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Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Essay: Why They Hate Us So -
A great deal of national introspection has occurred since September 11th. Many of us have run the gamut of human emotion, trying to cope with and understand why such a massacre had to happen. We blame, we fuss, we cry, we scream. And, after the emotions subside, we initiate rational thought. Moral equivalence aside (because when thousands of innocents are murdered, there is no moral justification), many Americans are perplexed by this fundamental question: what makes these people hate us (America) so much?
Two overriding issues have been proposed through American media groupspeak (see Orwell's 1984) to begin to rationalize such tactics. One school of thought has postulated that American colonialism is to blame. Another cites American support of Israel as the overriding cause of tension.
In the famous Balfour Declaration of 1917, Britain's Lord Balfour stated the following: "His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
While the US political establishment endorsed the Declaration (mostly to appease Jewish voters), plainly, it was European concerns and not the US that initiated the Zionist occupation of Palestine. Based on the Brit’s justification of Jewish settlement there, it would seem that the militant Islamic community would target Britain with far more malice than the US. So why has the US borne the brunt of Islamic hostility?
Historically, America has shown limited if any desire to colonize the Middle East. In fact, Europe has far exceeded any "world domination" desires that the United States might have had. It is well documented that Britain and France raced to colonize Palestine and surrounding areas around the turn of the century. Some historians maintain that it was Europe's idea to create the Zionist state far before the Jews themselves sought to do so. Because the region served as the center of the Arab world, it benefited Europe to establish a Jewish state there. This occupation also served to get rid what was thought to be an increasingly annoying problem with Jewish settlements in Europe. The Balfour edict would both eliminate that problem, and divide the Arab world into an Asian and an African region. Obviously, the Europeans feared a unified Islamic state.
Insofar as American support of a Jewish state, this is a fact no one can deny, nor should any American apologize for doing so. Israel has been a friend of the US when no friend was to be found. However, support of the Israeli state is not unprecedented, and did not start with the US. In fact, the US was initially neutral to Israel, as Israel was neutral to America regarding the Cold War. It was not the US that supported Israel militarily after WWII, but it was Czechoslovakia, ostensibly under orders of the Soviet Union, that supplied Israel with weapons. The motivation for Soviet arming of the new nation-state was simple: break the British omnipresence in the Middle East by fortifying and fostering the growth of Israel.
Even in the rest of the Middle East, the US has shown throughout its existence a desire to stabilize rather than colonize. In 1956, it was the US that brokered a deal to rid Egypt of Israeli, French, and British invaders. It was not the US that invaded Afghanistan in the past, but first Britain, then the Soviets. In the 70’s, President Carter mediated the Israeli-Egyptian peace accord. World domination has never been a foreign policy goal of America, because such policy is paradoxical to US goals of freedom and individualism. Obviously, colonialism has not been the aim of America either.
So, if colonialism and/or Jewish support were not the root causes of the attacks of 11 SEP, why then haven’t Britain, France, the rest of Europe, and certainly the Soviet Union been targets in the past? Based on past activities, wouldn't it stand to reason that these countries certainly would have been targeted far sooner, and with far more reason than the US?
If these are not the motives for terrorist attacks, what then could possibly incite an entire group of people to dance in the streets at the sight of over seven thousand peaceful, law-abiding Americans dying at the hands of such purveyors of terror? In my opinion, the answer is much more about the very political values American leftists have espoused for years: class envy, victimization, etc. This is about, and has been about, a systematic undermining of the values of Americans for generations. The militants do not desire us to abdicate our military positions in the Persian Gulf, nor does blatant anti-Semitism motivate them. Quite simply, they feel left behind. Those that call for a jihad against us look at their own nations in comparison and they wonder why their system of patriarchy, oppression, and censorship fails; they see Westernization as a threat not only to their philosophies and convictions, but to their very existence. Inevitably, these "states without a nation" desire to maintain their archaic dominance of their peoples by using Islam as a tool to that end. Further, they hate capitalism, self-sustenance, and self-governance. For this, we pay the price of being a successful republic.
For this reason, we cannot expect diplomacy, or international law to prevail here. This is not a civilization in the truest sense. However, we are dealing with an element of fanaticism, one that seeks pure destruction of American individualism and democracy. This is a threat not only to our peace, but to our survival. Until this lunatic fringe is eliminated, or immobilized, and until the moderate Islamic wing of the Middle East is empowered, we can expect nothing less than the vitriol and scorn that spews forth from the region.
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