Proud to be hated by those who hate America
December 4, 2001 11:42 PM   Subscribe

Proud to be hated by those who hate America -- writes Bill Black of the LBJ School of Public Affairs in the Middle East Times. (He's responding to an earlier opinion piece by Roland Khan, Paying the price, which cautioned against US military action.) [more inside]
posted by dhartung (2 comments total)
Khan [whose piece was in MET 37, not MET 36 as stated] speaks of "oppressed" people "resenting" the American way of life as depicted on their televisions, and makes solving the Arabs' pet cause of Palestine supposedly the central issue that bin Laden has with us. (Khan also -- this was a few weeks ago -- suggests that not only is a massive ground invasion the "only" way to solve terrorism, they are also, he implies, doomed to failure. Uh, thanks. We'll make our own strategy, if you please.) In any case, he suggests his view of some reasons why (at least some) Palestinians celebrated in the streets on hearing of the 9/11 attacks.

Black's central argument in response is this: I noted that Khan erred in believing that Americans could not understand why we were hated by so many in the Middle East. We know full well that we are hated, but we think Khan is wrong as to why we are hated. We believe that the reasons we are hated reflect well on our society and nation. We have a saying that a man's character can be judged not simply by his friends, but by his enemies. The British hated my Irish ancestors: that reflected badly on the Brits, and well on the Irish. Who hates America with the greatest passion? Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, the most anti-democratic and bigoted Iranian leaders, and people who rejoice at the mass murder of innocent women and children.
posted by dhartung at 11:50 PM on December 4, 2001

Hmmmm. Actually, Khan doesn't make Palestine the central issue Bin Laden has with the US or the West. He simply quotes Jordan's King Abdalla who said that the attacks would not have happened had the US "solved" the problems in the Middle East, "notably the Palestinian question." Regardless of whether or not it's the US' responsibility to "solve" the problems in the Middle East, this statement could also be interpreted to mean that Bin Laden could not have drawn the support and resources necessary to carry out the attacks had the US done this solving thing.

Neither does Khan seem to state that ground invasion needs to be massive or is doomed to failure. He simply states the concern that the West might be tempted to jump in without being fully informed and end up in a quagmire. He also states that "meddling in Afghanistan without understanding it can be a dangerous business." Well, yeah. Seems sound in any case. Seems also to imply that the West has more trouble understanding the issues involved in Afghanistan than, say, Bosnia, or some other place torn by ethnic and religious hatred closer to home. Perhaps this is true.

Anyway, both articles are overly simplistic uneducated rhetoric, I humbly opine. They both purport to know who hates "us" and why. Both are pretty monolithic in that respect. I imagine there are people whose feelings sort of fit those depicted in both articles. Both resentment of the relative riches depicted in US media as well as hatred of Western secularism and Western values (views of such also terribly oversimplified). I bet there are some people who actually hate the West for combinations of those reasons, completely different reasons, because it is fashionable where they are, because someone they respect has told them to or because they got some crap coffee at Starbucks. Some of "they" who hate "us" probably don't hate us at all.

I haven't seen much journalism openly investigating what the Afghan/Palestinian/Pakistani/etc. on the street thinks. Most of what I have seen I believe to have been compiled by formulating a thesis and collecting quotes until enough supporting ones have been gathered to fill some word count quota. (My turn to over simplify)
posted by rocketpup at 3:18 AM on December 5, 2001

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