Our Image Among Extremists: Confusion About the Order of Events.

… reflected in this letter to the ProJo.

It was the Bush administration’s detention and torture policies that made us less safe and more reviled by the Muslim world. Former President Bush’s torture and detention policies certainly radicalized many individuals across the Muslim world, and President Obama’s executive orders are a first step to defusing that hatred and giving us an America we can be proud of again.

I’m going to take the liberty of assuming that in the first sentence, the author did not mean all Muslims but only that tiny percentage capable of acts of terror and violence.
The murder of 3,000 + innocent people in three locations strikes me as pretty radical. Certainly we can discuss the wisdom, adviseability, morality of some of the policies of former President Bush. There is no question, however, that these policies did not precede but followed the attacks on September 11, 2001.

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Russ
Russ
12 years ago

The fact that there were radicals prior to the Bush administration doesn’t mean that our foreign policy since that time hasn’t radicalized many more. Our own intelligence agencies said as much:

Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.

I’d also say the generalization about the Muslim world is accurate:

The anti-Americanism that surged through much of the world over the war in Iraq shows modest signs of abating, although distinctly negative views persist in the Muslim world, an international opinion poll released Thursday [2005] indicates.

We can argue about the degree to which that makes Americans less safe, but it’s clearly not a good thing for U.S. security.

msteven
msteven
12 years ago

I try to avoid saying stuff this but that is absolutely “lack of common sense” (using thesaurus for another word).
Blaming the Bush administration policies on for being hated by the Muslim world is … idiocy. It’s like saying that laws are the reason why criminals hate police. And I hated my mom when she grounded me for violating her rules. Please. The terrorists can kidnap Americans and cut off their heads while our government’s policies are held responsible for mistreating them when in our custody. Their horrific behavior is justified. Our making them uncomfortable when pressuring for information is ‘horrific’. Sounds fair.
Yes, we’d be safer if we just treated them with love and respect. They would not kidnap, torture or behead our people if we went to shake their hand. That always works with people willing to die for their cause of destroying our way of like. That’s what the police and military should be trained for.
The truth is – they hate us. They always will.
Second truth – the Obama administration is not changing policies. They may be doing symbolic things like closing Gitmo but the big picture is that we still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read Ted Rall who is very upset that Obama has not totally reversed the policies of the Bush administration on the war. Thank heaven he hasn’t.

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

Wow, hard to know what to make of that comment. I’m guessing a couple centuries ago, many Brits felt the same way about us.
For the record, I don’t blame Bush. I blame misguided foreign policy, made worse under Bush but by no means begining with his admistration.

msteven
msteven
12 years ago

Wow, comparing the relationship between Britain and the states in 1776 to us and AlQueda. I guess for you that makes the Boston Tea Party comparable to the 9/11 attacks.
At least you don’t blame it all on one political party. But you also don’t put any blame on the terrorists. I know the routine – they were only reacting to our foreign policy that offended them. Right?

Will
12 years ago

Should “I blame misguided foreign policy” be translated into we shouldn’t have deposed a secular Islamic dictator (Saddam) or support for the State of Israel? Of course, ignoring the order or cause and effect for the time being.
What should the US has done to better appease the radicals of the Muslim world, Mr. Chamberlain?
Hate to break it to you, but certain elements of the Muslim world have been at war with western civilization, since our countries founding, and many centuries beforehand. I know it’s hard for many Americans to accept that there are people in the world that want us converted or dead, for no other reason that we don’t share their fanatical ideology.

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

So you guys think we should be supporting Arab dictators like Saddam Hussein? Remember he was our guy back in the day I know, you were for him before you were against him, right?
Speaking of appeasement, al Qaeda had one major demand when they attacked us on 9/11, the removal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia. Bush of course did just that. I’ll wait for your comments condemning his administration. Or are you just spouting cliches to avoid actually discussing the issue?

