Jan 6, 2010

Ignoring 'Why' Again

Update: Glenn Greenwald: Cause and effect in our ever-expanding "war"

Thomas H. Kean and John Farmer Jr, co-chair and senior counsel of the 9/11 commission explain broadly how a disaffected Muslim almost carried out a terrorist attack on Christmas Day, "an eerie echo of the failures that led to 9/11 ." But don’t look for the why any time soon from a large corporate media outlet, despite the fact the why is the most critical question that has a clear explanation. Degenerate, oppressive and brutal Arab regimes propped up by the U.S. combined with U.S.-supported Israeli crimes, and insidious U.S. interventions in the Near-East (Middle-East) region practically guarantee resentment by the Arab ‘street’ and the rise of fanatical, savage resistance—terrorism.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) (Sept. 14, 2001) [practically alone] ran an important piece after 9/11 sampling the opinion of wealthy Muslims friendly to the U.S. offering why murdering thugs executed what Noam Chomsky called the "most devastating instant toll in history outside of war." The WSJ piece concludes Arab and Israeli state brutality motivated the 9/11 (and by logic) the would-be Christmas Day terrorists.

This is a truth not often told in the corporate media, or acknowledged by President Obama outlining what "his Administration is doing to keep America safe", despite the fact that the fundamental geo-political situation has not changed in over 60 years.

Writes Chomsky a year after 9/11 (don't look for him on CNN anytime soon) in a sensible explanation of why they do it:

[F]or those who hope to reduce the likelihood of further crimes of a similar nature, are the background conditions from which the terrorist organisations arose, and that provide a mass reservoir of sympathetic understanding for at least parts of their message, even among those who despise and fear them.

In George Bush's plaintive words, ‘Why do they hate us?’ The question is not new, and answers are not hard to find. Forty-five years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his staff discussed what he called the ‘campaign of hatred against us’ in the Arab world, ‘not by the governments but by the people’. The basic reason, the National Security Council advised, is the recognition that the US supports corrupt and brutal governments that block democracy and development, and does so because of its concern ‘to protect its interest in Near East oil’. The Wall Street Journal found much the same when it investigated attitudes of wealthy westernised Muslims after 9/11, feelings now exacerbated by specific US policies with regard to Israel-Palestine and Iraq.

Commentators generally prefer a more comforting answer: their anger is rooted in resentment of our freedom and love of democracy, their cultural failings tracing back many centuries, their inability to take part in the form of ‘globalisation’ (in which they happily participate), and other such deficiencies. More comforting, perhaps, but not wise.

We read the why more often through the Net now-a-days. Consider William Pfaff in TruthDig:

It is not widely understood that the policy objective of al-Qaida is not to attack the Western countries, an objective that would accomplish nothing for the cause. Bringing down a Western airliner or blowing up a building in the United States or Britain is of no interest in itself to the terrorists, since the Islamic radical does no good by simply killing unbelievers. The ultimate purpose of al-Qaida is to bring about an upheaval in the Islamic world in which Islam can be rescued from corrupted governments and degenerate practices. ... [T]he Taliban and al-Qaida are not fighting against corrupt governments in order to reform them. They want to destabilize and eventually destroy all of them so as to clear a political space in which 40 million Pashtuns and their fellow Sunni Arabs can create a new political dispensation of true believers, while the West declines. That is fantasy, but it is a fantasy in which the United States and NATO are unwittingly playing leading roles.

They don't "hate us for our freedom." They love us for denying their freedom—as we and our allies of a sort are then the supposed monolithic bogeyman without which murdering and relatively small-numbered movements of little resources hold little appeal.

To ask why is to think, an activity not acclaimed in American political culture.

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