Published July 18 2010
Nelson: Why they hate us obviousFaisal Shahzad recently pleaded guilty to trying to bomb New York City’s Times Square. He read a statement at the plea hearing justifying his failed attempt at murdering as many Americans as he could.
As a “Muslim soldier,” he was fed up with America’s many liberties and prosperity. He was disgusted by liberated women driving cars and hanging out with men who aren’t their husbands. Democracy, he roared, was evil. He felt obliged to bring all these things down.
Oops. My apology. I accidentally tapped into a modern conservative pundit’s thoughts on why “they hate us.” Of course, this pundit says, it has absolutely nothing to do with America’s actions overseas and other than a few mistakes, haven’t we always meant well? Surely it’s radical Islam itself that is driving these terrorists.
Let’s see what the terrorists themselves say. Shahzad said his own attack was to avenge the Afghan men, women and children slaughtered at weddings and elsewhere by drones.
Ramzi Yousef, who led the first bombing of the World Trade Towers in 1993, wrote shortly before the attack that the U.S. was to end all aid to Israel because of what he called its terrorism against Arabs in the Mideast. He also demanded that the U.S. stop meddling with Mideastern countries’ “internal affairs.” Nothing so far about democracy and women in cars.
Osama bin Laden gave three reasons for 9/11: American soldiers on holy soil (Saudi Arabia), supporting Israel against the Palestinians, and the sanctions against Iraq. (President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on TV that the estimated 500,000 Iraqis the sanctions killed “was worth it.”)
The infamous and inept shoe bomber, Richard Reid, wrote that he wanted “to help remove the oppressive American forces from the Muslims’ land.” And so forth.
The gentle reader has perhaps noticed a commonality in what the terrorists are saying. Patrick Buchanan probably said it best when he remarked that “they are over here because we are over there.” It was also Buchanan who noticed that Mideast terrorism against America started after 1967, when we dropped our neutrality and chose sides in the Mideast. America was just as liberated and democratic before 1967 as it was after, yet Muslims didn’t seem to mind until we began meddling. Shocking, isn’t it?
Imagine an era in which America was neutral in the Mideast and acted in its own best interests. Imagine President Dwight D. Eisenhower backing England and Israel down over the Suez Canal and the effect that had on our standing there. Imagine an America not warring and meddling across the globe but gladly trading with all, and siding with none. Just like President George Washington recommended.
But the modcons insist that anything America does is right because it’s America. Thus we can only be attacked and hated because of our beauty, not our actions.
Nelson is a Fargo postal worker and contributor to The Forum’s commentary page. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org