Friday, April 28, 2006

A Closer Look at Foreign Policy

A Closer Look at Foreign Policy

The media plays along with Bush's big lie about why we were attacked, duping Americans into believing that the 9/11 terrorists' motive was "to alter our very way of life."

No, that is not true. The 9/11 terrorists were motivated by the desire to end specific foreign policies. When President Bush said "America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world" he simply was not telling the truth. See 9/11 motives

When Nat Turner committed acts of terrorism, the same game was played. In 1831, the game was to pretend Turner's terrorism wasn't about the policy of slavery. Today, the game is to pretend that the 9/11 attacks were not about U.S. support of Israel and other oppressive regimes in the Middle East.

Telling the truth in 1831 didn't mean that you thought school children deserved to have their heads chopped off. Being honest about the motives and opposing the policy of slavery didn't mean you thought Turner's terrorism was justified. Can that be any more clear?

The 9/11 Commission reported on the motive of the "mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks." On page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report, it says "By his own account, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel."

The two terrorist pilots who crashed the two planes into the WTC shared the same motivation: Mohammed Atta, the pilot who flew into WTC 1, was described by one Ralph Bodenstein, who traveled, worked and talked with him, as "most imbued actually about Israeli politics in the region and about U.S. protection of these Israeli politics in the region. And he was to a degree personally suffering from that." Marwan al-Shehhi, the pilot who flew into WTC 2, was focused on the same thing, "when someone asked why he and Atta never laughed, Shehhi retorted,"How can you laugh when people are dying in Palestine?"" - page 162 THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT

The facts point to a motive for attacking the WTC in 2001 that is consistent with the motive expressed by terrorists in a letter sent to the New York Times after the 1993 bombing attack of the WTC, "We declare our responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel the state of terrorism and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region."

Todd Beamer's father is just one of many victims of Bush's lie duped into thinking we were attacked "to alter our very way of life" as he wrote in his 4/27/2006 Op-Ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. But WSJ knows the truth, they published it on 9/14/2001, as Chomsky pointed out: "the Wall Street Journal published a review of opinions of "moneyed Muslims" in the region: bankers, professionals, businessmen. They expressed dismay and anger about us support for harsh authoritarian states and the barriers that Washington places against independent development and political democracy by its policies of "propping up oppressive regimes." their primary concern, however, was Washington's twin policies of support for Israel's harsh and brutal military occupation and devastation of the civilian society of iraq, with hundreds of thousands of deaths, while strengthening Saddam Hussein -- who they know very well received strong support from Washington and London through the period of his worst atrocities, including the gassing of the Kurds and beyond. Among the great mass of poor and suffering people, similar sentiments are much more bitter, and they are also hardly pleased to see the wealth of the region flow to the west and to small western-oriented elites and corrupt and brutal rulers backed by western power."

The lie the media helps sell
"is self-serving nonsense, and its purveyors surely know that, at least if they have any familiarity the current history, including the middle east. Naturally, these are convenient pretenses, which serve to deflect attention from the actual grievances expressed even by the most pro-western elements in the middle east, as is "well-known" (in the words of the Wall Street Journal article I quoted)." - Chomsky Interview

Below is the text of the WSJ article cited:

The following article is from the Wall Street Journal

Major Business News

America in the Eyes of the Arab World:
A Complex Mix of Emotions Fuels Hate

U.S. Is Resented for Its Power, 'Godless Materialism,'
Revered for Its Democracy, Principles of Due Process


Among the many questions smoldering in the ruins left by this week's terrorist attack is this: What possibly could have driven 18 presumably young hijackers, all of them now believed to be of Mideast origin, to sacrifice their lives in a mission to kill so many faceless Americans?

Answers may well surface someday, in elaborately detailed last wills and testaments prepared, often on videotape, by most Islamic suicide bombers. Until then, Americans are left to ponder the image of themselves in Islamic cultures arrayed from Morocco to Pakistan, societies with abiding differences among themselves yet with an increasingly shared antipathy toward the U.S., experts say.

This resentment is deeper and more complex than mere hatred of the U.S. for its support of Israel, say Arabs and Mideast scholars, though the daily images of embattled Palestinians on satellite TV have certainly fueled Islamic rage. Anti-Americanism has also taken root among well-educated middle-class professionals and businesspeople in the Arab and Muslim worlds, born of frustrations much closer to home: the perception that unlimited American power is responsible for propping up hated, oppressive regimes.

