I have heard it said about Lahore and Brussels and Paris and New York that the reason the “terrorists” attack “us” is that they hate “our way of life.”
I don’t think that’s it at all. Yet, this explanation is repeated after every one of these tragic attacks.
I don’t think a man, no matter his religion or ideology, blows himself up because he envies us, acting out a terminal case of Freudian status-envy.
An obvious explanation, the terrorists offer, is that they bomb our innocent civilians because we’re bombing their women and children in the mid-East.
After the tragic 9-11 attack, we recovered computer records from an al-Qaeda office in Kabul. Al Qaeda calculated that, after the 9-11 attack, we’d either withdraw from the Muslim world, or launch a massive invasion that would drain our treasury, and force America to leave the Muslim world anyway. We charged into Iraq, took out Saddam Hussein, kind of left, and thus made ISIS possible.
It is my hope, therefore, that our councils at the so-called “defense” department, the CIA, NSA, HSA, and when all those acronym-laden experts gather at the White House, that they’re discussing something a lot more nuanced than how terrorists envy our way of life.
We can’t make decent foreign policy decisions based on BS “intel” that “terrorists” envy our burgers, reality tv and sprawling malls.
You have to suspect, that this line is meant only for our consumption, so we don’t ask why we’re really in the mid-East.
The powers that be assume most Americans have no idea where Belgium is, and a vague sense it has something to do with waffles.
The Economist said last November that Belgium has “a scabrous reputation as an incubator of jihadi ideology and a paragon of law-enforcement incompetence.” I’m not vouching for the foreign coverage. But is anyone reading this stuff? The Economist knew something was likely coming. And it did. But still Brussels was caught Flemish flat-footed.
The public has to be informed at home that what’s going on, prompting terrorism, is so much more complicated than nation-state envy?
Let’s level with the American people. Why exactly are we fighting in the Middle East? Is this an extension of dollar diplomacy, of securing mineral rights, of taking oil, of hegemony in the region, of exploiting a political vacuum we caused when we charged into Iraq, of securing Israel, of honoring commitments to Turkey (against Syria). Why are we there?
It’s hard to swallow the oft-cited claim that, “We’re just there to help the innocent women and children,” when we are dropping bombs on them with quite a bit less precision than you’ve grown to expect watching the current blockbuster action flicks.
Nor can we ignore that we have our latter day Crusaders who believe this is a holy war against Muslims. Save us!
No matter what is our true rationale, we should understand that when we drop bombs on population centers and strike civilians in the mid-East, we can expect that violence to come back on us, in Europe, Pakistan, and the United States.
The “terrorists” are curing the world of the sanitized TV version of the mid-East war, as a distant encounter that need not concern us, by concerning us, by bringing the fight to those nation-states, mixing into the centuries of religious wars they’ve endured. The cliché applies – “What goes around, comes around.”
So, it would be really good to define why we’re at war, for Aristotle said, nothing improves your aim like having a target, and if we can’t say why, we should get out of it.