When asked if 9/11 changed the American foreign policy model to "interventionalism," Rep. Ron Paul answered that it was our pre-9/11 interventionalism -- and the "blowback" that ensued -- that was to blame for terrorism and the 9/11 attacks. This prompted Rudy Giuliani, who maintains like George Bush that they "hate us for our freedoms," to jump in and demand Paul retract his "absurd" statement.
This is a fundamental question that Republicans -- George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani especially -- simply don't understand. They don't "hate us for our freedoms." Not that it any way excuses Bin Laden from leading these horrible attacks on the U.S, but it's simplistic and dishonest to state that it's solely an irrational hatred of our society. Here's what Michael Scheuer, the former station chief of the CIA's Osama Bin Laden task force, has to say:
Osama Doesn't Hate Our Freedom: The fundamental flaw in our thinking about Bin Laden is that "Muslims hate and attack us for what we are and think, rather than what we do." Muslims are bothered by our modernity, democracy, and sexuality, but they are rarely spurred to action unless American forces encroach on their lands. It's American foreign policy that enrages Osama and al-Qaida, not American culture and society.
How is the United States threatening Muslim lands? The post-9/11 crackdowns on Muslim charities have effectively ended tithing, which is one of the five pillars of Islam; our casual denunciations of "jihad" sneer at a central tenet of the Muslim faith. America supports corrupt anti-Muslim governments in Uzbekistan and China, "apostate" governments in the Middle East, and the new Christian state of East Timor. And, above all, it continues to house occupying forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It's simple-minded people like Dinesh D'Souza who argue that it's our culture and "freedom" that are to blame for Islamic terrorism; intellectuals and people who actually know the history of the Middle East and appreciate the ramifications our foreign policy has, like reknowned historian Chalmers Johnson and Michael Scheuer to name a few, who understand the multi-faceted root causes.
As a matter of fact, in videotaped messages before and after 9/11, bin Laden explained his beef with the United States.
In several videotaped messages since 9/11 bin Laden gave very different, specific reasons for the attack, to wit: the U.S.-led embargo of humanitarian aid to Iraq in the 1990s following Gulf War I (in hopes that starving, illness-crazed Iraqis would arise to overthrow Saddam Hussein), later replaced with a corrupt and equally ineffective U.N. food-and-medicine-for-oil program, which together were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children; America's unwavering Israel-first Middle-East foreign policy which has so often ignored the rights of Palestinians and which contributes to so much instability in the region, and the continued, growing presence of U.S. military bases in the Middle East, specifically in Saudi Arabia, the holiest lands in Islam.
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