Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why do they hate us?

I wish I could say this isn't true, but most Americans (and Europeans too) are oblivious as to why much of the rest of the world hates the West. In liberal academia, the culprits are usually Western imperialism and Western economic domination through international lending institutions (such as the World Bank and IMF) and international corporations. Even fewer Americans know that much of the Muslim world view 9/11 as retaliation for Western abuse of power, not as anarchic terror. The stated abuses are as follows:

1. The unbalanced support of the U.S. for Israel in oppressing the Palestinians
2. The U.S. sanctions and bombing campaing in Iraq in the decade of the 90's that killed hundreds and thousands of Muslims.
3. The U.S. support of corrupt and oppressive regimes throughout the Muslim world
4. The presence of U.S.troops in Muslim lands (which is viewed as a desecration of sacred soil)

These four points are exactly what Bin Laden used to justify 9/11, and they are still being used to recruit moderate Muslism to radical Islam today. Every American should at least know this, but very few do.

According to author Meic Pearse, the last four points mentioned are merely symtoms of what is really driving anti-Western sentiment around the world. In his book, Why the Rest Hates the West. Pearse argues that the real reasons why the rest of the world (especially the Islamic world) hate us are largely cultural. Values that we take for granted, such as freedom, human rights,individualism are viewed by others as a prescription for moral anarchy. Freedom means disrespect for authority, human rights means entitlement, individualism means breakdown of the family. Now that Western society is largely secular, most Westerners scorn traditional morality (especially in regard to sexual values and the integrity of the family) and are ever too willing to impose their "freedom" on others...whether they want it or not. For Pearse, the rest of the world views Westerners as morally contemptible barbarians with little respect for family, religion, and tradition. In other words, the real root of global rage lies in cultural imperialism. We believe our values are universal and can't understand why the rest of the world doesn't want our values.

There is much to this thesis, but it does underscore a point I made in my speech for the film "Holy Wars" and that is that there needs to be a serious attempt at dialogue between the twin civilizations of the West and Islam....our very survival depends on it.

10 comments:

Pete said...

Aaron,
You're right about most people being ignorant to the reasons that America isn't everyone's favorite.
I would like to note that while those 4 points are used as rationale, they are not proper justification for killing thousands of innocent people, so let's say that Osama TRIED to justify 9/11 via those 4 points. Some people (not saying you) have started acting like we got what we deserved. Excuse me? How did those people on those airplanes deserve that? No, it was a vicious, cowardly attack that cannot be justified with all of the reasoning in the world.
Also, I'm a little confused about these thousands of people that the U.S just decided to bomb for fun. The American military is open to more scrutiny than any other operation in the world. If we had just bombed and killed hundreds or thousands of innocent people, you would have heard about it. Said another way, these are just lies.
Also, if the world hates us so much compared to the Mideast than let's look at the immigration numbers compared to that of the U.S. I think that it will be really noticeable that people aren't exactly beating down the door to get into the Mideast and, well I think you know how the American side has gone.
I don't think the world hates us. I think that there are some who hate us and the reason why isn't because of our culture, it's jealousy. They hate that we are successful and they aren't. Just like the short unattractive guy in high school hates all of the tall attractive jocks because they are all cocky and jerks. It's easier to hate the successful person who is the opposite of you than to admit and adjust to your own problems. So, as juvenile as it may sound, I think what you have on your hands is a macro-version of "Short's Man Disease".
How can I say that? Pretty simple actually. You see, I know it's not a cultural thing, because I think that both the culture and religion of many other peoples around the world is horrible and yet I don't hate their people. So I don't buy into the whole I-don't-like-the-culture-so-I'll-hate-all-of-the-people-too-reasoning.
All of this and yet I won't disagree with people who say the U.S. is highly flawed. I just think that maybe they are a little too preoccupied with hating us for our plank to get their own plank out their eye.
That's my $.02 and this Pete signing off from the soap box.
Pete

toby said...

many nations/people are in a love/hate relationship with the united states. on one hand, we bring a lot of good to the global neighborhood. on the other hand, we're not (currently/lately) much for foreign policy and we're strongly for capitalism (which a lot of people are against, or at least they're against capitalism unbounded).

usually the splinter/plank-eye analogy is applied to oneself, not to another. the very point of the story is to examine oneself before looking at the faults in others. so pete, i respectfully disagree with the way you used that analogy. (i just noticed that you wrote that each party had planks; that's true and i agree with that idea a little more. but still, man...)

