Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why They Hate Us

If you listen to President Bush and his ilk talk about why terrorists are willing to blow themselves up to make their point, you will learn that they hate us. They hate us for our religion. They hate us for our Democracy. They hate us for our freedom. To quote comedian David Cross:
"If the terrorists hated freedom, then the Netherlands would be fucking dust."

Suicide bombings have little to do with hating our freedom. Don't believe me. I don't know much more about terrorism than Bush does. Instead, let's listen to Robert Pape, University of Chicago professor who's studied every suicide terrorist attack since 1980. From the American Conservative, via Kevin Drum:
RP: This wealth of information creates a new picture about what is motivating suicide terrorism. Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated with suicide terrorism as many people think. The world leader in suicide terrorism is a group that you may not be familiar with: the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

....TAC: So if Islamic fundamentalism is not necessarily a key variable behind these groups, what is?

RP: The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign — over 95 percent of all the incidents — has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.

....TAC: If you were to break down causal factors, how much weight would you put on a cultural rejection of the West and how much weight on the presence of American troops on Muslim territory?

RP: The evidence shows that the presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism.

If Islamic fundamentalism were the pivotal factor, then we should see some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world, like Iran, which has 70 million people — three times the population of Iraq and three times the population of Saudi Arabia — with some of the most active groups in suicide terrorism against the United States. However, there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Iran, and we have no evidence that there are any suicide terrorists in Iraq from Iran.


....TAC: Has the next generation of anti-American suicide terrorists already been created? Is it too late to wind this down, even assuming your analysis is correct and we could de-occupy Iraq?

RP: Many people worry that once a large number of suicide terrorists have acted that it is impossible to wind it down. The history of the last 20 years, however, shows the opposite. Once the occupying forces withdraw from the homeland territory of the terrorists, they often stop — and often on a dime.

It seems it isn't our freedom they hate after all. It's our invasion and occupation of their country. Bush needs us to think they hate our freedom. That way we may miss the fact that his decision to invade Iraq is what is driving the sharp increase in terror attack globally since we invaded.

Yet the Bush administration continues to insist we are safer now, fighting "them" over "there" rather than at home. Tell that to the citizens of London.