The Arab-Israeli conflict, in this sense, is a surrogate in many places for the discontent that people feel with their own governments. Because it is dangerous in most Muslim countries to express or act upon such political frustrations, people lash out at the U.S. and Israel instead.

And in places like the Gaza Strip, Egypt and Pakistan, there is a ready supply of poor and desperate young men to provide the blood and brawn for terrorism, Mideast experts say. Yet it takes the encouragement and support of better-heeled elements of society -- bankers in Cairo and Bahrain, say, or doctors and lawyers in Algiers and Islamabad -- to make suicide bombing acceptable.

"I've been bombarded all week with e-mails and calls from friends throughout the Muslim world who've expressed their outrage at what's happened here," says John Esposito, a Georgetown University professor who runs the school's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. "But what's struck me is how many of them have also said they hope America will now take a closer look at its foreign policy. Many are businesspeople who deal with the U.S. all the time but who feel our presence in the region, especially in the Gulf, is forcing economic and military dependency. A great deal of disappointment involves their own rulers."

The main political grievance is well-known, frequently aired in the region's media: America's alleged double standard in defending Israel's occupation of Arab lands while continuing to hit Iraq with economic sanctions and military attacks for what some Muslims consider essentially the same behavior. For many Arabs and Muslims, this humiliating disparity is compounded by the fact that so many of their own authoritarian rulers have not only acquiesced in this state of affairs but also actively helped maintain it by cooperating with the U.S. military.

Then, when Muslim countries such as Algeria, Jordan and Egypt attempt to elect parliamentary representatives -- often Islamic fundamentalists -- who challenge the regimes' pro-U.S. stance, their rulers thwart democracy with hardly a protest by a U.S. government fearful of change.

Enter the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, Saddam Hussein of Iraq or Osama bin Laden, now in Afghanistan -- men, in the eyes of their followers, not afraid to resist U.S. hegemony and thus lionized by many Arabs and Muslims.

"Osama definitely touched a nerve, even among people who don't agree with his methods," says Philip Robins, a Mideast expert at Oxford University. "The U.S. would be well advised to try to think of the way it conducts itself internationally, at the U.N., at the way it presents itself to the world."

Mr. Robins says the U.S., in Mideastern minds, conjures up "an undifferentiated ball of different emotions" -- it is both resented for its power and "godless materialism" and revered for its democracy and principles of due process.

That's why the U.S. arouses such passion and anger in the Muslim world, among all segments of society: The realpolitik of its diplomacy, particularly in the oil-soaked Mideast, has seldom lived up to its cherished ideals. An oft-heard lament from Arabs and Muslims is: Why, if equality and freedom are so important in the West, doesn't the U.S. stand up for them in the Muslim world?

Implicit in that question is one of the cruelest ironies of this week's wanton bloodshed: that America has been victimized by the exalted expectations it instilled in others. "We are sorry about the civilian victims, and cannot but condemn this terrorist act," wrote the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi in an editorial this week. "But we call upon American citizens to ask, why among all the embassies, buildings and defense establishments of all the Western powers, it is theirs that are targeted by terrorist actions?"

The heart of the matter is pride, say Mideast scholars, the pride of Muslim peoples who know from their religion, history and traditions they were once a dominant civilization but who now feel subjugated by an American superpower they regard as culturally shallow and by what they see as its warship, Israel. Many Arabs and Muslims feel the normal ways societies pick themselves up -- developing their economies, renewing their governments -- aren't available to them, again because the U.S. has propped up oppressive regimes.

Take Jordan, for example, one of the U.S.'s closest Mideast allies and a country that has been thought since its peace with Israel nearly a decade ago to have bright economic prospects. Yet as its population has grown nearly 3% a year, its economy has barely kept up.

"Economic malaise is becoming a permanent condition," says Labib Kamhawi, an opposition member of Jordan's parliament.

This year, Jordan's King Abdullah circulated a memo to members of his royal family ordering them to "avoid overspending and accumulating debts." Some Jordanians believed that the notice smacked of a public-relations gimmick to make the monarchy sound frugal. The rest of the population, meanwhile, is so uncreditworthy that most merchants refuse to even accept checks. For decades, Jordan and its monarchs have been recipients of direct and covert U.S. aid.

"I have six lawyers and can arrest people who write rubber checks," says Abdulmajeed Shoman, the chairman of Arab Bank, Jordan's largest bank. "Not everyone else can do that."

Write to Peter Waldman at, Stephen J. Glain at, Robert S. Greenberger at, Hugh Pope at and Steve LeVine at

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