[stepping onto soapbox...]

the point of the post was to examine why other nations may not like our country, not to defend the united states or call its military blunders just lies. i will say that it seems like people on both sides (debate-wise) of the US military strikes cough up facts and figures without ever citing any sources whatsoever.

accusation: "thousands of innocent people died."
response: "no they didn't."
[repeat ad nauseum]

i don't have the answer to that situation; i haven't done the research. but where would one go to begin researching such a topic? and even if there was a way to keep track of all the civilians that were killed in bombings, do you think the united states would make that it's first priority? the united states first priority is money. yes, i went there.

[stepping of soapbox...]

pete, it's open if you want it. :)

(note, i acknowledge that right now i'm not in the best of moods. so i'm going to re-read your comments and my own before posting. hopefully i don't repeat the mistake of channeling my frustration at an innocent by-stander or someone i may slightly disagree with)

ending after re-reading everything:

i like just about everything in your first paragraph, and in each of the other paragraphs, there's little bits that i agree with. perhaps i'm not crazy about the way you presented the parts that i agreed with. yes, that could be more vague. well, i will elaborate if you want me to. it may not be worth it...

Pete said...

Toby,
Excellent! Even I didn't agree with everything I said. I was in the mood to be a little extreme and see if anybody would see how ridiculous some of the statements were. I had a very basic point that I thing has some merit that was presented on roughly a third grade reading level ( you know....like a St.Louis Post Dispatch editorial ).
Fun response!
Pete

Adam Lashley said...

Wow! What a post... and what response’s!

Pete & Toby, I don't know either of you two very well yet so I'm trying to understand if you were both serious with your responses or not.

I'm not at all a history expert, but do either of you recall Operation Desert Fox? Thousands of Muslims, not necessarily civilians, did die... and no one said it was just for fun.

Anyway, I believe Aaron has hit the nail on the head. Most Americans don't understand and, Pete, don’t' take this the wrong way, but neither do you.

I'm not going to restate everything Aaron said but much of the problem is definitely cultural imperialism; not jealousy... McDonalds, Nike, and Coke rule the world man!:)
The last thing any good Muslim would want is to be like a westerner. Pete if you had the chance to immerse yourselves in their environment and get to know some of them you would understand that and see things from their viewpoint instead of your own… or is it – our own? hmmm?

I think the 9/11 attacks were anything but cowardly. I'm not saying they weren't wrong... but come on, cowardly?? Has anyone here hijacked a plane knowing you were going to give up your own life for a cause that you would never see the results of your efforts? I would say it takes more guts to do that than to face any enemy toe to toe; at least toe to toe you have a chance to live!

Well I have to go; I know my points were vague so if you want me to get specific on anything I can write later when I have time.

Talk to you all later,
Adam

Pete said...

