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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 15, 2003

The NYT: Why Do They Hate Us?

An e-mail from a leftist friend today suggested we (the US) are hated because of our foreign policies and imperialism. I wrote back to say we were hated for the same reason Iago hated Othello: because we exist. Martin Kimel here points out the reasons for this hatred (I do no longer distinguish between radical Islam and some other part of it--I have yet to hear much from "the other part.")
The NYT: Why Do They Hate Us? The Times still doesn't get it. Yesterday, I thought the paper's quiet retreat from the idiotic implication that Al Qaeda had struck, in part, because it was upset that the U.S. hadn't pushed the Mideast peace process at a quicker pace meant that someone at 43rd Street had recognized how ridiculous their print edition story was. Silly me. Of course, the Times editorial board is still writing in fantasy land. Here's an excerpt from today's lead editorial, "Death in Riyadh":

Many in the Western world will always view the tragedy of Sept. 11 as being about America, but to the people who carried it out, the terrorist attack was as much about Saudi Arabia. The United States is a supporting player in the terrorists' own internal political drama, which centers on fundamentalist religion, a grandiose vision of their own role in world affairs and an anger at the Saudi government's alliance with non-Muslim Western nations.

The Bush administration hopes to replace that story with a new one, involving democracy, economic opportunity and liberty. It would begin with a new era in Iraq, the road to peace in Israel and increasing democratization in other Arab nations. Right now, with chaos in Baghdad and foot-dragging by Israel, that path looks treacherous. But it is the best current chance for a way out, toward a future in which suicide attacks on innocent civilians will be understood by Muslims around the world not as a form of political protest, but as utter insanity.

By contrast, WaPo columnist Jim Hoagland is dead on:

We know this much about the holy warriors of al Qaeda and associated terrorist groups:

They kill Americans and others when Israel makes serious efforts to reach a just peace with the Palestinians, and when Israel makes no such efforts. They kill Americans and others when Washington stations troops in Saudi Arabia, and when it begins to withdraw them. They kill Americans and others when Bill Clinton leans over backward to avoid confronting Saddam Hussein, and when George W. Bush deposes the Iraqi dictator.

They kill Americans and others whenever they can.

That makes no sense in the rational, secular political universe that Western nations and much of the developing world have jointly constructed out of centuries of nation-building, decolonization and free global trade. So we reach out for explanations that would bring the killers and their motives back into our comprehension.

Road maps for Middle East peace are drawn up on the implicit assumption that rewarding Palestinian nationalism with a state will quell the holy bombers and their allies. The Bush administration will now face accusations that its campaign in Iraq triggered the horrendous carnage in Saudi Arabia on Monday night, which it will be claimed might have been otherwise avoided.

But such judgments defy logic and miss the bombers' point. Their target is the entire rational, secular political universe that we instinctively -- and mistakenly -- turn to for explanations of their behavior and our response. They attack not to create another Arab state but to turn the existing ones into a single fanatical theocracy that will eventually extend its control over other civilizations. However mad, their intention is clear.

Apparently, it's not clear to the New York Times. And Hoagland is right: this judgment simply defies logic.