by almost unnoticed – but it’s huge – is that … we can now remove almost all of our forces from Saudi Arabia. Their presence there over the last 12 years has been a source of enormous difficulty for a friendly government. It’s been a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda.

“In fact if you look at bin Laden, one of his principle grievances was the presence of so-called crusader forces on the holy land, Mecca and Medina. I think just lifting that burden from the Saudis is itself going to open the door to other positive things."

“I don’t want to speak in messianic terms. It’s not going to change things overnight, but it’s a huge improvement.”

I'm not big on conspiracy theories...wait, I am, so here's this for kicks.

::Update::

I am NOT saying that murdering innocent American citizens is justifiable, as some commentors have suggested. I am also fully aware that many of our foreign enemies disagree with our lifestyle as well as our foreign policy, but as one commentor has said: "which one do you think motivated twenty people to come half-way across the world and kill themselves just to strike a blow against America? The fact that you're directly responsible for their countries being shit-holes and the deaths of friends, family-members and groups they identify with, or the fact that our women wear revealing tops?"

::Update 2::

Alright I'm back. Consider the following:

I concede that these terrorists do also hate a large part of western society simply because our way of life differs from theirs, as dictated by their religious beliefs. It was a bit hasty of me to turn this into a black and white argument; likewise, I acknowledge that many Muslim leaders preach hate and violence. That being said, I believe these things to be secondary and vastly inferior to the issue of our foreign policy.

I stand with Mr. Scheuer in my belief that the ability of terrorist leaders to cite specific examples of how US foreign policy negatively affects their daily lives is the primary factor in whether or not hateful feelings become terrorist activity. Individuals commit hate crimes in every country, but hate alone does not organize an army, lest we would have anti-gay (etc.) militias here in America.

Consider the United States military bases spread throughout the world; now turn the tables - let's say that China has military bases everywhere, including inside the US. Now let's say that China has continuously funded and supported a country that regularly disrupts the US government or even attacks the US; do you think the fact that there's a Chinese military presence in your town has no effect on the situation? Does it make it better or worse?

Nick has asked what I perceive as the correct course of action with regard to our foreign policy. I believe, first and foremost, that we should stick to the Constitution and the advice of the founding fathers. That is, honestly assess all problematic situations to first determine whether or not they are a threat to our national security. If there is no direct or foreseeable future threat, I do not believe military action (or any threatening action) should be taken. Militarily, I believe we should take on a non-interventionist stance. You bring up the situation in China. Until they take some sort of action that threatens our national security, I do not believe we should "coerce" them; if we interfere with China's internal affairs simply because we disagree with them, what's to stop us from interfering with every other country whose internal affairs are not to our liking? However, do not take this non-intervention as appeasement. I am fully aware of the lessons of WWII.

30 comments:

  1. Really interesting and I agree completely. It's like evaluating the reasons for why 9/11 occurred makes you a traitor.

    I also wrote a post about why Ron Paul was right about the origins of 9/11 that you may like.

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  2. 1. Wouldn't changing your foreign policies just result in a different set of enemies? Or perhaps the same set of enemies, but for different reasons?

    2. How is your country different from anyone else's? Simply that it actually has the strength to pursue its foreign policies more successfully?

    Opinion: how large a factor do you think that blind anti-semitism and/or blind anti-Americanism (or jealousy) plays? None at all? It's all foreign policy?

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  3. You are correct when you stick to discussing the believes at the Top level of terrorist organizations.

    However, you totally neglect looking at the Lowest levels- where the people carrying out the terrorists attacks are recruited. It is there that Radical Islamic groups that do in fact preach hatred for our Freedom, for the rights of our women, for our rights of freedom of religion, etc.

    So, yes, technically you are correct but this post is very misleading.

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  4. You are weak, and definitely do not understand the root of the problem.

    In simple terms: You are a Kufaar, I am a Kufaar. And that will always be reason enough to have a war waged on us.

    Why is the subject so actual?
    1.7 billion Muslims, fastest growing religion in the world, fastest growing religion in America, most influent religion in Europe. And plenty of naive people like you who will look to rationalize the terror in terms they comprehend.

    Now you can blame yourself all you want, but know that no foreign policy, no land for peace agreements will ever work. This until our subjugation to Chariah or death.

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  5. that is exactly right... and GW will never admit it, b/c he is deeply in love and in bed the corporations who benefit from our foriegn policy (Reagan championed the free markets and entrepreneurs, not the corpoaration, which is a big difference)

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  6. "However, you totally neglect looking at the Lowest levels- where the people carrying out the terrorists attacks are recruited. It is there that Radical Islamic groups that do in fact preach hatred for our Freedom, for the rights of our women, for our rights of freedom of religion, etc."

    ever had a chat with radical orthodox jews? ask them about their views. they are not exactly peace loving, freedom respecting dudes. also please check how they treat women in general before you open your mouth.