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

Regarding the comment about the Revolutionary War, I was actually thinking about the War of 1812 (“their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution”). Technically we were all British during the Revolution. Anti-American sentiment was high in Britain for years even after the actual fighting ended, and yet they are now among our strongest allies.
I could just have easily sited the animosity that Americans felt towards Germans or the Japanese.

msteven
msteven
12 years ago

So you guys think we should be supporting Arab dictators like Saddam Hussein? Remember he was our guy back in the day I know, you were for him before you were against him, right? —– This is such a lame criticism. Yes, there was a time when we (in conjunction with the UN) helped Saddam because the previous leader was bad. Sometimes the replacements are worse than the predecessor. It’s happened numerous times over history –in both sports and politics. But according to you, we and the entire world should support Saddam’ regime because after all, we did help put him there. Regardless of whatever he does. Also, there is no coherent comparison between this scenario and Kerry’s flip-flop on his vote. Speaking of appeasement, al Qaeda had one major demand when they attacked us on 9/11, the removal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia. Bush of course did just that. I’ll wait for your comments condemning his administration. Or are you just spouting cliches to avoid actually discussing the issue? —- So al Qaeda warned Bush that if he didn’t remove troops from Saudi Arabia they would attack. Sort of like what they did when they bombed the WTC before? Yes, the US had so many chances to appease al Quada and we just ignored it – we really left Osama no choice but to attack. Right. Technically we were all British during the Revolution. Anti-American sentiment was high in Britain for years even after the actual fighting ended, and yet they are now among our strongest allies. —- You’re really going to stick with comparing this situation with Britain-America in the Revolutionary years. Wow. Uh, we are not fighting for our independence from a Muslim country and Muslim’s are not fighting for independence from us. The situations of… Read more »

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

Hey, I’m not saying we should support dictators. Quite the contrary, our historic support of Hussein and our current support of other despots is what I consider “misguided foreign policy.” The Arab street understands this even if many Americans don’t.
You keep missing one important point: I’m not comparing terrorists’ hatred of America to British/American animosity; I’m comparing your hatred of Muslims to those similar war-time opinions held in this country and others.
And one more time, no I’m not talking about the Revolution. I’m talking about the Anglo-American War (aka the War of 1812). Maybe I should have said a couple of centuries ago many Americans felt the same way about the British (same difference and not really central to my point). Consider, the Brits burned the White House, the Capital, and other public buildings. I’d say the idea that this would be regarded as terrorism at the time is pretty evident.
“The truth is – they hate us. They always will.” Baloney!

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

One more thing, you miss my point on appeasement. Since this a post on the order of events, let’s lay it out. In 1996 bin Laden issued a declaration of jihad demanding the U.S. remove troops from Saudi Arabia. Clinton doesn’t, but Bush did! So by your logic (not mine), he’s Neville Chamberlain, right?
It’s cliche and it really doesn’t mean anything, but folks (usually on the right) like to throw it around as if anything the left does is because we hate America and want to appease terrorists. So right back at ya!

msteven
msteven
12 years ago

So what are you saying, should we remove all dictators? Really? Does that go for Castro too? The Arab understands this even if many Americans don’t? OK, which leaders in Arab nations should we support and which should we not support – and by not support do you mean remove? ”I’m comparing your hatred of Muslims to those similar war-time opinions held in this country and others.” —– No, I don’t hate Muslims – I have Muslim friends. I do believe there are Muslims who want to kill us. I don’t agree with the views of Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda. You keep missing the point that we are not fighting Muslims, but we are fighting some Muslims who have waged a war against this country. Yes, there was animosity against Japanese as a result of Pearl Harbor. And judging all Japanese based on their shared ethnicity with those who attacked Pearl Harbor was wrong. But this is not the same situation as I said before. And we did not imprison all Muslims after 9/11. We imprisoned ones that provided assistance to those who attacked us and that had nothing to do with their being Muslim. The irony of what you are saying is that the truth is there are many more instances of Muslim’s (Jihadist Extremists) who hate Americans purely based on race and religion than vice-versa. But you seem to be convinced that these Muslim extremists, even the ones who did 9/11, are the innocent victims and the government and troops of this country are the criminal bad guys only doing this for the purpose of murdering innocent people. “The truth is – they hate us. They always will.” Baloney! —- Yes, if only someone would have given Osama Bin Laden or other terrorist leader a hug,… Read more »

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

Point taken about my Muslim comment. My apologies for the poor word choice. “Radical” Muslims or “the enemy” in war-time is more to what I intended.

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

Point taken about my Muslim comment. My apologies for the poor word choice. “Radical” Muslims or “the enemy” in war-time is more what I intended.

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