Why They Hate Us

December 4th, 2009 at 4:13 pm | 19 Comments |

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Stephen M. Walt, the famously anti-Israeli Harvard Professor is at it again.  Just as President Obama is sending an additional 30,000 fighting men to prevent the takeover of Afghanistan by the types of Muslims who throw acid in women’s faces and kill little girls for going to school, he chimes in with this helpful piece of mendacious agitprop:

The estimable Cliff May has countered some of this rot here but I want to take this on from a different aspect.  On its own terms it is idiocy.

First, why was there a war in 1990-1991 when Professor Walt’s death count begins?  Did not Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait, an entirely Muslim country, and begin killing men, raping women and exiling the entire ruling class?  Did this not offend Muslims?  Why, yes it did!  Saudi Arabia, keeper of the shrines of Mecca and Medina, invited in the U.S. and a coalition comprising even Syria, to retake Kuwait and drive Saddam out of the little Gulf State.  Most of the members of the Arab League backed the war and, as with Syria, participated in it.  The main reason we stopped short of deposing Saddam was precisely to stop the ground war in 100 hours, mostly at the behest of those self-same Arabs.  So, an international coalition, including all of the Arab world except the Palestinians aided the U.S. in getting rid of the anti-Islamic Saddam Hussein from an independent Moslem country and this is supposed to have increased Arab grievance?

Second, approval of America is usually higher in Iraq than it is in Egypt.  It is typically higher in Kuwait than it is in Jordan.  We have killed virtually no Egyptians or Jordanians, and a number of people in Kuwait and Iraq.  What could account for the difference?  You could play this game with many other states in the Arab world.  The number of deaths is simply not comparable to America approval.

Third, where are the numbers for the British and French?  They have killed many, many Moslems in the last 50 years but seem to have higher approval rates than America.  The Danes have killed almost no Moslems or Arabs in the last 50 years but have a very bad reputation in the Arab world.  Why would that be?  They allowed cartoons to be published!

Fourth, the world’s most populous majority Moslem country is Indonesia.  In 2006, while America was preparing the surge and fighting in Afghanistan and George W. Bush was President, America’s approval there was dramatically improved. This is dramatic evidence that it is local factors and press and not some amorphous view of America’s death toll against enemies that drives Moslem approval or disapproval.

Professor Walt puts in the caveats that he was for the first Gulf War and fighting the Taliban but the deaths can’t be ignored as the reason why America is in bad odor in that part of the world.  Far be it from me to defend Tom Friedman who Walt is attacking in this piece, but it sure seems that Jordanian, Egyptian, and Moroccan hostility to the U.S. has little to do with how many Arabs have died in wars against the United States.  It is support for their governments that drives the popular dislike of us in those places, combined with the U.S. position that Israel be allowed to exist.

Walt, a professor at Harvard no less, makes no effort to test his theory.  Where is the graph of Arab approval of the U.S. versus Arab deaths by country?  Where is the graph of the Arab/Moslem view of countries besides the United States?  Even by its own premises this argument is a bust.  I have little doubt the approval of the United States in Germany and Japan was higher in 1960 than in 1939.  In the interim we had killed hundreds of thousands of Germans and Japanese.  The difference was regime change and a change in the population’s tolerance for tyranny.  Mr. Walt might take a lesson.

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19 Comments so far ↓

  • MI-GOPer

    Dr Walt is an excellent example of the ol’ cliche, comfortable professors grow fat and long in the tooth. Only with Dr Walt’s version of HateAmerica, he’s ahead of the curve.

    He’s been in the center of Harvard’s “Let’s Bash America” club for so long that he truly thinks people outside America hate us as much or more than he does. I know, I know; pity that and let’s show him how to get to Canada or Cuba –doesn’t matter, they’re kind of the same in the end.

    Dr Walt fits the far Left, democrat stereotype that his heroes, Barack Obama and Mikey Dukakis and JimmineyCarter and HHH, fit as well. The only way to respond to America’s greatness is to trash the core values that put us on top, question the wisdom of being on top, work with their friends to see us removed from the perch.

    It’s Bill Ayers meets Rev Wright at another Henry Gates beer summit kind of trash America moment. And like with the “scientists” on the far Left behind the ClimateGate and all the revelations that it wasn’t exactly science, it was mostly spin, Dr Walt is trying to work that ol’ voodoo, you-do magic thingie and trick Americans once again. It won’t work, of course.

