Sunday, October 17, 2010

They hate us for our occupations.

George Bush famously claimed of terrorists that, "they hate our freedoms", which many of us thought was ludicrous. If they hated our freedoms, why weren't they attacking Sweden or Norway?

Glenn Greenwald highlights a 2004 report, commissioned by Donald Rumsfeld, which addresses the question of, "Why do they hate us?" It concludes:

"Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies": specifically, "American direct intervention in the Muslim world" through our "one sided support in favor of Israel"; support for Islamic tyrannies in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia; and, most of all, "the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan".
Does that conclusion surprise anyone? I mean, seriously? I well remember after 7-7, the government of Tony Blair attempted to argue that there was no link between that terrorist atrocity and our involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I found that claim ludicrous at the time.

Now, Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor and former Air Force lecturer, is to present his findings on Capitol Hill arguing that suicide terrorism around the world since 1980 has had a common cause: military occupation.

"We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns, ... and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100 percent of the terrorist campaign," Pape said in an interview last week on his findings.

Pape said there has been a dramatic spike in suicide bombings in Afghanistan since U.S. forces began to expand their presence to the south and east of the country in 2006. While there were a total of 12 suicide attacks from 2001 to 2005 in Afghanistan when the U.S. had a relatively limited troop presence of a few thousand troops mostly in Kabul, since 2006 there have been more than 450 suicide attacks in Afghanistan — and they are growing more lethal, Pape said.

Deaths due to suicide attacks in Afghanistan have gone up by a third in the year since President Barack Obama added 30,000 more U.S. troops. "It is not making it any better," Pape said.

That strikes me as blindingly obvious. In our culture we celebrate the men who made up Dad's Army; a group of decent old British men who were prepared to fight Hitler with pitchforks if necessary. Why should it be surprising that there are Muslims who share our genuine outrage at the thought of being occupied?

And why, for so long, were most of the western media allowing George Bush to peddle his nonsensical claim that "they hate our freedoms"?

Click here for Greenwald's article.

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