If Most Muslims Like Americans But Hate American Government, What Does That Indicate?

It indicates that your government is lying to you. It also indicates that Americans ought to quit electing shysters to government--because the reasons that most Muslims have for hating our government are mostly good reasons.

Update 6/17/2008: The addition of a quotation that supports my claim that the Bush Administration cast al Qaeda and radical Islam as capable of taking over the world.

The Prophecy.
George Orwell was prescient when he wrote the book 1984, the principles of which have been part of American foreign policy for at least the last 50 years. A main theme of the book regards how government maintains power by

Most Muslims do not harbor animosity for the American people. We must, therefore, start electing people who don't hate Muslims.

keeping the people in a state of perpetual siege by conjuring up enemies that don't really exist. When the Communist "juggernaut" was suppressed, the American Establishment had to find a new bogey man, for which--to them--radical Islam was perfectly suited. George W. Bush has been the enemy-conjurer extraordinaire, but he's not been the only one.

At first we heard the claim that Saddam Hussein had the capability of dropping chemical (and nuclear?) weapons on the United States using remote-piloted airplanes, despite the fact that he had no air force at all, and that not one US aircraft had ever been shot down during over a decde of patrolling Iraqi airspace. On this and other specious pretexts we attacked Iraq.

It may be too late not to elect a Muslim-hating president this time around, but it's not too late to start wondering how we keep getting ourselves into such a mess every four years.

When that didn't hold water, we decided that we were there to build democracy.

Now we have to be worried that al Qaeda is on the verge of creating a world-dominating caliphate and that Iran will have nuclear world dominance by tomorrow? Yet rumors abound that an attack on Iran by the US or Israel is imminent. For the love of Pete!

Ironically, the United

When the Communist "juggernaut" was suppressed, the American Establishment had to find a new bogey man, for which to them radical Islam was perfectly suited. Oh, the irony that we created radical Islam.

States helped to build up radical Islam as a supposed bulwark against Communism. Is it possible that 50 years ago, the Establishment thought that radical Islam would someday make an excellent enemy? It's making a "good enemy" for the Establishment now, and most of the rest of us are dumb enough to believe the lies.

The Reality.
The reality is this:

(1) al Qaeda has no possibility of taking over the world.
(2) Iran is years away from making a nuclear warhead, let alone having the means to catapult it half way around the world to hit us with it, and
(3) most Muslims hate us exclusively for our foreign policy, but otherwise appreciate what America stands for.

Michael Scheuer, in his book Marching Toward Hell, has this interesting observation:
Polls taken in the Islamic world by reliable Western firms...over the past fifteen-plus years invariably find two consistent realities. First, enormous majorities in Muslim countries...express hatred for the same set of foreign policies that Osama bin Laden and other Islamist leaders have identified as mortal attacks on Islam. ...Second, majorities (sometimes sizable ones) in the same Muslim countries express admiration for the stiving of Americans for political and social equity for all citizens, for American generosity..., and for the ability of American parents [to take care of] their children. Taken together, these poll results strongly suggest that U.S. leaders are lying when they tell Americans that they are being attacked for how they think and live and not for what their government does overseas. (p. 155)
Update 6/17/2008: In his book Devil's Game, Robert Dreyfuss describes how the Bush Administration dramatically overstated the radical Islamist threat to suit its imperialistic aims:
...the Bush Administration deliberately inflated the specific threat from al Qaeda itself. Despite Attorney General Ashcroft's unsubstantiated claim in 2001 that thousands of al Qaeda operatives had infiltrated the United States, however, in the...years since after 9/11, not a single violent act by al Aqeda occurred in America. And there is no shred of evidence that al Qaeda has acquired or is about to acquire any nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons.

No combination of Middle East states [or other entities]...is able to mount a threat to the United States in a manner that would justify an enterprise called "World War IV". But by describing the Islamist threat in such an exaggerated way, the Bush administration and its neoconservative allies created a pretext for an imperial expansion of of the U.S. presence... (p. 305)
Barack Obama held his foreign policy cards close to his chest--until Hillary suspended her campiagn. Now, with his recent revelations at AIPAC, the cat is out of the bag, and we know that regardless of whether Barack Obama or John McCain becomes president, US foreign policy will not substantially change.

