Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We are guilty, but are we wrong?

An interesting statement by brother rf prompted this post. Surprisingly,I agree in part with the following:

“… but some of the stuff [Wright] said about American foreign policy is more or less standard political fare for an R congressman (who may still be running for prez) and certainly for a good chunk of us D's.”

TRS concedes the point. Many aspects of our foreign policy have provoked the Islamic fundamentalists against us. Ron Paul, Jeremiah Wright and many Americans have observed the cause and effect relationship between American policy, and culuture, and the fundamentalist Islamic hatred of us. I am sure that many of our readers would agree that the following are among a few of such well established causae bellus:

Our creation of the state of Israel and continued virtually unconditional support for Israel in the six decades since is, of course, the most significant source of Islamic hatred of and rage against the West in general and the United States.

Our thirty year aggressive international support for the rights of women enrages radically reactionary Islamic fundamentalists.

Our support for global freedom of expression includes the occasionally grossly offensive publication of pictures (Danish cartoons) or texts (Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses”) that criticize or ridicule the Prophet.

Our laws do not recognize Sharia as the fundamental law or, at least in most Western democracies (generously defined to include Russia and Latin America for purposes of the argument) provide Sharia as an alternative judicial system, a source of bitter resentment, especially among segments of Islamic immigrant families throughout Europe and Canada.

Our culture permits a licentiousness that by its very vulgarity offends fundamentalist Islam, and everyone else who has seen “Flavor of Love 3” or “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Remember what the Cindy Sheehan and John Kerry approved Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said about the mere presence of homosexuals in Iran?

So, Ron Paul and Rev. Jeremiah Wright and those with whom they agree are absolutely right when they say that conscious policy decisions have produced rage against America in the fundamentalist Islamic world. They are every bit as right as those who have correctly discerned that Pearl Harbor was a direct result of FDR’s economic strangulation of Japan because of Japan’s undeclared war in China.

But the real question is not whether American policy caused the attack of 9.11.01 (or 12.7.41 for that matter) but whether those attacks were deserved? Implicit in the rhetoric of the angry left, and, coincidentally in the rhetoric of Islamic fundamentalism, is the assertion that the attacks were morally justified because they were proximately caused by American policy choices.

Should the United States limit or condition its support for Israel? Given the Syrian and Iranian denial of Israel’s right to exist, how long do you think that it would take Iranian and Syrian funded and armed terror arms to exterminate Israel? God knows the Iranians and the Syrians and their minions in Hamas and Hezbollah certainly identify the extermination of Israel as their official policy.

Should the United States cease its economic and diplomatic support for women’s rights? Drop the demand that all nations allow girls the same education as boys so as not to offend the many Islamic fundamentalists who believe women should not be schooled after age 8 (or is it 11?)?

Should we do something crazy like attack a treaty ally, without UN approval, who posed us no threat to protect the human rights of a few thousand Muslims? Oh, wait, we already tried that one and now a whole new group of people hate us, burning our embassy in Belgrade like it was in Tripoli or Damascus.

If you aren’t prepared to address these questions directly, touch gently in national self-flagellation.

18 comments:

RF said...

Sporer,

Kudos to you for moving on from the D sex scandals and posting a very interesting piece. You know, there would have been another New York sex scandal to cover today.

Anyways, this is excellent. It's refreshing to have a discussion about these issues that goes behind "they did it (9/11) because they hate freedom" emptiness. What po'd me more than anything else after 9/11 was that the question "why they hate us?" was raised often, but no honest discussion was ever had on the topic. As you know as a student of history, there is a laundry list of things our government, under presidents of both parties, has done that has caused many people around the world to hate our country. And if we are honest, some that hatred is justified.

With all that, I agree with you on this: "But the real question is not whether American policy caused the attack of 9.11.01 (or 12.7.41 for that matter) but whether those attacks were deserved?"

The Real Sporer said...

Some of the hatred is justified. I can see why the US isn't popular in Latin America, and even more so in Africa, a continent we largely ignored until W came along.

The funny thing to me is why Muslims hate us. All of the usual explanations don't work.

We oppose the most brutal of the Islamic governments and support the most tolerant-very different than Latin America, Africa and SE Asia (sort of there).

The West through the purchase of oil has enriched much of the Islamic world in gross disproportion to their real economic value-they basically have no resource of value but oil.

We pour enormous amounts of money into their countries.

We unleashed the fury of our military twice on Christians to protect Muslims in the last 16 years.

They don't hate our freedom, they hate/envy our modernity itself.

Then again, when I see Flav o Flav or Kim Kardashian I kind of hate us too.

Anonymous said...

A lot of them hate the fact that we have a military presence in Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Wright and Falwell agree. America got what it deserved on 9/11. Now let's reform.

