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  •  We know why OBL and Al Qaeda attacked the US (7+ / 0-)

    After all, they told us why.

    They attacked us because we support autocratic torture regimes in the Mid-East: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel.

    Noam Chomsky laid out the facts less than 10 days after 9/11 happened:

    Bin Laden and his "Afghanis" turned against the US in 1990 when they established permanent bases in Saudi Arabia - from his point of view, a counterpart to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, but far more significant because of Saudi Arabia's special status as the guardian of the holiest shrines.

    Bin Laden is also bitterly opposed to the corrupt and repressive regimes of the region, which he regards as "un-Islamic," including the Saudi Arabian regime, the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime in the world, apart from the Taliban, and a close US ally since its origins. Bin Laden despises the US for its support of these regimes.

    Like others in the region, he is also outraged by long-standing US support for Israel's brutal military occupation, now in its 35th year: Washington's decisive diplomatic, military, and economic intervention in support of the killings, the harsh and destructive siege over many years, the daily humiliation to which Palestinians are subjected, the expanding settlements designed to break the occupied territories into Bantustan-like cantons and take control of the resources, the gross violation of the Geneva Conventions, and other actions that are recognized as crimes throughout most of the world, apart from the US, which has prime responsibility for them. And like others, he contrasts Washington's dedicated support for these crimes with the decade-long US-British assault against the civilian population of Iraq, which has devastated the society and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths while strengthening Saddam Hussein - who was a favored friend and ally of the US and Britain right through his worst atrocities, including the gassing of the Kurds, as people of the region also remember well, even if Westerners prefer to forget the facts. These sentiments are very widely shared. The "Wall Street Journal" (Sept. 14) published a survey of opinions of wealthy and privileged Muslims in the Gulf region (bankers, professionals, businessmen with close links to the US). They expressed much the same views: resentment of the US policies of supporting Israeli crimes and blocking the international consensus on a diplomatic settlement for many years while devastating Iraqi civilian society, supporting harsh and repressive anti-democratic regimes throughout the region, and imposing barriers against economic development by "propping up oppressive regimes." Among the great majority of people suffering deep poverty and oppression, similar sentiments are far more bitter, and are the source of the fury and despair that has led to suicide bombings, as commonly understood by those who are interested in the facts.

    The US, and much of the West, prefers a more comforting story. To quote the lead analysis in the "New York Times" (Sept. 16), the perpetrators acted out of "hatred for the values cherished in the West as freedom, tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage." US actions are irrelevant, and therefore need not even be mentioned (Serge Schmemann). This is a convenient picture, and the general stance is not unfamiliar in intellectual history; in fact, it is close to the norm. It happens to be completely at variance with everything we know, but has all the merits of self-adulation and uncritical support for power.

    Illegal Alien: Term used by the descendents of foreign colonizers to refer to the descendents of indigenous people

    by mojada on Sun May 30, 2010 at 06:29:45 PM PDT

    •  You mean (4+ / 0-)

      we support Autocratic torture regimes that Al Qaeda doesn't like. We've already seen them get along just fine with the Sudan and Afghanistan under the Taliban, which are/were most certainly Autocratic torture regimes.

    •  Excuse me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mkrell, Snud

      But representing bin Laden's self-justificatory propaganda uncritically as fact is not a service.  The fact is that bin Laden stayed in, was supported by, and propped up what was possibly the most corrupt, despotic, intrusive, totalitarian, and violent regime in South-west Asia: the Afghanistan of the Taliban, which engaged in a relentless warfare against women, against science, against knowledge, against anything liberal.  

      Sure, bin Laden and the Taliban had their differences: bin Laden thought the Taliban didn't go far enough.

      The terror strike against New York and D.C. wasn't about 'autocratic torture regimes' -- we know perfectly well that bin Laden and his followers have no problem with murder and torture, as long as they get to do it.  Why would they do it?  Well, several reasons; a) because they could; b) because they had no moral qualms that would prevent them from doing it; c) because doing it would put them on the map, attract attention, separate them from the hundred other little terror groups that exist, and gain them more recruits.  If you didn't know who or what al-Qa'idah was before 2001, you would know afterwards.  And so it is.

      Why the United States?  Because the United States is the one country that everybody in the world has heard of, and our landmarks are ones that everybody in the world recognizes; an attack on the U.S. would resound around the world, whereas an attack on Peshawar, or Karachi, or Lahore, or New Delhi, or Bombay, would have very limited resonance, and even Paris or London would be second-class targets compared to New York and Washington.

      As far as "hating our freedoms" goes, it's quite clear that bin Laden et al. don't like them -- they consider Western democracy counter to Islamic law, and liberalism corrupt and decadent.  That it was a primary motive for the attack I doubt, but it certainly didn't hurt that the target represented several things that these hardcore fundamentalists despise.

      •  Well, yeah... (4+ / 0-)

        ...we know perfectly well that bin Laden and his followers have no problem with murder and torture, as long as they get to do it.

        Unfortunately, most recent American administrations have had no problem with murder and torture either, as long as they got to do it.

        That doesn't put us in very admirable company...

      •  Most fanatical? Yes. Most intrusive, violent? (0+ / 0-)

        Arguably. Certainly not the most corrupt.

        Q: How many Pentagon spokespersons does it take to change a lightbulb?
        A: We're not prepared to discuss specific numbers at the present time.

        by ben masel on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:32:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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