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Paul, Giuliani, and Foreign Policy

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I watched most of the debate last night on Fox News. I caught the exchange between Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul where Paul expressed his feeling the American foreign policy has contributed in large part to the hatred of the United States overseas. Guiliani interrupted the debate to rebut Paul's assertion:
That's really an extraordinary statement. That's really an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of Sept. 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I have ever heard that before and I have heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11. I would ask the congressman withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that."
But, as John Nichols points out at his blog at The Nation, the facts simply don't support Guiliani's claim. No less than the 9/11 Commission Report (.pdf) backs up what Ron Paul was trying to explain. They found that the hatred of America can be traced back many years citing instances of American intervention in various Middle Eastern countries.
Quoting from the 9/11 Commission Report:
...Many Americans have wondered,"Why do 'they' hate us?" Some also ask, "What can we do to stop these attacks?"
Bin Ladin and al Qaeda have given answers to both these questions. To the first, they say that America had attacked Islam; America is responsible for all conflicts involving Muslims. Thus Americans are blamed when Israelis fight with Palestinians, when Russians fight with Chechens, when Indians fight with Kashmiri Muslims, and when the Philippine government fights ethnic Muslims in its southern islands. America is also held responsible for the governments of Muslim countries, derided by al Qaeda as "your agents. "Bin Ladin has stated flatly, "Our fight against these governments is not separate from our fight against you. " These charges found a ready audience among millions of Arabs and Muslims angry at the United States because of issues ranging from Iraq to Palestine to America's support for their countries' repressive rulers.

Bin Ladin's grievance with the United States may have started in reaction to specific U.S. policies but it quickly became far deeper. To the second question, what America could do, al Qaeda's answer was that America should abandon the Middle East, convert to Islam, and end the immorality and godlessness of its society and culture: "It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind." If the United States did not comply, it would be at war with the Islamic nation, a nation that al Qaeda's leaders said "desires death more than you desire life."
If you don't want to download the entire document, at least read Section 2, The Foundation of the New Terrorism. It will help to explain how American intervention overseas has created this seething hatred amongst radical Muslims.


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