Although we're making substantial headway on destroying the freedom Al Qaeda hates us for, there's still a long way to go and resentment levels remain high.
This is mainly because Arabs and Muslims are neurotically sensitive about being blockaded, bombed, strafed, occupied and terrorized for their own good. U.S. research psychologists are puzzled by this reaction and have to date uncovered no clue as to why USrael isn't universally adored. They are adjusting appropriately by getting more selective in their pursuit of the facts and will soon only admit data that confirm their hypothesis - that USrael is uniquely lovable. Terrorism should vanish entirely after that.
In the meantime, the Bush Administration continues to take prudent security measures like imposing bloody occupations on Afghanistan and Iraq, plotting a coup against Iran, and blocking all investigation of Israeli war crimes. Inexplicably, this has failed to stem the rising tide of anti-USrael hatred to date, but their resolve is firm and they expect it will work out beautifully any day now.
False Grievance #1 - Occupied Palestine
Israel's occupation of Palestine is simply self-defense against terrorist maniacs. Consider it from a logical point of view. If I took over your house to liberate my family from homelessness and you showed your poor manners by failing to take it in stride, and then after years of shooting up the place I finally decided out of the goodness of my heart to let you live in shackles in the basement, you would have no reason not to cheerfully accept your fate, would you? Of course, you wouldn't. And if you took it upon yourself to attack me instead, I'd be justified in torturing and killing you in order to preserve the peace and security of the neighborhood, wouldn't I? Of course I would. See how simple it all is once you stop and apply a little reason to the situation?
So what is all this tiresome nonsense about Palestinian rights? How can terrorist maniacs have rights?
False Grievance #2 - U.S. support for reactionary dictators
It's difficult to understand how this could bother anybody. First of all, look at the Persian Gulf region. Other than oil, there's not much economically to exploit. And once that resource runs out, the people are screwed if they haven't developed a modern economy. So just how exactly can we get a democratic majority to support siphoning off the region's one resource to underwrite an extravagant consumer lifestyle in the West, a policy that will leave the Arab states bankrupt and undeveloped in the not-too-distant future? The obvious answer is that we can't. So that means that we have no choice but to heap arms and aid on repressive dictators who fill up graveyards with those who have the poor sense to resist USrael's control of the region, while Arab masses endure wretched poverty awaiting the future catastrophe we are steering them toward.
How can anyone get angry about that?
False Grievance #3 - Iran
Here's a case where an elected government recklessly tried to take control of its own oil in the interests of the people. The C.I.A. engineered a coup (1953) and the people found themselves swimming in blood instead of oil. The pro-Western Shah took over and achieved quite an impressive record of supermilitarization, forced modernization, and systematic torture. Amnesty International rated his human rights record the worst in the world, and he almost sank into the sea from the massive load of armaments sent on by Washington.
Then after the Shah was overthrown in 1979, the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war against Iran, which killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians, some with chemical weapons. While this excitement was going on, the U.S.S. Vincennes shot down an Iranian civilian plane and killed 290 people. With utmost tenderness George Bush Sr. declared: "I'll never apologize for the United States of America. I don't care what the facts are."
All of this was for the best of motives, but "militant Islam" has brainwashed Muslims into hating us for no reason at all. There's no telling when they'll get over it.
False Grievance #4 - Permanent U.S. Military Presence
It's hard to see how this trivial item even got on the list. Would we mind if the United States was dotted with the military bases of a foreign power come to liberate us? Of course, we wouldn't. We would greet our occupiers as liberators and strew their path with flowers. We would be polite and respectful as armed 18-year-olds barged into our living rooms and ordered us about in a strange tongue. We would make do without water or electricity or decent food and happily accept the machine-gunning of loved ones as they drove across town. We'd shrug off sodomy, rape, and other tortures as the birth pangs of democracy.
We would do all of this because history shows that military invasions are all about improving the lives of the invaded, and we would be grateful to be among the beneficiaries.
------Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire," "The Madness of King George" (illustrations by Matt Wuerker), and "Rise to Empire" (forthcoming) all with Common Courage Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org