    "our women" - how many you got? you polygamist pervert - i will let the pope know about you.

    "So, yes, technically you are correct but this post is very misleading."

    as misleading as you are trying to be.

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  7. I guess you missed bin Laden's last statement where he said one of the reasons they were fighting us was that we "make up our own laws" instead of following the laws of his god.

    That alone should convince you. Period.

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  8. While I completely agree that US foreign policy is causing lot of harm to people around the world and to US itself, I don't agree at all with your point #6 about US's support to India for India's war against Muslims.

    There is no such thing as India's war against Muslims. If you are referring to Kashmir issue, then I should point out to you that it is a matter of contention between India and Pakistan. If you follow the news, there are basically three groups in Kashmir, one that wants independent Kashmir, one wants to be with India and other wants to be with Pakistan. Now Kashmir is still a part of India and it cannot allow foreign fighters funded by Pakistan to enter and kill innocent people and claim that the struggle is from within.

    If you read the news reports closely, most Kashmiri youths are lead to Pakistani camps and brought back to create trouble and when the Indian military tries to deal with it, they are accused of so-called War on Muslims. For the record, India has the one of highest population of Muslims anywhere in the world, even higher than some Arab and Islamic countries.

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  9. Likewise...

    "Our troops"

    Do not equal...

    "This war"

    Or anything any other potentially related but completely inequivalent subject.

    Twisting so, so many people into seeing "our troops" as the target of virtually any dissenting political opinion spoken in the last 4 years is truly a work of diabolical genius.

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  10. Robert Vollman,
    In regards to you questions:

    1) it's unlikely we'd have as many enemies, and those that remained wouldn't be able to point to our foreign policies as a source of outrage to recruit followers.

    2) I wouldn't call US foreign policy very "successful". It's expensive and fails to accomplish it's stated goals on a regular basis.

    Like I said with regards to question 1, I think there would still be people pissed off about women showing cleavage, but a tiny fraction of them would be angered enough to blow themselves up over here for it.

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  11. i would just like to comment on a couple of these comments.

    q. Wouldn't changing your foreign policies just result in a different set of enemies?

    a. interventionist policies create what the cia calls blowback. without interventionism, much of the impetus for action on whatever arbitrary hate you might imagine from whatever group. the basic fact of the matter is that violence is expensive and, unless there is a direct return for the effort, it is unlikely to occur, no matter how much it is felt or talked about.

    but yes, if one interventionist policy is traded for another we have a clear case of 'rearranging the deckchairs on the titanic'

    q. how large a factor do you think that blind anti-semitism and/or blind anti-Americanism (or jealousy) plays?

    a. clearly there are "hate crimes" in america that happen with some frequency, and so it is difficult to say that it is a null factor. however, violence is expensive while hate is cheap and self-rewarding. action on a massive scale is much more difficult to pull off when the feeling of hate comes from sentiment rather than direct and obviously attributable action.

    statement: You are a Kufaar, I am a Kufaar. And that will always be reason enough to have a war waged on us.

    refute: many groups have many derogatory slang terms for all sorts of people that they would theoretically love to see blown off the face of the earth. these people have no power because there is very little in the way of return for mass violence against their preferred target. to the contrary, our presence in the area gives their theoretical hate both substance and a target. if it is that much of a worry we can defend our own land and let them waste the resource it would take to actually attack us.

    statement: I guess you missed bin Laden's last statement where he said one of the reasons they were fighting us was that we "make up our own laws" instead of following the laws of his god.

    refute: bin laden only has power because people follow him. people follow him because he hates at those who actively cause turmoil in their backyards. i personally think its awfully stupid to follow a theocracy. i have no power or inclination to stop it. maybe it will stir some heartfelt prayer, but i have a hard time believing this is enough to convince the average poppy farmer to strap a bomb to their back.

    looks like in all my signing in someone beat me to some of these, but i hope this has been helpful to someone. i think this was a fantastic and much needed blog post.

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  12. If you read the original translated document you'll also see that bin Laden specifically outlines certain freedoms that we allow in our society that Islam (and sure, Judaism and Christianity) deems immoral, ie the fact our entire financial system is basically founded on usury and we "allow" women to walk around in next to nothing. I mean, I agree, we're to blame for a lot of this, but they've got a moral, god-given agenda that exceeds our foreign policies, and this article is based on a selective reading of what bin Laden actually said.

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  13. Personally, I think it's a combination of both.

    The ruling Muslim class (jihadist organizers) hate American foreign policy, and use their influence to incite the masses to hate American "freedom".

    Can you have one without the other? Not really.