Adam,
Okay, fun, let's talk about this.
Wow, the "neither do you" statement gets right down to the point doesn't it? Unfortunately, you've looked right past the point I made. It doesn't matter how little I know about their culture or how much one does know after immersing themself into it. A different opinion over a way of life isn't the underlying cause of hate. Let's go back to the micro-scale version I mentioned. Go back into your memories of highschool. Tell me, did the basketball guys kill any of the chess team because they didn't like their way of life? No! The question just plain sounds stupid. Now let's look at when these highschool kids do kill each other. In EVERY case, these young people have been found to have significant mental, emotional, or family related problems. But also, in each case, you see these people lay the blame for what they are doing solely on other people. You see, these kids' real problem is themselves, but they are focusing on other problems that DO exist (bullies, cocky jerks, brats). Likewise those people are focusing on problems that really do exist in Western culture, but the real problem lies within their own culture (just so you know, the Mideast has been at war since gee I don't know, Islam was introduced). So while I may not "understand their viewpoint", I will not lay the blame on America or stand by while others do.
Okay, that covers my basic thoughts on that, but now the thing I really mean to defend. ANYTHING BUT COWARDLY?????!!!! Are you serious? As a former military man I would think that if anybody understood the cowardice of attacking noncombatants it would be you. Not only that, but you need to remember that the one in charge of the attack sent someone else to do it for him while he hid in a cave and continues to do so. Not exactly the poster child for bravery! Also, I don't see how taking one's own life qualifies them for bravery. It is an act of running away from the consequences of the decisions or situations one faces. This is the definition of bravery! Think of those who are in this group of suicidal individuals: Hitler, Judas, The VT Killer. So yeah, I feel pretty good about calling it a cowardly act but that's just me. YMMV
And yeah, I know about Desert Fox and the Highway of Death, but I also know that the intent is to save more innocent lives by taking that many lives of those who were not innocent ( innocent: in a criminal sense not a Godly one )
Anywho, yeah, Toby and I know each other pretty well and some of my first post we'll giggle about next time we talk so don't get too caught up in trying to understand it. Sorry if it was confusing or whatever. I'm used to only Aaron and Toby reading my worthless replies, so I'll try and make it more reader friendly next time.
Peace out,
Pete

Adam Lashley said...

Morning Pete,

Just read your response. Are you still aware of Aaron's initial post? That's what drove my response to yours. When I said "neither do you", I wasn't trying to be rude; I hope you didn't take it that way. The point was to show you that you DO think the way most Americans do (and I'm not judging for that.. we are Americans so how else would we think unless exposed to other people groups), and to me this is one of the reasons Aaron wrote what he did.

Pete, unless I'm just totally not understanding you, (and I'm the first to admit I'm not the smartest guy in the world... just a Soldier here so cut me a little slack:),you really seem to "assume" a lot with your responses. You responded to me as if I condone the actions of 9/11.

Let me just clarify here: I am for the United States of America! I've put my life on the line on numerous occasions for what I believe and I am prepared to give my life in its defense on every day of my life. So please, try to understand what I've learned about tactics in my 10 years of military experience.

You said “It doesn't matter how little I know about their culture or how much one does know after immersing themself into it. A different opinion over a way of life isn't the underlying cause of hate.”

You are right about it not being a different of opinion about a way of live, however I’m not sure who said that. It’s not opinion were talking about at all, it’s much stronger than that; these are cultural convictions about how people believe they MUST live…so you see, it’s not opinion but life and death in this world and in eternity to them. Why would we think its ok for us a Christians to have such beliefs but to not even understand that others may too? Whether wrong or right, it’s worth understanding what we’re really facing.

I flat out think you’re wrong about it not mattering whether you know the culture of others and will tell you that is a fatal mistake.

An irreplaceable trait of any good leader (America) is the ability to understand and know your enemy (Osama)
If we as a society don't understand what truly fuels their fire, then despite the best efforts to make the situation better, it could become even worse.
This doesn't mean I condone killing anyone who’s is innocent. That's ridiculous! However, there is a goal for the "war against terror". Do you want to see us over in the desert for another decade Pete? How about indefinitely? What I'm saying is, Aaron's overall point about understanding your enemy is a key element in this war and critical to bringing a resolution with as little bloodshed a possible... on all fronts. When Americans, including Soldiers, have the mentality that our enemy is a mindless barbarian just killing because they are inherently evil, this causes us to react, in some instance, in a way that have them believe the same about us- keeping the battle raging! As Soldiers over there, there have been terrible things done against the Muslim beliefs (out of ignorance) that fuels hate towards us. I'm not saying it's right for them to feel that way, but what if another more powerful regime came over to your house, made you eat things that to you was a sin, took you, left your family with no support, raided your house to leave it in shambles... and YOU personally, had nothing to do with any of it! This is a small example of what goes on on a daily basis in Iraq. Pete you have to put yourself in there shoes, not to condone, but to bring about a solution. Please!!!! try to get out of your American shell, and by the way, I know very well how long fighting has been going on in the Mideast, so since you now also seem to know, I guess you would agree that thousands of Muslims did die in the 90's. (An original point)

I didn't see the relevance of the chess team and jocks; it's not even a reasonable comparison to me. You’re comparing Americans with more Americans here, and that doesn’t relate to CULTURAL differences, you really don’t see that do you Pete. It’s not about what you perceive as an acceptable reaction to violation of values, norms, and beliefs! Come on! Try to feel me here Pete!

