Imperial Hubris and the GOP Debate

The posturing by the right wing in the wake of last night’s Republican presidential debate made for better entertainment than last night’s Ducks playoff game.

On the Flash Report, Duane Dichiara had this to say about Republican congressman Ron Paul, one of a handful of Republicans who didn’t vote with the Party to authorize the president to use force against Iraq:

In tonight’s Republican Presidential nomination debate Texas Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) stated quite clearly that he believed 9-11and the murders of thousands of innocent Americans were the fault of the United States of America’s foreign policy. Giuliani, clearly stunned by this opinion, gave Congressman Paul the opportunity to recant, which he refused to do.

Congressman Paul should apologize to the American people and drop out of the race. His opinions mirror those of the terrorists themselves, and justify their actions. He should face a primary from a Republican who does not believe we brought 9-11 on ourselves.

I need to emphasize something here; Paul cites US foreign policy as a reason, a contributing factor to the 9/11 attacks, which would go back to Democratic and Republican administrations alike.  We hear the president and other Republican and Conservative leaders tell us that the Terrorists “hate us because of our freedoms.”  There’s no question that they hate us, but hating us for our freedoms might be a stretch.

After 9/11, I supported the president’s actions for going after the terrorists being harbored in Afghanistan.  I didn’t support the move to invade Iraq.  The blame for 9/11 is squarely on Al Qaida and the Saudi terrorists who hijacked plans and flew them into buildings.  But what motivated them to do so?

There is a new book out, Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror, It’s written by a former CIA analyst that is reported to be Michael Scheuer, who spent three years as the Counterterrorist Center’s Osama Bin Laden station chief. The book states that Americans misunderstand Bin Laden and al-Qaida. has summarized key points in the, and I have boiled them down further.  I have read “Ghost Wars; a History of Terrorism up to 9/10/2001,” and will be reading Imperial Hubris:

  • “Muslims hate and attack us for what we are and think, rather than what we do.” Muslims are rarely spurred to action unless American forces encroach on their lands. It’s American foreign policy that enrages Osama and al-Qaida, not American culture and society.
  • The post-9/11 crackdowns on Muslim charities have effectively ended tithing, which is one of the five pillars of Islam; our casual denunciations of “jihad” sneer at a central tenet of the Muslim faith. America supports corrupt anti-Muslim governments in Uzbekistan and China, “apostate” governments in the Middle East, and the new Christian state of East Timor. And, above all, it continues to house occupying forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before, Osama would shame young men into enlisting; now, he smothers them with encouragement and suggests that jihad is a natural stop on the path to manhood. Scheuer says this shows al-Qaida is having no trouble recruiting new charges.
  • When evangelicals hold forth on foreign policy—usually with encomiums to Israel and denunciations of Islam—Muslim thinkers tend to conflate their words with the official positions of the U.S. government. There’s no separation of church and state in Islam, and Muslims assume the same applies to America.
  • Our own terrorist training camp is Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The fighters imprisoned there have grown in stature in the Muslim world; when they return to the battlefield, they will be greeted as rock stars. And thanks to American medical care, they’ll be among the most robust Islamist fighters in the world.