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Why they hate us (II)

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    Why they hate us (II): ------ A Must Read Commentary THE PEACE AND JUSTICE FOUNDATION 11006 Veirs Mill Rd, STE L-15, PMB 298 Silver Spring, MD. 20902 DHUL
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2009
      Why they hate us (II): ------ A Must Read Commentary

      11006 Veirs Mill Rd, STE L-15, PMB 298
      Silver Spring, MD. 20902

      DHUL HIJJAH 1430 AH
      (Dec. 2, 2009)

      Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace):

      As many of our readers are aware, I've been working on a paper on
      the Ft. Hood tragedy (off and on) for some time now. My prayer is that
      this will be an in depth, Islamically-based analysis on what happened
      and why. While only Almighty ALLAH can ever know with certainty the
      answer to the question why, I'm hoping to explore, in as objective a
      way possible, some of the factors that led up to that human explosion on
      Nov 5, 2009.

      My examination of this issue goes beyond intellectual curiosity, and/or
      the knee-jerk reaction that many Muslims experience whenever a tragic
      occurrence brings unwanted attention on Muslims in America. It has to do
      with the health and welfare of Muslims in America; and indeed, with the
      health and welfare of America itself.

      Like most people reading this introduction to the thought-provoking
      commentary that follows, I have seen a significant number of Muslim
      leaders of varying stripes weigh in on this tragedy before a national
      audience. MOST have delivered dangerously poor representation on this

      It is with this in mind that I invite the reader to reflect deeply over
      what Professor Stephen Walt has to say. I believe Walt's analysis
      factors significantly into why Major Hassan's intellectual output
      was as it was in the months leading up to this tragedy, and why he
      ultimately did what he did. (It will also prepare you for my humble
      analysis which will come later, insha'Allah.)

      As for the Muslim "leaders," or opinion shaping apologists, who
      have been doing their best to assure the powers-that-be that there is no
      problem with Muslims helping to fight America's imperialistic wars,
      I advise you to reflect even deeper on the painful analysis provided by
      Professor Walt (below). And then those of you who presume yourselves
      learned (in the "Islamic Sciences"), check the condition of your

      El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan


      The New ForeignPolicy.com
      Global News : Passport : Ricks : Drezner : Walt : Rothkopf : Lynch
      The Cable : The AfPak Blog : Net Effect : Shadow Govt. : Madam Secretary
      : The Call
      Why they hate us (II): How many Muslims has the U.S. killed in the past
      30 years?
      Mon, 11/30/2009 - 12:38pm