    And let’s remember, Dr Walt was chosen to make Harvard appear more moderate when uber-short Robert Reich left the Ivory Tower for some heavylifting in the “I Hate America Too” Clinton Cabinet. You can’t expect bright lights and smarts from Harvard.

    For that, you need to travel to the Univ of Michigan were patriots aren’t afraid to wear their Flag label pins.

  • ottovbvs

    ……..Drop a bomb on my house….invade my country ……or how to win friends and influence people in the muslim world……the difference between Walt and Vecchione is that Walt is a highly qualified academic who invariably backs up his opinions with a mountain of evidence while Vecchione is a shill who deals in generalized outrage……I’m sure if the Chinese invade America they will be enormously popular by his standards

  • BarryS

    I don’t think you can quantify the deaths/approval thing but you can draw direct parallels between things like Abu Ghraib, torture, internment without trial and the number of muslim extremists worldwide.

    Many of these people particularly the home grown variety were not jihadist before these methods were used. Many particularly in Europe saw the way we treated their muslim brothers and wanted payback.

    We have created far more terrorists than we have ever killed.

  • ottovbvs

    BarryS // Dec 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    ” We have created far more terrorists than we have ever killed.’

    ……We Americans have many wonderful qualities……but the ability to put ourselves in other people’s shoes isn’t one of them…….If “THEY” dropped a bomb on Vecchione’s house and killed his wife and several children, or maybe threw his son in the slammer for three years while he desperately tried to get his release……would Vecchione feel well inclined towards “THEY”…….not very likely is it?……in this context we are “THEY”…….as for gopher he’s so brain dead he wouldn’t know a bomb had been dropped

  • Greg

    BarryS wrote, “you can draw direct parallels between things like Abu Ghraib, torture, internment without trial and the number of muslim extremists worldwide.”

    Yes, but can you support those parallels without drawing a rabid left wing rabbit out of your hat?

    ottovbvs, your extended ellipses are endearing. Care to actually address Vecchione’s argument–without stammering?

  • sinz54

    Let’s look at the history:

    The first wave of Islamist terrorism began in the 1970s, long before the U.S. went to war against Iraq. The PLO staged that spectacular triple hijacking, ending in the blowing up of all three jetliners. This wave of terrorism was in direct response to the Israeli victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, which gave Israel control of the West Bank and Gaza.

    The terrorism continued. In 1985, Palestinian terrorists attacked a cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, and murdered an American passenger, Leon Klingoffer.

    Now what did the U.S. do to “provoke” this? The only thing the U.S. did was back Israel, a sovereign member of the U.N. created by a U.N. mandate in 1947.

    Four times at least, the U.S. has intervened on the side of Muslims.

    The U.S. and Britain kicked the German Nazis out of North Africa.

    The U.S. aided the Afghan rebels to expel the Soviet invaders.

    The U.S. intervened on the side of the Albanian Kosovars.

    And the U.S. expelled Saddam, who wore his Islam on his sleeve, from Kuwait, a devout Muslim country.

    Did the U.S. get any credit from Arab Muslims for any of these actions? No. For a couple of reasons:

    1. First, fundamentalist Muslims believe that the U.S. Government, being secular, is ipso facto illegitimate.

    2. The U.S. support of Israel rankles Muslims particularly. They believe that all of the Middle East belongs to them. And anyone else–Jews, Christians, secularists–has to either accept second-class citizenship under Muslim rule or else get the hell out.

    3. The sight of U.S. army “infidels” walking around on Saudi Arabia, the “holy soil” of Islam and the home of Mecca and Medina, is unforgivable as far as the radical Islamists are concerned. This was the main gripe that Osama bin Laden cited in his 1998 fatwa against America–NOT the Gulf War. IOW, Osama was angrier about Desert Shield than about Desert Storm. And he retaliated two years later–with the first WTC bombing in 1993. The failure of Saddam to be toppled after the Gulf War led to a permanent U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia. That infuriates fundamentalist Sunnis.

    Now having said that, the spectacle of the U.S. fighting a dirty counterinsurgency war in Iraq as a consequence of having invaded the country to find WMD that wasn’t there, isn’t exactly going to endear us to the Muslim world. As I said, fundamentalist Muslims aren’t going to be impressed with Western notions of secular democracy. They consider that type of government illegitimate, un-Islamic. Hence even if we succeed at building a pluralistic government and society in Iraq, these Muslims are going to like us less for it!

    I wish to hell we had found that WMD stockpile that Bush swore was there. At least then, all this chaos might have been worth the price.