Oh, and the whole cowardly thing….once again Pete, from their eyes, not ours…and, is our President also a coward then for not fighting on the frontlines with us Soldiers? Think about it a little deeper… leaders cannot lead a cause if they are the first to go, this doesn’t show cowardly behavior. Respect for your enemy is a must Pete!

Anyway, your turn! Hit me with all you got!

Have a great day!

Pete said...

Adam,
You da man! This is interesting. Your responses are great and I think that if we were able to talk about this face to face, we would really have a good conversation.
I'm going to work backwards because this time.
Respecting your enemy's character is not a must. Not at all. What is a must is respecting their skills that you will be up against. I absolutely respect Osama's tactical genius, relentless resolve, and his ability to brainwash thousands of people without the use of Powerpoint or commercials with half naked in them ( just imagine what he could do with Anheuser's team!). So don't worry, I'm still within the guidelines of "The Art of War". However, I think he is horrible person and have very little respect for the life he leads.
Sorry, George might not be on the front lines but he is no coward. He is putting his neck on the line everyday! At any point anyone could assassinate the president as he is out in public all of the time ( and to the NSA guys reading this now...bomb bomb bomb bombardier bomber jacket). So my take is still: Osama-coward, Bush-not a coward. Like I said though, ymmv.
If the chess team thing didn't make since than I will castle move and then follow it with a Kasparov D5 move and throw this in with my Chewbacca defense scheme (realize that if you acknowledge any undertanding of what I just said I will lose some respect for you:)).
I will lump the rest of what you said together and respond. Listen, I'm not saying that understanding these people and such is worthless. What I'm saying is that it is secondary! There is no justification for killing innocent people which is happening at an alarming rate. That must be stopped in whatever way is necessary, and while a good dialogue between cultures would certainly be helpful for understanding each other, it will not happen with these people. You cannot rationalize with someone who is willing to kill innocent people because they aren't rational. Again, I think that understanding each other is key, but it doesn't matter when it comes to innocent lives being taken because that will never be alright and it must be violently opposed. So we must stop these terrorists AND attempt to understand these people, but the former is paramount.
You know the other half of the equation is them understanding us. If they realized how many Americans are just normal people who will never wish to disturb Islam or the Sandbox and don't care if they accept any of our ways of life, they would probably ask why themselves why they ever thought us an enemy worth getting upset about.
Alright it's your go and then a 7th inning stretch is due,
Pete

P.S. I try not to get offended with the "you don't know", or "you assume", or "you don't get it" lines that I frequently get here. I just think that maybe people should be more careful about saying those kind of things without knowing who they are talking to, because you don't know whether or not I understand or what my experiences have been so you can't assume where I'm coming from. That being said, I have really enjoyed your post and take zero offense and actually find your posts to be pretty agreeable.

P.S.S. If jobs are an indicator of intelligence, well I'm a teller so you probably still win out. You seem to be pretty smart to me. Oh yeah, sorry for saying "former military man" instead of "active". That's my bad! I respect anyone who serves in my place.

Pete said...

Sorry for all of the errors and such in the last post. I'm trying to work and think and type all at once and my brain doesn't handle that well. Normily I R a gud sbeller and grammerizer.

Adam said...

Pete,
This has been really great dialog! I know I get a little a worked up sometimes and use some of those "absolutes" you spoke of. I'm fairly new at blogging so I'll try to take your pointers on that and refrain from using them. Just know I really have enjoyed this, meant no ill feelings towards you, and look forward to future conversations:) You make really outstanding arguements that challange me to think even deeper and I'm loving it!

Awesome talking to you!
Adam

toby said...

adam,

way to keep pete honest! hah.

just so you know, if i write anything that's more than a few sentences, i'm usually serious about it, that is I mean what I write. sometimes i mix in a bit of self-mockery or play-by-play analysis for fun.

glad you're interested in the blog and posting.