      Tom Friedman had an especially fatuous column in Sunday's New York
      Times, which is saying something given his well-established capacity for
      smug self-assurance. According to Friedman, the big challenge we face in
      the Arab and Islamic world is "the Narrative" -- his patronizing term
      for Muslim views about America's supposedly negative role in the region.
      If Muslims weren't so irrational, he thinks, they would recognize that
      "U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or
      trying to help free them from tyranny." He concedes that we made a few
      mistakes here and there (such as at Abu Ghraib), but the real problem is
      all those anti-American fairy tales that Muslims tell each other to
      avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.
      I heard a different take on this subject at a recent conference on U.S.
      relations with the Islamic world. In addition to hearing a diverse set
      of views from different Islamic countries, one of the other participants
      (a prominent English journalist) put it quite simply. "If the United
      States wants to improve its image in the Islamic world," he said, "it
      should stop killing Muslims."
      Now I don't think the issue is quite that simple, but the comment got me
      thinking: How many Muslims has the United States killed in the past
      thirty years, and how many Americans have been killed by Muslims? Coming
      up with a precise answer to this question is probably impossible, but it
      is also not necessary, because the rough numbers are so clearly
      Here's my back-of-the-envelope analysis, based on estimates deliberately
      chosen to favor the United States. Specifically, I have taken the low
      estimates of Muslim fatalities, along with much more reliable figures
      for U.S. deaths.
      To repeat: I have deliberately selected "low-end" estimates for Muslim
      fatalities, so these figures present the "best case" for the United
      States. Even so, the United States has killed nearly 30 Muslims for
      every American lost. The real ratio is probably much higher, and a
      reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities (based mostly on higher
      estimates of "excess deaths" in Iraq due to the sanctions regime and the
      post-2003 occupation) is well over one million, equivalent to over 100
      Muslim fatalities for every American lost.
      Figures like these should be used with caution, of course, and several
      obvious caveats apply. To begin with, the United States is not solely
      responsible for some of those fatalities, most notably in the case of
      the "excess deaths" attributable to the U.N. sanctions regime against
      Iraq. Saddam Hussein clearly deserves much of the blame for these
      "excess deaths," insofar as he could have complied with Security Council
      resolutions and gotten the sanctions lifted or used the "oil for food"
      problem properly. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the United States
      (and the other SC members) knew that keeping the sanctions in place
      would cause tens of thousands of innocent people to die and we went
      ahead anyway.
      Similarly, the United States is not solely to blame for the sectarian
      violence that engulfed Iraq after the 2003 invasion. U.S. forces killed
      many Iraqis, to be sure, but plenty of Shiites, Kurds, Sunnis, and
      foreign infiltrators were pulling triggers and planting bombs too. Yet
      it is still the case that the United States invaded a country that had
      not attacked us, dismantled its regime, and took hardly any precautions
      to prevent the (predictable) outbreak of violence. Having uncapped the
      volcano, we are hardly blameless, and that goes for pundits like
      Friedman who enthusiastically endorsed the original invasion.
      Third, the fact that people died as a result of certain U.S. actions
      does not by itself mean that those policy decisions were wrong. I'm a
      realist, and I accept the unfortunate fact that international politics
      is a rough business and sometimes innocent people die as a result of
      actions that may in fact be justifiable. For example, I don't think it
      was wrong to expel Iraq from Kuwait in 1991 or to topple the Taliban in
      2001. Nor do I think it was wrong to try to catch Bin Laden -- even
      though people died in the attempt -- and I would support similar efforts
      to capture him today even if it placed more people at risk. In other
      words, a full assessment of U.S. policy would have to weigh these
      regrettable costs against the alleged benefits to the United States
      itself or the international community as a whole.
      Yet if you really want to know "why they hate us," the numbers presented
      above cannot be ignored. Even if we view these figures with skepticism
      and discount the numbers a lot, the fact remains that the United States
      has killed a very large number of Arab or Muslim individuals over the
      past three decades. Even though we had just cause and the right
      intentions in some cases (as in the first Gulf War), our actions were
      indefensible (maybe even criminal) in others.
      It is also striking to observe that virtually all of the Muslim deaths
      were the direct or indirect consequence of official U.S. government
      policy. By contrast, most of the Americans killed by Muslims were the
      victims of non-state terrorist groups such as al Qaeda or the insurgents
      in Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans should also bear in mind that the
      figures reported above omit the Arabs and Muslims killed by Israel in
      Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. Given our generous and unconditional
      support for Israel's policy towards the Arab world in general and the
      Palestinians in particular, Muslims rightly hold us partly responsible
      for those victims too.
      Contrary to what Friedman thinks, our real problem isn't a fictitious
      Muslim "narrative" about America's role in the region; it is mostly the
      actual things we have been doing in recent years. To say that in no way
      justifies anti-American terrorism or absolves other societies of
      responsibility for their own mistakes or misdeeds. But the
      self-righteousness on display in Friedman's op-ed isn't just simplistic;
      it is actively harmful. Why? Because whitewashing our own misconduct
      makes it harder for Americans to figure out why their country is so
      unpopular and makes us less likely to consider different (and more
      effective) approaches.
      Some degree of anti-Americanism may reflect ideology, distorted history,
      or a foreign government's attempt to shift blame onto others (a practice
      that all governments indulge in), but a lot of it is the inevitable
      result of policies that the American people have supported in the past.
      When you kill tens of thousands of people in other countries -- and
      sometimes for no good reason -- you shouldn't be surprised when people
      in those countries are enraged by this behavior and interested in
      revenge. After all, how did we react after September 11?

      Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of
      International Relations at Harvard University.



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