June 27, 2007
The Future of Freedom Foundation

Why They Hate Us

by Sheldon Richman

What's more obnoxious than a person who constantly whines about the injustices committed against him while ignoring his own injustices against others?

A country that does the same thing.

We often hear American politicians and commentators reciting a list of "terrorist" acts committed against the "United States." It typically includes the 1982 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the 1996 bombing of U.S. Air Force housing in Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Nigeria, and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the port of Aden in Yemen. Reciting this string of attacks supposedly demonstrates, without further argument, that the United States has been the major victim of violence on the world stage - unprovoked violence perpetrated by "Islamofascists" because we are free. Indeed, it is widely believed that the attacks on September 11, 2001, were in part the result of "our" failure to retaliate for the earlier attacks.

But this is sheer balderdash. The attacks, while often criminally misdirected, were hardly unprovoked.

The last century-plus of U.S. foreign policy has largely been a story of aggression and empire-building. American presidents have intervened and interfered in every region of the world, not in self-defense, but in the name of U.S. "national interest," which in reality means the interest of well-connected corporations and their ambitious political agents who felt appointed to bring order to the world. As a whole, the American people haven't gained by this - in fact, they have paid dearly in money and lives. But not as dearly as those on the receiving end of that policy. For all the pious moralizing about democracy and human rights, American foreign policy has treated foreign populations like garbage, beginning with the brutal repression of the Filipino uprising against American colonial rule from 1899 to 1902. That war and its related hardships killed 250,000 to a million Filipino civilians and 20,000 Filipino rebels.

How many Americans know that?

Since that time American presidents have intervened, directly or by proxy, in countless places, including Cuba, Haiti, Colombia (Panama), Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, the Soviet Union, Iran, Iraq, Guatemala, Lebanon, the Dominican Republic, Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. On many occasions American administrations have engineered regime changes (sometimes with assassinations) to install leaders friendly to "American interests." Rarely has intervention occurred without the murder of innocent civilians, degrading hardship for survivors, and arms and (taxpayer) money for repressive "leaders." The paradigm is the 1953 intervention in Iran, when the CIA helped drive an elected, secular prime minister from office so the autocratic shah could be restored to power. His brutal U.S.-sponsored repression of the Iranian people finally provoked a religious revolution in 1979, creating an anti-American theocracy that has been a thorn in the side of U.S. presidents ever since. . . .


"Realpolitik and Terrorism," The Wisdom Fund

Enver Masud, "Millions Spent Subverting 'Enemies,' Stifling Dissent," The Wisdom Fund, February 15, 2001

Enver Masud, "Deadly Deception, Pretexts for War," The Wisdom Fund, July 30, 2001

"The CIA's Family Jewels: Agency Violated Charter for 25 Years, Wiretapped Journalists and Dissidents," National Security Archive, June 26, 2007

David Corn, "Where's the CIA's Missing Jewel?," Nation, June 26, 2007

VIDEO: John Prados, "With Release of 'Family Jewels,' CIA Acknowledges Years of Assassination Plots, Coerced Drug Tests and Domestic Spying,", June 26, 2007

Michael Schwartz, "CIA Terror Bombings, Bob Gates, and The Rise of Hezbollah,", June 28, 2007

Fidel Castro, "Reflections on the 'Family Jewels' From a Target of the CIA,", July 9, 2007

Mohsin Hamid, "'Why Do They Hate Us?'," Washington Post, July 22, 2007

[Note, too, the vast gap between how Americans perceive of their actions (mere "aberrations") and how so much of the rest of the world perceives of it, especially those in the targeted regions. So much of this disparity is explained by a basic lack of empathy: imagine if every American spent just a day contemplating how they'd react if some foreign army from a Muslim nation invaded and bombed the U.S., occupied the country for the next several years with 60,000 soldiers, killed tens of thousands of citizens here, set up secret prisons where they disappeared Americans for years without charges or even contact with the outside world, imposed sanctions that blockaded food and medicine and killed countless children, invaded and ransacked our homes at will, abducted Americans and shipped them halfway around the world to island-prisons, instituted a worldwide torture regime, armed their allies for attacks on other Western nations, and threatened still other invasions.--Glenn Greenwald, "David Rohde on the 'why do they hate us?' question,", October 19, 2009]

Stephen M. Walt, "Why they hate us,", November 30, 2009

[As for America, the Defense Science Board Task Force reported in 2004: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies." What might those be? Unseating democratically elected leaders, supporting dictatorships, backing Israel's Apartheid-like treatment of the Palestinians, and promiscuously waging war in Muslim lands. . . .

Americans should consider how they would react if a more powerful nation was slaughtering their relatives and friends - and even entire families - in an attempt to kill a few targeted individuals alleged to be terrorists.--Doug Bandow, "Terrorism: Why They Want to Kill Us,", July 1, 2010]

Why Ron Paul was BOOed CNN - 92% of Surveyed Afghans Hate our Freedoms

[The White House wants to blame Iran, but they're wrong. I was there.--Lawrence Korb, "Setting the Record Straight: The Beirut Barracks Bombing,", November 9, 2017]

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