What's more obnoxious than a person who constantly whines about the
injustices committed against him while ignoring his own injustices against
A country that does the same thing.
We often hear American politicians and commentators reciting a list of
"terrorist" acts committed against the "United States." It typically
includes the 1982 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, the 1993 bombing
of the World Trade Center, the 1996 bombing of U.S. Air Force housing in
Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in
Tanzania and Nigeria, and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the port of
Aden in Yemen. Reciting this string of attacks supposedly demonstrates,
without further argument, that the United States has been the major victim
of violence on the world stage - unprovoked violence perpetrated by "Islamofascists" because we are free.
Indeed, it is widely believed that the attacks on September 11, 2001, were in part the
result of "our" failure to retaliate for the earlier attacks.
But this is sheer balderdash. The attacks, while often criminally
misdirected, were hardly unprovoked.
The last century-plus of U.S. foreign policy has largely been a story of
aggression and empire-building. American presidents have intervened and
interfered in every region of the world, not in self-defense, but in the
name of U.S. "national interest," which in reality means the interest of
well-connected corporations and their ambitious political agents who felt
appointed to bring order to the world. As a whole, the American people
haven't gained by this - in fact, they have paid dearly in money and lives.
But not as dearly as those on the receiving end of that policy. For all the
pious moralizing about democracy and human rights, American foreign policy
has treated foreign populations like garbage, beginning with the brutal
repression of the Filipino uprising against American colonial rule from 1899
to 1902. That war and its related hardships killed 250,000 to a million
Filipino civilians and 20,000 Filipino rebels.
How many Americans know that?
Since that time American presidents have intervened, directly or by proxy,
in countless places, including Cuba, Haiti, Colombia (Panama), Chile,
Mexico, Nicaragua, the Soviet Union, Iran, Iraq, Guatemala, Lebanon, the
Dominican Republic, Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. On many occasions
American administrations have engineered regime changes (sometimes with
assassinations) to install leaders friendly to "American interests." Rarely
has intervention occurred without the murder of innocent civilians,
degrading hardship for survivors, and arms and (taxpayer) money for
repressive "leaders." The paradigm is the 1953 intervention in Iran, when
the CIA helped drive an elected, secular prime minister from office so the
autocratic shah could be restored to power. His brutal U.S.-sponsored
repression of the Iranian people finally provoked a religious revolution in
1979, creating an anti-American theocracy that has been a thorn in the side
of U.S. presidents ever since. . . .
[Note, too, the vast gap between how Americans perceive of their actions
(mere "aberrations") and how so much of the rest of the world perceives of
it, especially those in the targeted regions. So much of this disparity is
explained by a basic lack of empathy: imagine if every American spent just
a day contemplating how they'd react if some foreign army from a Muslim
nation invaded and bombed the U.S., occupied the country for the next
several years with 60,000 soldiers, killed tens of thousands of citizens
here, set up secret prisons where they disappeared Americans for years
without charges or even contact with the outside world, imposed sanctions
that blockaded food and medicine and killed countless children, invaded and
ransacked our homes at will, abducted Americans and shipped them halfway
around the world to island-prisons, instituted a worldwide torture regime,
armed their allies for attacks on other Western nations, and threatened
still other invasions.--Glenn Greenwald, "David
Rohde on the 'why do they hate us?' question," salon.com, October
[As for America, the Defense Science Board Task Force reported in 2004:
"Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies."
What might those be? Unseating democratically elected leaders, supporting
dictatorships, backing Israel's Apartheid-like treatment of the
Palestinians, and promiscuously waging war in Muslim lands. . . .
Americans should consider how they would react if a more powerful nation was
slaughtering their relatives and friends - and even entire families - in an
attempt to kill a few targeted individuals alleged to be terrorists.--Doug
Bandow, "Terrorism: Why They Want to Kill Us,"
huffingtonpost.com, July 1, 2010]