Friday, April 22, 2005

Whence terrorism?

Paleo-conservatives believe that Islam and liberty are mutually exclusive. Trying to liberate a Muslim nation, to them, is the height of absurdity. The ancient and backward Muslims are not capable of appreciating the fruits of democracy, in their view. The perspective that American intervention in the Middle East has spawned the terrorism we now witness derives from this point of view.

However, the idea that U.S. intervention is the real reason for terrorism melts away when the discussion focuses on the beliefs of themost radical thugs of the Muslim world about the U.S.

For example, it was an Egyptian, Mohammed Atta, who led the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. What intervention by the U.S. in his home country prompted his hatred for the U.S.? Was it that that the U.S, sent billions of dollars to re-supply Egypt’s military? Do good Egyptians attack their benefactor?

In Saudi Arabia, in addition to paying huge sums for Saudi oil over the years, the U.S. responded to a Saudi request for troops to help protect them from attack by Saddam Hussein. A Saudi, al Qaeda leader Ossama bin Laden, masterminded the 9-11 attacks. Did he object to the U.S. helping his country? Should we expect that to anger patriotic Saudis?

No, something else was and is behind Muslim terrorism. And, it’s much less interesting to the “Hate America First” crowd than their preferred reason: That the U. S. is to blame for terrorism, both at home and around the world.

And who can better answer the question of why they did it than those who unleashed the horrors of terrorism on the U.S.? From the horses’ mouths comes the evidence.

"Democracy, as a form of government is already bankrupt in the West. Why should it be imported to the Middle East?" - Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian who guided the thinking of many of today's radical Islamists, who as a student in the U.S. in the 1940s had the opportunity to be appalled at our free society up close.

Osama Bin Laden himself says he hates the United States because it refuses to submit to the law of Allah. You Americans, he has said, “chose to implement your own inferior rules and regulations, thus following your own vain whims and desire.”

Second fiddle to bin Laden is Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, who also has condemned democratic institutions as "un-Islamic." "We have declared a bitter war against the principle of democracy and all those who seek to enact it," Zarqawi said in an audiotape released just before Iraq's Jan. 30 parliamentary vote. "Candidates in elections are seeking to become demigods, while those who vote for them are infidels,” he said of the first efforts at democracy in the 7th century minds of Islamic fascists.

These ideologues are intensely focused on protecting their own selfish interests. They realize that when their narrow, selfish, repressive, supremacist, totalitarian values are juxtaposed with freedom and democracy, nearly all Muslims prefer freedom and democracy. As Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said, the fundamental values embraced in the U. S. are “seductive.”

He recognizes, as do Islamic fascists like bin Laden and Zarqawi, that ideas such as self-rule and tolerance are more inspiring and appealing than the poisonous brew of Islamism, fascism and terrorism that bin Laden, Zarqawi and the other small men with small ideas try to impose.

Fear, not U.S. intervention in the Middle East, is the primary force for terrorism, the fear that the narrow, repressive philosophy of Islamic fascism will die quickly in a democratic Iraq, and these oppressors will be out of business. That view is supported by military historian Victor Davis Hanson, who said that September 11 “was the wage of decades of American appeasement and neglect (emphasis mine) – a pathological Middle East left alone to blame others for its own self-induced mess.” So, in the view of Victor Hanson, it is not the intervention of the U.S. in the Middle East that has spawned terrorism, it is the reluctance of the U.S. to aggressively support democratic movements in the Middle East that has allowed the radical Islamists to grow in strength sufficiently to successfully attack the U.S. on its own territory.

It takes force to defeat a violent and determined enemy, and it takes good ideas to beat bad ideas. The U.S. must use both in this fight.


Chuck Hollis said...

While I consider myself to be a liberal - well, more accurately "New School Democrat" - I found this post very interesting and informative.

I agree with Thomas P.M. Barnett's thoughts on the "functioning core". Terrorist nations will move away from terrorism and towards more "Western" ideas and societal norms.

Finally, moving on to the semi-related topic of Iraq. When all was said and done, my problem with the invasion of Iraq wasn't so much that we did it, it was more because I felt the American people were either lied to about the reasons or that our administration was inept in their intelligence analysis. I'm not sure what's worse.

Again, good post.

James Shott said...

Thanks for stopping by. I noticed that you are filling in for Brad. Welcome.

Our intelligence was, indeed, faulty, and that is certainly reason for concern.

I believe, however, that while we overestimated Saddam Hussein's actual involvement with WMD, he had clear intentions in that regard, and we all know he had them in the past.

Either way, I'm not at all sorry that he is gone, and I believe the world in general, and the Mid-East in particular, are and will be far better off as a result.

Chuck Hollis said...

I just realized I didn't complete one of my thoughts in my earlier comment. The second line should have read:

"I agree with Thomas P.M. Barnett's thoughts on the "functioning core". After being exposed to democracy and being brought into the global economy, terrorist nations will move away from terrorism and towards more "Western" ideas and societal norms."

Finally, you said "Either way, I'm not at all sorry that he is gone, and I believe the world in general, and the Mid-East in particular, are and will be far better off as a result." I agree.