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  14. There is legitimacy on both sides of this argument. Take a look at
    Undercover Mosque, a BBC documentary on extremism in British mosques.

    These muslim leaders are telling their followers to distrust and hate westerners for their choice of religion and for their choice of lifestyle.

    This is not to say that people in countries we have bombed or "sanctioned" don't hate us for our policy, but rather to say that their hatred is amplified because non-believers are imposing their will on the people of the middle east.

    Both points are important, but just as it is naive to think that foreign policy plays no part in fostering hatred of the West, it is also naive to ignore the fact that our freedoms provoke their hatred too.

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  15. This is all irrelevant. Whether they hate our "freedom" or our policies, they still choose to kill innocents, themselves, and as many of us as they possibly can. Reasons aside, this is enough to be at war.

    Besides, fuck em if they disagree with our policies; America is the best fucking country in the world, and whether you disagree with America's foreign policy or not, you can't intelligently dispute this.

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  16. Why is it that your leaders insist that it is ok to kill people for showing cleavage? i personally believe that killing someone is far worse that some "boobs". Maybe just maybe they are pissed becasue their weomen dont look as sex as ours. This shit is never going to end until one group wipes out the other, fortunately for us we have the better bombs and as soon as you radical retards bomb us again everyone in america is gonns Nuke your ass. Go ahead and attack us again and see how long it takes before we wie your fuckin country off the map, PROBLEM SOLVED no more dumbass radicals. I do however agree with one of your ideals we should pull out of your countries bring our troops home, lock our borders, guard em with our troops and say fuck you when yo ask us to fix your fucked up problems. Thing is we try and try to fix your shit but you hate us for it. You blame all our problems on us yet yo spend all your money problems on bombs instead of education and improving your country, your brainwashed fucking retards and i cannot wait for the day that Israel wipes you fuckers out. Yes i Support Israel, Yes theystoe your land. Read a fuckin history book, every country that exists was taken over at some point in time, move on and as i said use your money for something useful instead of Jihad. How many billions do your fat ass leaders stuff in their pockets from oil? How many of your sultans and leaders indulge in the same things that they claim to hate? Do you not think that they are having orgies in their palaces? Remember money is the root of all evil un der all circumastances, the have nots want what they dont have. Channel your energy and money into somehting positive and then i wont have to have my family dying to come and kill your fucking retarted people. Get educated, Moivated towards a positive goal other than killing americans or prepare to get Burned by Real bombs, you think that you have it bad now? wait until you bomb us again and all the liberals get behind killing you, you keep bombing uss and all of America will support the war, then you shall see how fucked up bush and our government is. Keep it up and you will learn what a Jihad has caused, Remember where the power is it isnt you numbnuts its us.

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  17. and yes i do need to learn how to spell, type and or use spellchecker so get past that

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  18. Well said. They don't hate our "freedom", they hate imperialistic policies. Bush has created these policies to feed his obsession for power and so his profiteering buddies can legally steal from the tax paying public. What's even more pathetic is the great percentage of the American people who sit back and do nothing about it while Bush and the boys invade sovereign nations. Too many Americans don't want to be bothered with "thinking." As long as they get their high def, porn and credit cards they feel all is well. The irony is that Bush talks about their contempt for freedom, while all the time he strips the public of their freedom and rights under the cloak of the Patriot Act.

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  19. *applause *standing ovation

    *also has anyone seen a palestian children show

    its fucked up in all angles

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  20. Now tell me what did the Phillipinos, Nigerians, Thais. French, Japanese, Indians, Sudanese, etc. do to provoke their attacks?

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  21. Tell me what the Clinton administration did to provoke their attacks.

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  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  23. Publius, I'm curious: assuming you are correct, what do you perceive as the correct course of action?

    "Foreign policy," of course, includes trade and diplomatic incentives alongside military action.

    Should we in the west kowtow to undesirable regimes simply because we won't like the consequences if we intervene? Is it better to let China get on with its business of interning political dissidents, or should we put some pressure here and there - which may well have undesirable consequences - to coerce them toward greater freedom?

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  24. Now this makes sense. It ISN"T about oil. It is about military bases. ((( “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” [Salon, 3/15/2004] From Bush’s first cabinet meeting in January 2001, the focus will be on getting rid of Hussein.))))

    The only way we could get out of Saudi Arabia was to make a place for us to go....i.e. Iraq.

    I said it back in 1991 or 1992 (when I was 16 or 17, mind you), George HW Bush didn't go into Kuwait and Iraq to kill Saddam Hussein because HE NEEDED him there. He was a stable unit that allowed the US to stay in the region. We would have no reason to be over there (protecting our oil intersts) if Hussein was gone.

    It isn't the OIL, stupid.

    PS
    Your president lied to YOU.