This is not difficult, folks. Most Muslims do not harbor animosity for the American people. We must, therefore, start electing people who don't hate Muslims. It may be too late not to elect a Muslim-hating president this time around, but it's not too late to start thinking about how we keep getting ourselves into such a mess every four years.

This lesser-of-two evils tap dance has got to stop. Let's resolve ourselves not to be duped, but rather to elect leaders who have America's--and the world's--best interests at heart.




Comments

  1. (1) al Qaeda has no possibility of taking over the world.

    Has anybody ever claimed that al Qaeda would 'take over the world?'

    What al Qaeda has done, does now, and will do, is commit acts of terror. And you can't tell me there's nobody who'd like to provide them the means to kick it up a notch.

    (2) Iran is years away from making a nuclear warhead, let alone having the means to catapult it half way around the world to hit us with it

    Awseome! You can all relax now, folks. Mr. Frank Staheli has spoken.

    Even taking seriously your unsupported claim that Iran is years away from making a nuclear warhead, do they really need to bomb us? Why not toss one over to Israel or Iraq? They don't want to destroy America (yet), they want to stir us to anger and provoke us. That, as Ahmadinejad believes (he's a literalist twelver- look that up), will speed the rise of the hidden imam. Ahmadinejad can't destroy America, but he can provoke a war with us.

    (3) most Muslims hate us exclusively for our foreign policy, but otherwise appreciate what America stands for.

    Most Muslims hate us?

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  2. Has anybody ever claimed that al Qaeda would 'take over the world?'

    Then what was the rationale for attacking Iraq? And why don't we protect our borders from these acts of terror (which they badly want to perpetrate on American soil)?

    Why not toss one over to Israel or Iraq?

    Israel can take care of itself. It has boatloads of nukes already. Ahmadinejad is not stupid, although he likes to saber rattle a lot.

    If we weren't in Iraq, we wouldn't have to worry about that question, anyway, would we?

    Most Muslims hate us?

    Of course; they hate our government. Check out Reconciliation by Benazir Bhutto, Overthrow by Stephen Kinzer, Marching Toward Hell by Michael Scheuer, and Devil's Game by Robert Dreyfuss.

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  3. --The rationale for attacking Iraq was never that al Qaeda wants to take over the world. Please find me one reference-- just one-- where Bush or anybody claimed that al Qaeda would take over the world. This is important because it's one of the foundations of your argument. Let's shore it up, shall we?

    --Ahmadinejad may not be stupid, but he is a fanatic. I'll take stupid over a fanatic any day.

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  4. While I don't know if "Stopping Al Qaeda from world domination" has ever been articulated as a specific reason for the war in Irag, however I think this objective could be inferred from much of what has been said in justifying the War in Iraq.

    I found multiple references online stating that "Al-Qaeda's objectives include the end of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate." From wikipedia - but I did find several others. Basically that's world domination.

    I also found the following article on CNN.com. Now I'm not one to put much faith in the media, but I believe many of Mr. Bush's quotes speak for themselves.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/24/bush.terror/index.html

    On the topic of Iran, when you consider the fanaticism of Amidinejad, and his saber rattling, is he all that different from how we (by which I mean our government) have been acting on the world stage.

    I think Scott Adams shared some good (and mildly amusing) thoughts on this, and I think I've posted it in the comments here before - the language is pretty bad, but I think adds to the point he is trying to make.

    http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/09/a-feeling-im-be.html

    This one is interesting too, and a little more kid friendly.

    http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/current_affairs/index.html

    Either way, it's a pretty different perspective than the one we are being fed by Washington. I'm not saying it's the right one, but it does make you think.

    ReplyDelete
  5. One very misleading Bush quote from UK's CNN link is this:

    "The problem they have is with the facts. We are fighting bin Laden's al Qaeda in Iraq; Iraq is central to the war on terror; and against this enemy, America can accept nothing less than complete victory."

    The reasons that we initially attacked Iraq were (1) Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and (2) al Qaeda was in cahoots with Iraq. A claim at the time was that Hussein had the ability to deliver bombs using remote piloted airplanes. All of those claims have since proven false, but clearly Bush and his cohorts beat the war drums silly claiming that if we didn't destroy Hussein and al Qaeda that they would have the eventual ability to destroy us.

    To be clear--I never thought that al Qaeda could take over the world, nor would they want to. And I don't think Bush really ever thought they could either. The problem is how the Bush Admin attempted to convince Americans that al Qaeda was a much bigger boogey monster than it ever was or hoped to be.

