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Jun 22 2012

We should stop asking why they hate us because the answer is obvious

Those of us who have argued that the measures taken by the US in the fight in the bogus ‘war on terror’ are harmful to fundamental rights are sometimes accused of being too complacent. We are charged with erroneously thinking that the chances of the US being subjected to a terrorist attack is small and not realizing that it is only these draconian measures that have kept us safe so far. Take away the drones, the torture, the indefinite detentions without trial, the secret surveillance of all our communications, the excessive airport security, and the US would be subject to another attack. Or so we are told.

This is false. I have said before that I think a major attack in the US is quite likely, not despite these precautions but because of them, and fear of such attacks is irrational. Glenn Greenwald explains clearly the reasons why.

I absolutely believe that another 9/11 is possible. And the reason I believe it’s so possible is that people like Andrew Sullivan — and George Packer — have spent the last decade publicly cheering for American violence brought to the Muslim world, and they continue to do so (now more than ever under Obama). Far from believing that another 9/11 can’t happen, I’m amazed that it hasn’t already, and am quite confident that at some point it will. How could any rational person expect their government to spend a full decade (and counting) invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting huge numbers of innocent children, women and men in multiple countries and not have its victims and their compatriots be increasingly eager to return the violence?

Just consider what one single, isolated attack on American soil more than a decade ago did to Sullivan, Packer and company: the desire for violence which that one attack 11 years ago unleashed is seemingly boundless by time or intensity. Given the ongoing American quest for violence from that one-day attack, just imagine the impact which continuous attacks over the course of a full decade must have on those whom we’ve been invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting.

In light of that, I can’t even conceive of the uncontrolled rage, righteous fury and insatiable desire for violence in which they would be drowning if those attacks lasted not a single day but a full decade, if it involved constant video imagery on American television of dead American children and charred American wedding parties and thousands of Americans imprisoned for years in cages in a distant ocean prison without charges and surveillance and weaponized drones flying constantly over American soil and unignited cluster bombs left on American soil that explode when American children find them.

To support his case, Greenwald looks at the explanations given by those who plotted such attacks as to what made them do it. They are all pretty much the same: rage at what the US has done. Is this really a surprise? What do you think the reaction in the US would have been if an airstrike by a foreign country killed eight children? Or other strikes killed killed rescuers and mourners? It should not be surprising that the US drones are al Qaeda’s best friend.

The willful ignoring by our elites (politicians and the media) of the fundamental reasons for why the US is the primary target of this kind of violence, and their acting aggrieved when it happens, only makes things worse because it allows the continuance of the same actions that are the cause of the violence in the first place.

Prior to 9/11, of course, the U.S. spent decades propping up dictators in that part of that world, overthrowing their democratically elected leaders, imposing devastating sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslim children — literally — and then blithely justifying it like it was the most insignificant problem in the world, arming, funding and diplomatically protecting continuous Israeli aggression, and otherwise interfering in and dominating their countries. There’s a reason they decided to attack the U.S. as opposed to, say, Peru, or South Africa, or Finland, or Brazil, or Japan, or Portugal, or China. It isn’t because The Terrorists put the names of all the countries into a hat and — bad luck for us — randomly picked out the piece of paper that said “The United States.”

The answer to the question as to why they hate us should be so obvious as to be scarcely worth saying.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Wtfbits

    And yet it’s worrying that the discussion is about what might cause a 9/11 rather than the atrocities carried carried out by western powers. It’s almost as if they can be ignored as long as they don’t cause a 9/11.

    Interesting to see a blog in FTB touching on issues that really do matter outside of elevators.

  2. 2
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Interesting to see a blog in FTB touching on issues that really do matter outside of elevators.

    Really? A “Dear Muslima” comment? Because yes, people shouldn’t be worrying about things that affect their lives personally if there are people suffering worse elsewhere.

  3. 3
    Kevin

    To add to this, most of the people that we are fighting against don’t even know what 9/11 refers to. From their perspective, we have invaded their land for no apparent reason and they are defending themselves.

  4. 4
    Wtfbits

    Yes.

    “suffering worse”. Really?

    Only someone morally bankrupt, completely lacking a sense of empathy, someone with no sense of humanity would dare use the word suffering to describe an insignificant inconvenience in the context of a discussion about poor innocent people being bombed to bits.

    Please don’t reply as I won’t either. I have no wish to derail this thread.

  5. 5
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Perhaps “suffering” was a poor choice of words, but frankly you’re the one who brought up the contexts, you’re the one who chose to take this issue and try to score some sort of point against others at FtB. Don’t you dare try to take the moral high ground on this because of my choice of words, not when you’re the one who brought it up in the first place.

  6. 6
    Tabby Lavalamp

    And because I can’t edit my last comment, my quote should be “suffering worse” as the offending part was the “worse”. I should originally have said “Because yes, people shouldn’t be worrying about things that affect their lives personally if there are people suffering elsewhere.”

    There are people dying in the name of religion around the world. Perhaps atheists in the West should stop their whining about government prayers when there is actual suffering?

  7. 7
    grendelsfather

    Sometimes it seems like no matter how much we bomb them, they still don’t love us.

  8. 8
    Leo Buzalsky

    Nice use of the guilt trip fallacy.

    Most of us are familiar with the concept of “guilt-tripping” someone. This is a fallacy. If you try to make someone feel guilty to get them to do, or not do, something, then you are committing this fallacy. Let’s say you are out to eat and someone with you doesn’t finish her food. If you say, “You know there are starving children in Africa so you should finish your food” you are trying to guilt-trip the person into eating the food. Guilt alone shouldn’t be responsible for making someone accept a claim or course of action.

    Oh, and I love how you also said, “I have no wish to derail this thread.” Perhaps you should have thought about that before bringing up elevators.

  9. 9
    Leo Buzalsky

    I had pretty much this same conversation with a coworker just yesterday.

    On a similar note, I’ve been seeing a commercial on TV for the Marines as late talking abut them being the first to take on injustice (or something along that line). Makes me want to vomit.

  10. 10
    Marcus Ranum

    I was out drinking with a guy the other night and he claimed that the US had greatly “helped” Iraq and Afghanistan. I asked (of course) “what about the hundreds of thousands we’ve killed? did we help them, too?” Amazingly, his take was that they’d have died under the Taliban or Saddam pretty much the same, so, whatever.

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