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  25. First off, good article.

    About some of the comments of how the Middle East hates our way of life... it's actually kind of ironic.

    The radicals in the Middle East are able to convince the moderates that the US invasions and the deaths of family members and friends are there because they hate the Islamic way of life. Because of all the anger and the already existent hate, it's not hard to adopt that view as we already saw in...

    9-11, where after, there was so much hate and anger that the radicals were able to convince people in America that it happened because the Middle Eastern countries that don't like us hate our way of life.

    Huh.

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  26. The USA is getting scarier by the minute.

    There may be people, and A LOT of people who are just insane, who have problems with what women wear etc.

    But the USA keeps giving those people excuses for hating the modern world. Keeps giving them excuses to recruit an army. Keeps giving them excuses to persuade otherwise peaceful people into a war.


    Don't forget: religious beliefs get stronger when oppressed. Check the history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, how they became widely accepted beliefs.

    Do you think the Egyptians were doing anything different? Or the Romans? Or the Arabs who don't believe in Islam?

    When oppressed, you give people reasons to hate you. You give them reasons to "believe in an afterlife" because their current life sucks.

    It is one thing to defend your way of life. It is another to invade others way of life. Don't fail to see that difference because of your delusions of grandeur.

    Maybe it is a good time to realize that you are being lied by your President.

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  27. I completely agree to your point of view: Aggressive the foreign politics do not foster sympathy towards the United States of America.

    Actually one could go a step further and argue that no aggressive politics foster sympathy. This is not only the case for the United States of America, but also for the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (also known as North Korea) and many other nations or political groups.

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  28. These reasons are crap.

    1: The bases in Saudi Arabia

    terrorists attacked us in the 80's before we had bases in Saudi Arabia

    2: Unquestioning support for Israel (The 1996 Fatwa came on the heels of the first Qana massacre in Lebanon).

    I suppose supporting the existence of Israel is called unquestioning. Until Hamas took over their government we had been giving them millions every year in aid. We have also asked Israel many times to back off or for restraint after attacks from the Palistinans.

    3: The no-fly zone bombings and blockade of Iraq which killed hundreds of thousands of people (now replaced on the jihadist sales pitch list by the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan which have killed hundreds of thousands more)

    The no-fly zone PREVENTED many mass murders of Iraqi people from Saddam's death squads. The blockade related deaths are bullshit propaganda aimed at weakening UN support for sanctions. At the same time thousands of Iraqis were supposedly starving to death, Saddam was building elaborate palaces.

    4: Support for dictators across the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, etc.)

    Well, I suppose you could say that we supported Saddam too. And when we take him out it seems to be even more of a reason to hate us. So which is it?

    5: Pressure on the oil producing states to keep their prices set where America wants them

    Pressure to keep their prices low FOR THE WORLD. Unless you think developing third world countries can afford high fuel prices which lead to devastating economic repercussions. This is the dumbest reason given. If we should not pressure for lower fuel prices, why have embassies and international trade organizations at all? This is exactly what are government should be doing.

    6: Support for Russia, China and India in their wars against Muslims

    You mean keeping our noses out of their affairs? Isn't this what you want our foreign policy to be in the Middle East? By the way, didn't we support muslims during the Serbian/Albanian conflict? We stopped a genocide and our thanks are 6 survivors from that conflict planning to kill US soldiers at Fort Dix.

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  29. Mr. "these reasons are crap,"

    This is bin Laden we're talking about. No one is saying that these "reasons" aren't disputable. However, your explanations are grossly inadequate considering the complexity of each point.

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  30. I agree in the fact that most times we're seen as the People who wants to take over others economy while the truth is that some of our politicians and some of the major corporations (food industry, for Latin America; Tech Corporations, in the case of Asian Countries; to mention some cases), grease up foreing countries politicians' pockets to get a deal from which foreign countries citizens would get no benfit at all. Let's use India as an example. Why is the reason that the wealthy tech corporations are setting their customer support depts. in countries like that? Simple; cheap workforce. And what do they get as a result? A temporary relief to the crisis of unemployment due to overpopulation. Another example, Clothing Industry. Why do they have the factories in places like Mexico, Guatemala and other Central American countries? And why do they, then, label their clothes as "Made in USA" (some do it)? Cheap workforce. Exploitation paying low wages. This is a common case in foreign countries. And let's take into account the fact that some corporations get wonderful "Tax Exemption" deals. So, even if we do not affect directly the workforce population in those countries by some type of abuse, corporations or politicians of our country do. Like in the case of the well mentioned "Free Trade Agreements" that only benefits major Food Corps (as in the case of Wal-Mart) and foreing countries politicians benefit from and damages the profits that farmers from both sides count on. Just to mention some...

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