But which reforms shall we adopt? Wright's (stop bombing people) or Falwell's (stop feminism and the ACLU)? ---Spotlight

KenRichards said...

Great job TRS and you are exactly right when you stated the same self-blaming logic works for Pearl Harbor. When put in that context it clearly demonstrates anyone willing to blame 9/11 on the victims is sorely lacking a sense of history and judgement.

The Real Sporer said...

Anon says

"A lot of them hate the fact that we have a military presence in Saudi Arabia"

Indeed they do. Not that we are warring on Saudi Arabia, not that we are seeking to create Western style real estate development around or over Islamic holy sites, and not that we are suppressing or changing the practice of Islam in Saudi Arabia.

No, fundamentalist Islam is so intolerant that they hate, to the point of suicidal violence which strikes me as a pretty intense hatred, the mere presence of American military in Saudi.

Now what sane thought process is so sensitive that a Muslim in Jakarta or Jallabad should be offended to the point of violence by the presence of American troops thousands of miles away being based in Saudi?

If we in the West adopt that logic we should simple use our military power to kill all of the Palestinians in or around Jerusalem, Bethlehem and all of the other Christian holy sites. Moreover, we would consider ourselves justified in killing Pakistanis or Indonesians, or Malaysians or Moroccans as well.

The Real Sporer said...

Spotlight, were we bombing Muslims when they massacred the Israelis at Munich?

Were we bombing people when the Iranians seized our Embassy?

Radical anti Western and anti American sympathies have been growing since long before President Reagan finally began fighting back, on however small a scale.

RF said...

I think we need to acknowledge that the Israeli/Palestinian issue and our long-standing role in that area is the most significant issue when it comes to the hatred of the US in the Islamic world. It seems that general dislike of “western cultural corruption,” most visibly represented by American culture, is another major factor. Of all the people, one would think conservatives would understand that viewpoint.

Of course, none of this justifies terrorism or other extremism. But it does help explain it.

Art A Layman said...

sporie:

A cogent and reasonable post.

Many of us learn early on that "leading" is not the same as pandering. Given the variety of political and religious beliefs around the world, there is no way we can appease them all in our attempt to make this a better world for everyone. This conundrum demands that we choose our efforts and allegiances wisely. We have often failed to do that. We choose alliances, frequently not based on a commonality of justice and freedom, but expediency.

We are now engaged in 2 wars that arguably are the results of our failing to complete previous tasks, because expediency dictated that further efforts were not warranted.

The most difficult, and perhaps, the most futile, problems in attempting to fight Islamic terror is that the enemy is steeped in their interpretation of their religion. These zealots seem locked in a time warp somewhere between the time of Moses and the Inquisition. The Age of Reason and Enlightenment lies ahead for them; at best, in a few generations, at worst, never.

No one with an even cursory acquaintance with the God of Abraham can fathom a religious justification for the heinous acts these terrorists perpetrate.

Not to justify their actions at all, but they have no political voice. They have no venue through which to express their grievances and seek redress. To a great extent this is because there exists no continuity among them as to their grievances. Some seek power; some monetary gain; some justice (admittedly in a perverted sense); most seek only vengeance. There is no action we can take that will mute, let alone moot, their adherence to a religious zealotry. Only wiser, cooler heads in the Muslim community can effect that.

Having injected ourselves directly into this quagmire we have but three choices: Continue the struggle interminably, at great cost, monetarily and human; pull out and let them commence the destruction of the entire Middle East until, hopefully, the inhabitants therein succumb to good sense; nuke the whole area and any other predominately Muslim nation. The latter two choices are not options due to human decency and "oil".

There are no tolerant nations in the Middle East, save Israel, maybe Lebanon, at least not in our definition of the term. Our alliances, predicated on a need for "oil", are, again, expedient, not principled.

Notwithstanding all our other ill-advised political misjudgments, invading Iraq was really stupid. In the eyes of most of the world we were justified in retaliating in Afghanistan. We even had acceptance and aid from Iran, Syria and Russia. Should we have chosen to focus on building a democratic nation there, we could have garnered even greater support from the world. Preemptively invading Iraq, as disliked as Saddam was, fostered a fear of excessive military power misused.

All in all we have a real mess with no end in sight. Thanks Dumbya!

Am a little concerned about your indepth knowledge of Flav o Flav and Kim Kardashian. I am as salacious as they come and I never even heard of them.

Anonymous said...

Sporer asks a question:
"Were we bombing people when the Iranians seized our Embassy?"

No. I don't see how that fits the point I made about Falwell/Wright, but let's take up the 1979 Iranian Embassy story.

A mob seized our embassy and held hostages for over a year. It was not in response to any bombing by the USA, nor did the Iranians kill any hostages.

