Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why do they hate us?

 Western hypocrisy prevents us reducing the motives for jihad
                     We must answer "why do they hate us?"

The extraordinary hypocrisy of "the West" has been even more difficult to overcome since the invasion of Iraq and the manifold disasters that came therefrom. One reason is that our leaders and representatives cannot bring themselves to admit to so great an error. 

That means they cannot face up to the real motives of Al Qaeda, "jihadsts" (suicide or other) and understand the silence of so very many non-violent Muslims.
Bin Laden puts Israel/Palestine as his third motive in declaring war on America in 1998. (Presumably for religious and his own political reasons). 

But there is no doubt that, in the minds of probably the great majority of Muslims and many others (like myself) Israel's treatment of the conquered Palestinians decades after the Arab nations' defeat is so shocking and inhuman that it is the first cause of anti-American and anti Israeli bitterness - and thus the main motive for many young Muslims joining to fight a guerrilla or terrorist war.

Since then of course there has been the Iraq war, Abu Graib, Bagram, rendition, the acceptance of large scale civilian casualties - etc. etc. (And most particularly Israel's wars against Lebanon and occupied Gaza). All this, coming on top of the Palestine issue, has vastly increased Muslim feelings of bitterness and impotence - and so vastly increased the motivation for young Muslims to immolate themselves for "jihad".

There is another factor - America has lost in Iraq and is losing in Afghanistan. Throughout the Muslim world and in the West, "Al Qaeda and Co" (clones) are succeeding in spreading fear and mayhem. This perception of the accelerating "Decline of the West" greatly increases the attraction of "being in for the kill."

Our Western failure to admit our errors even to ourselves stops us from recognising that one side of the anti-terrorist medal is security, but the other is diminishing the motivation for Islamic terrorists. That implies recognising the understandable hatred of so many Muslims and doing something to correct this. And the obvious and easiest first step is to act decisively to resolve the Palestine problem.

This is something the Obama administration cannot do because it is too weak in Congress, too beset with other top priorities, and it is faced with the immense power of the Israel lobby in Congress and in the media (especially Murdoch's) and the symbionic relationship between the Pentagon and the Mossad.

Europe surprised me by having a unified voice at Copenhagen. If it can now - post Lisbon - have a united determination to cure the running sore of  Palestine which has dogged international affairs for so long, then it can greatly - perhaps critically - help the Obama administration to oblige the Israeli government to achieve a two state solution.   

But, as things are, it is no use lamenting that "moderate Muslims" are not speaking out against terrorism. Anyone who does so, appears to side with America's and the West's evils in supporting Israel when Israel is so clearly in the wrong (and indeed is itself embracing suicidal policies as so many Jews and Israelis point out). 

Until we in the West understand this we cannot begin to defang terrorism by removing legitimate grievances.  As Burns put it "Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us".

No comments: