With the blocking of Trumps “Muslim Ban”, voices on both sides of the debate claim that their view is the majority voice of America. While most publications will report on how much opposition there was to the executive order, behind the scenes, phone polls indicated small majorities opposed, while online polls found small majorities continue to support it. So which is it, and why is it this way? “Regular people have lives to lead and can’t investigate complicated issues in detail. Instead, they usually take their cues from leaders they trust. And given what politicians across the U.S. political spectrum say about terrorism, Trump’s executive order makes perfect sense. There are literally no national-level American politicians telling a story that would help ordinary people understand why Trump’s goals are both horrendously counterproductive and morally vile.”
Put it this way, as previous administrations wish to deny any knowledge of why America is being targeted my terrorist threats such as ISIS/ISIL and Al Qaeda, the U.S. Government has always known the reason why: The increased military involvement of the United States in the Middle East and their unjust presence in these areas is what has not only created the environment in which these terror threats were born of, but it remains the reason the threat continues to grow. If this was explained to U.S. citizens by their very own POTUS, do you think the anyone, let alone the majority, would condone the continuation of military endeavors in the region? Instead, previous administrations let Americans think these “crazy extremists” want to kill us for no apparent reason, while the current administration is pandering the false notion that they have the answer- that all Muslims and Islam are out to eradicate the United States and nations who hold similar values. Both stances are wrong and keep Americans in the dark about what’s really going on, and also keep America in danger.
Jon Schwarz for the Intercept writes:
On February 13, 1991 during the first Gulf War, the U.S. dropped two laser-guided bombs on the Amiriyah public air raid shelter in Baghdad. More than 400 Iraqi civilians were incinerated or boiled alive. For years afterward visitors to a memorial there would meet a woman with eight children who had died during the bombing; she was living in the ruined shelter because she could not bear to be anywhere else.
Now, imagine that immediately after the bombing Saddam Hussein had delivered a speech on Iraqi TV in which he plaintively asked “Why do they hate us?” — without ever mentioning the fact that Iraq was occupying Kuwait. And even Saddam’s political opponents would only mumble that “this is a complicated issue.” And most Iraqis had no idea that their country had invaded Kuwait, and that there were extensive United Nation resolutions and speeches by George H.W. Bush explaining the U.S.-led coalition’s rationale for attacking Iraq in response. And that the few Iraqis who suggested there might be some kind of relationship between Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the Amiriyah bombing were shouted down by politicians saying these Iraq-hating radicals obviously believed that America’s slaughter of 400 people was justified.
If that had happened, we’d immediately recognize that Iraqi political culture was completely insane, and that it would cause them to behave in dangerously nutty ways. But that’s exactly what U.S. political culture is like.
In an interview last March with Anderson Cooper, Donald Trump tried to puzzle out what’s behind the terrorism directed at the U.S. “I think Islam hates us,” Trump learnedly opined. “There’s a tremendous hatred there, we’ve got to get to the bottom of it.”
“In Islam itself?” asked Cooper. Trump responded, “You’re going to have to figure that out. You’ll get another Pulitzer.”
During Trump’s speech at the CIA right after his inauguration, he expressed the same bewilderment. “Radical Islamic terrorism,” pondered Trump. “This is something nobody can even understand.”
John F. Kelly, now Trump’s head of the Department of Homeland Security, is similarly perplexed, saying in a 2013 speech that “I don’t know why they hate us, and I frankly don’t care, but they do hate us and are driven irrationally to our destruction.”
Say what you want about the tenets of this worldview, but at least it’s an internally consistent ethos: We’re surrounded by lunatics who want to murder us for reasons that are totally inscrutable to rational people like us but … obviously have something to do with them being Muslims.
Meanwhile, in private, the non-crazy members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment aren’t confused at all. They understand quite well that Islamist terrorism is almost wholly blowback from the foreign policy they’ve designed.
Within the intelligence community, it is no secret as to why retaliation and threats of terrorism targeted at the United States are occurring. Schwarz continues:
Richard Shultz, a professor at Tufts whose career has long been intertwined with the national security state, has written that “A very senior [Special Operations Forces] officer who had served on the Joint Staff in the 1990s told me that more than once he heard terrorist strikes characterized as ‘a small price to pay for being a superpower.’” That small price, of course, is the deaths of regular Americans, and is apparently well worth it.
The 9/11 Commission report quietly acknowledged, hundreds of pages in, that “America’s policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world.”
Intelligence professionals were quite aware that an invasion of Iraq would take the conditions that led to 9/11 and make them far worse. The British Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war published a February, 2003 assessment by British intelligence of the consequences of an invasion of Iraq, which would occur one month later. “The threat from Al Qaida will increase at the onset of any military action against Iraq,” the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee told Tony Blair, and “the worldwide threat from other Islamist terrorist groups and individuals will increase significantly.”
For its part, the Defense Department’s Science Board concluded in a 2004 report that “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.”
After the huge bungle that was the Iraq war was globally seen as an unjust and unneeded intervention by the United States and its allies, newly appointed POTUS Barack Obama had two choices. He chose the second but in a more “politically correct” way that would wipe his hands clean of any wrongdoing.
First, he could tell the truth: That the U.S. has acted with extraordinary brutality in the Middle East, that this had been the main motivation for most Islamist terrorism against us, and if we continued the same foreign policy Americans would be killed indefinitely in intermittent attacks. Then we could have had an open, informed debate about whether we like our foreign policy enough to die for it.
Second, Obama could continue trying to run the Middle East without public input, but in a more rational way than the Bush administration.
Most importantly, Obama pretended that the U.S. has never done anything truly wrong to others, and can enjoy the benefits of power without any costs. This is the most pernicious and common form of political correctness, but is never called that because the most powerful people in America love it.
Examples of how he tiptoes around taking responsibility for America’s actions “made it impossible for the Obama administration ever to tell a story about terrorism that made any sense.”
His description of wrongs done by the U.S. was vague to the point of meaninglessness: “tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims.” Also, “Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world.”
Obama then explained that “Violent extremists have exploited these tensions.” So … 19 people were motivated to fly jetliners into buildings by “tensions”? If that’s the only story that non-Muslim Americans hear, they’ll rationally be terrified of Islam.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed underwear bomber, revealed what President Obama was skirting around explaining his motivation to carry out a terror attack on U.S soil during his sentencing:
[I pledged] to attack the United States in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel and in retaliation of the killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Palestine, especially in the blockade of Gaza, and in retaliation for the killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and beyond, most of them women, children, and noncombatants.
Obama’s administration made it through 8 years without addressing and acknowledging why extremist groups have it out for the United States, passing the blame onto mysterious “tensions” they deny to have any involvement in creating. This left the average American in fear of terror threats simply because they felt like targets of lunatics that had it out for the United States for no apparent or justified reason. Obama and presidents prior to him let this fear perpetuate because it meant placating the American public all the while maintaining superpower status with the authority to continue with missions in the Middle East.
Then comes a new voice as to why all of this is happening- it’s not because of unknown reasons of miscommunications between cultures- it is flat out because Islam is bad, and all Muslims have it out of America. Muslims are targeting America and nations that share its values because Muslims are backward and they feel that way of life of Americans is a threat to Islam worldwide. This is what President Trump pandered during his election trail in order to win- and it is what he is putting in practice while in office.
Now FINALLY someone has given Americans a reason as to why they are being targeted- while still denying America’s role in the current global climate. Given this (albeit false) reasoning, it’s no wonder why many Americans will overlook injustices carried out in the name of national security. Schwarz elaborates:
Trump’s story about why it’s necessary is, factually speaking, garbage. But a normal human being can at least understand it and its moral: These incomprehensible foreigners are all potential psychotics, we’ve got to keep them out. Under these circumstances, who cares that no one from any of these seven countries has killed any Americans yet? They’re all part of a huge morass of ticking time bombs.
By contrast, the Democratic, liberal perspective laid out by Obama makes no sense at all. We’ve never done anything particularly bad in the Middle East, yet … some people over there want to come here and kill us because … they’ve been exploited by violent extremists who’ve perverted Islam and … gotta run, there’s no time to explain.
And because a coherent narrative always beats the complete absence of a story, no one should be surprised that many Americans find Trump’s fantasy of inexplicable Muslim hatred persuasive. The only way to conclusively beat it will be with a coherent, complicated, true story like this:
America has done hideous things to countries across the Middle East for decades, such as bomb a civilian air raid shelter, burning the silhouette of a mother trying to protect her baby onto its walls. It was inevitable that some people would seek revenge. This doesn’t mean that their brutality is justified, any more than the slaughter at Amiriyah was justified by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. It just means that humans are humans, violence begets violence, and Americans will always be in danger unless we change our foreign policy.
We must welcome immigrants from the Middle East both for moral and pragmatic reasons. Morally, the U.S. invasion of Iraq is what sent the region spiraling into catastrophe; only psychopaths set someone’s home on fire and then lock them inside. There are already three million Muslim American citizens. If the government keeps bombing the Middle East while making it clear that it genuinely hates Muslims, that will only spur to action more troubled weirdos like Omar Mateen — who was born in Queens, a few miles away from Donald Trump’s childhood home.
And we’d better get started with this story soon, because it may not be true forever. Israel has done an exemplary job turning a solvable, straightforward fight over land into a religious war that may no longer have any solution. We’re making similar strides in transforming a conflict that was 90 percent political, where there can be compromise, into a religious conflict where there can’t.
On the other hand, Donald Trump is president of the United States and Steve Bannon is his chief strategist. Bannon straightforwardly believes, as he told a conference at the Vatican in 2014, that “we’re in a war of immense proportions” that’s part of the “long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam.” To win, Bannon says, we must form the “church militant” – an archaic term for the “Christian church on earth regarded as engaged in a constant warfare against its enemies, the powers of evil.”
So it’s quite possible ISIS and the Trump administration can successfully collaborate on getting what they both want: a totally unnecessary, civilizational war. To stop them we have to end our truckling equivocation about terrorism, and start telling the truth while there’s still time.
What do you think about America’s denial of its role for the state of affairs in the Middle East? How has playing ignorant to why America has been targeted by terrorist organizations shaped the nations and it’s people in the years following 9/11? While previous administrations could not extinguish or even lessen the threat of terror on U.S. soil- given the information relayed in the article, do you think Trump’s tactics will “Make America Safe Again?” Sound off in the comments below.
(Article By Tasha Sharifa)