About 1954 the USA overthrew the Iranian government and installed the Shah of Iran. This was not too popular in Iran. In 1979 they overthrew the Shah. When the Shah got sick, the USA took him in for medical treatment. That's what ticked off the Iranian street and led to demonstrations at the Emabassy and soon to a seizure of the Embassy.

So it was not "bombing" that caused it, but Carter's sheer disrespect for the popular uprising that had deposed a tyrant. Chickens coming home to roost, as Wright and Falwell might say. Blowback is what the policy wonks call it. ----Spotlight

Anonymous said...

They hate us because we are free and because we don't sew our daughters vaginas up when they are two.

Anonymous said...

and they cut off their clitoris.

and the punishment for sitting in the same vacinity as an unrelated male is gang rape.

Yes, the religion of peace. Ahh, diversity. If I only understood them better.

The Real Sporer said...

Spotlight,

First, let us resolve this issue-are you explaining or defending the Iranian hostage seizure? There is a vast difference.
Second, your history is a little “spotty”. Try this book, its great and very even handed in its treatment of the Iranian coup d’état in 1953.

Mohammad Mosaddeq was, if not a communist, very sympathetic to the Soviet Union and very hostile to the United States. Given Iran’s 1000 mile border with our Stalin era Cold War enemy-you have heard of the Soviet Union and the things like the 1950 invasion of South Korea, the Berlin Blockade, the Iron Curtain, the Gulags (real political prisons) etc….., Iran was a very strategic place with vast oil reserves.

You also have overlooked that containment of the Soviet Union without nuclear war, particularly by frustrating the 400 year Russian push to the Indian Ocean, was the one necessary and essential goal of American foreign policy. Everything else was and had to be subordinated to that a priori objective. Every thing the US did back in the hottest days of the Cold War has to be evaluated against that, and not some future, criterion.

You also forgot to mention that, among other policies that were hostile to the West, Mosaddeq’s communist government chased the Shah out of the country. Perhaps you were unfamiliar with the Iranian Constitution of 1906 and 1927 but the Shah was also a part of the legal government, so technically speaking, the Anglo-American coup merely restored the legal head of state to his proper and legal position in the Iranian government.

Finally, to follow your logic, since national grudges can be revenged after a generation, surely seizing our Embassy, which is an act of war, can be justified by terror killing of innocents not even alive when the offense was given, are we then not justified in terror killing of Iranians-of which we have capacity to do by the millions and not the thousands as Iranians have done?

Or are revenge killings only acceptable to liberals when it’s Americans who are being killed.

The Real Sporer said...

The hyperlink didn't work. This is the book referenced above.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0815630182/qid=1087850554/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-4023170-9782426?v=glance&s=books

Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran (Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East)

Mark J. Gasiorowski (Editor), Malcolm Byrne (Editor)

The Real Sporer said...

Finally, I think that you have also mistaken the nature of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

The Shah wasn't overthrown because he was viewed as a repressive tyrant. The Shah was overthrown because he was relatively modern and small "l" liberal for the times and place.

The Ayatollah came to power on the wings of a very repressive, ultra rejectionist religous facist revolution. Mohammad Reza Shah's government was attacked because of its dangerously radical notions like women's suffrage, modern law instead of Sharia law, seperation of church and state, etc........

So, Spotlight, you think the bloodbaths that have followed the Clerical TotState in Iran are better for the world, and especially our large American corner of it, than things were when the friendly very proAmerican, and semi Western Shah, with both 2500 years of legitimacy behind his name and the support of the entire Western and modern world governed Iran.

But hey, thanks for playing.

The Real Sporer said...

On a closing note, does not every policy have blowback?

What do you suppose the Germans of 1945 thought about the Germans of 1917's decision to send Lenin to Imperial Russia. It worked great-in 1917.

Then we entered the war and took out Germany. We entered into the Treaty of Versailled, destroyed the German economy and created the environment that enabled Hitler.

We supported Stalin in the war against Hitler, that empowered Stalin.

The need to contain the Sovs empowered shit bags like Saddam, and Noriega.

Cleaning up those messes have led us to the current mess.

History, a concept of which liberals are typically only superficially aware, is what we call the foregoing.

Whew.... I've got blisters on me fingers.

Erich Riesenberg said...

You almost made it through a post with a reasonable discussion, rather than political hackishness. Close, but no cigar.

Is this an example of the lack of historical understanding you deplore? Scary stuff, explains a lot about the "current mess" as you describe it.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gtqD_x9yYIuq_7S2dimSjMV5qRmg

Cheers, neighbor.

Anonymous said...

Sporer hasn't answered yet so I'll ask the question, what's your point?

McCain made a tounge slip-so?

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