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  6. Frank, I didn't claim that you ever thought al Qaeda could take over the world. You were refuting that idea, and you made that refutation a major point in your argument. My point is that your refutation of the claim, as you phrased it, is moot, because while you may argue that Bush overplayed al Qaeda's potential influence, he never said "We'd better attack Iraq or else al Qaeda will take over the world."

    It seems nitpicky, but it's important, because by phrasing it the way you did, you are caricaturing the argument in order to make it sound outlandish and stupid. I'm not saying you did this purposely. I am saying that the exaggeration undermines the credibility of your post.

    As to al Qaeda's potential and strength. I'm not sure where you get your insight, but your downplaying of al Qaeda doesn't wash with me. It's a big enough "boogey monster" (another example of caricaturing an opposing argument to make it look dumb- a symptom of a weak argument, by the way) to worry about.

    You can't tell me they wouldn't love to get their hands on a dirty bomb or a nuke, and you can't tell me somebody like Ahmadinejad wouldn't be willing to supply them with it.

    Not saying we should attack Iran- just saying that completely burying our heads in the sand would be irresponsible.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Koda, I couldn't find the exact dilbert blog posts you link to (I think Blogger truncates longer urls), but I did read something on there I totally agree with:

    Is it ever okay for your leaders to lie to you if they genuinely believe it is in the best interest of the country?

    Personally, I'm okay with that, even if it turns out to be a colossal mistake. All I ask is that smart people did their best to get it right. Hey, no one is perfect.

    That's why I can't generate any genuine anger toward our current bumbling government despite the fact they killed hundreds of thousands of people, steered the economy into a ravine, and ruined two hundred years of International good will. I actually think they were trying to do the right thing as they saw it. And if they weren't smart enough, the voters have to be blamed for that.

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  8. DS,

    I see your point. I am missing a quote from Dreyfuss's Devil's Game about the neo-cons' essential claim that al Qaeda--or more generally, radical Islam--was a world threat. I'll try to find that quote today and include it as an update to the article.

    Bernard Lewis was the American scholar of Islam that coined the phrase "Clash of Civilizations". Samuel Huntington wrote an entire book on it. In one of his concluding chapters, Dreyfuss carefully refutes the concept, which essentially is that radical Islam took the place of Communism as the mortal enemy of the West.

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  9. Nine days after Sep 11 President Bush set forth his policy on the war on terror. It was quite clear that it included democracy.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cameron,

    Although I used to think like you do, I now have a different perspective on this issue. The quotes in your article that you link to do not at all make it clear that GW Bush was encouraging the spread of democracy (as I used to think). What he, rather, was promulgating was the patently false notion that radical Islam attacked us because they hate freedom. I used to think this, but then I studied the history of Western (including American) intervention in the Middle East. Our holier-than-Muslims attitude is nothing short of embarrassing. If we really were promulgating democracy (and you must admit that Bush said nothing about democracy in his initial calls for attacks on Iraq specifically) then what in the world were we doing propping up dictators like Mubarak in Egypt, the Shah in Iran, Hussein (yes, Hussein) in Iraq, and the Saudi oligarchy?

    If we really had been promulgating Democracy in the Middle East, then we wouldn't have acted in all cases like we were exclusively promulgating our right to their oil, while treating Muslims like nothing more than little brown monkeys.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You are conflating our current president with past presidential policy. It's apparent that the Sep. 11 attacks changed administration thinking in regards to terror and terrorist supporting nations.

    One of the quotes you dismissed is this one, which I think illustrates the point:

    "we have a greater objective than eliminating threats and containing resentment. We seek a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror."

    Containment and propping up dictators was the policy of the past. As JFK said,

    "We find ourselves entangled with apparently unanswerable problems in unpronounceable places. We discover that our enemy in one decade is our ally the next. We find ourselves committed to governments whose actions we cannot often approve, assisting societies with principles very different from our own."

    I think you are right in saying that it was this policy that fueled hatred of America, and suspicion of its motives. I call it "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" foreign policy, and it was followed by every president of the last century.

    But it is clear that this policy was in the process of changing.

    The idea was to remove the conditions that made terrorist recruitment possible, and replace them with democratic government. The idea is that with economic and political liberty there would be less incentive to turn to terrorism.

    So yes, spreading democracy was a large piece of the strategy from the beginning.

    ReplyDelete

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