    The Bush notion that building secular/pluralistic Western democracies in Muslim countries is going to deter Islamist terrorism is flat wrong. If anything, it may encourage it because fundamentalist Muslims see that type of regime as alien.

    We forgot an essential lesson from the Cold War: The goal of Nixon and Kissinger was to divide the USSR from Red China, not try to turn either into a Western-style democracy.

  • sinz54

    BarryS: Many of these people particularly the home grown variety were not jihadist before these methods were used.
    The methods were less important than the war itself.

    My original understanding of the Iraq War was that we were going into Iraq to disarm Saddam, get all the WMD out of there, get Saddam too. And then our military effort would end, and the U.N. and/or U.S. State Department could help transition Iraq to a stable republic. (The original war plan called for all U.S. troops except a token force of 5,000 to be out of Iraq by December 2006.)

    Had the war run that way, I very much doubt the Muslim world would have become infuriated.

    But we encountered a series of deviations:

    1. There was no WMD to be found.

    2. The U.S. force was wholly inadequate to maintain order, and chaos enabled terrorism to breed. (Remember that according to the Geneva Convention, the Occupying Power–that’s us–has the responsibility to maintain order in the Occupied Territory–that’s Iraq. So even if Abu Ghraib had not existed, Rumsfeld had already violated the Geneva Convention with his breezy response to looting and violence: “Democracy is messy.”)

    3. Bush stubbornly continued to hope that the Iraqi Army could take over, while Iraq sank into violence even more. This wasn’t corrected till Bush replaced Casey with Petraeus and the surge began.

    As a result, thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed, all televised around the world to Muslim audiences. That wasn’t what Bush had intended–in fact, Rumsfeld had demanded a “small footprint” force to avoid antagonizing the Iraqis with a heavy U.S. presence. It was the result of strategic and tactical incompetence on the part of Rumsfeld, Casey, and Bush himself.

  • BarryS

    “Yes, but can you support those parallels without drawing a rabid left wing rabbit out of your hat?”

    Yes I can. The london bombers were radicalized exactly that way and quoted specific activities by the USA in prisoner abuse as their reason for bombing the London tube and the bus (by accident).

    It’s called unintended consequences. Something the Bush administration knew nothing about. You abuse people in one place and it causes an effect elsewhere. When Bush took over Al Queda was a relatively tiny organization confined to one or two countries. When he left it was spread over most of northern Africa, most European countries (home grown) and still active in Afghanistan and Pakistan after 8 years of war. Quite a success!

  • BarryS

    “As a result, thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed, all televised around the world to Muslim audiences. That wasn’t what Bush had intended–in fact, Rumsfeld had demanded a “small footprint” force to avoid antagonizing the Iraqis with a heavy U.S. presence. It was the result of strategic and tactical incompetence on the part of Rumsfeld, Casey, and Bush himself.”

    Shock and Awe ™ tends to kill people, collateral damage another unintended consequence tends to pee people off somewhat. If we kill 100,000 Of their countrymen it does tend to get people a bit angry.

    As someone else said it’s a major American failing that we can’t put ourselves in other peoples shoes (thrown or otherwise) Just think, if the Chinese had though that it was time for regime change in the USA and decided to remove Bush.

    They do a week of bombing major cities killing many thousands, they invade and occupy our country, they seize people off the street and put them in prison without trial for years on end. They torture our citizens. They install a puppet communist government.

    What would our reaction be, would we welcome them with open arms? Would we be happy with the situation.

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Dec 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Four times at least, the U.S. has intervened on the side of Muslims.

    “The U.S. and Britain kicked the German Nazis out of North Africa.”

    “The U.S. aided the Afghan rebels to expel the Soviet invaders.”

    ……..Not because the Germans were threatening Britain’s protectorate in Egypt or it’s key communications link of the Suez Canal to it’s Indian and far Eastern possession……..not as a proxy war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union….no it was all for the benefit of Muslims…….In these bizarre statements that are summarized the entire picture of Sinz’s cockamamie world view ……Sinz god bless him is totally unconsious of his hilarity

  • balconesfault

    sinz: But we encountered a series of deviations:

    You left out perhaps the most important one – deBaathification.

    The Baathists were the ones who could have run the Iraqi Army in a way to keep the fanatics at bay. They’d done it for decades. The Baathists were the ones who knew how to make the infrastructure work, and to distribute food and water to the people. We declared that they couldn’t have any real jobs – which meant that the most experienced, motivated people in the country were left sitting around with nothing to do except plot how they would make life miserable for the Americans who did this to them.

    It was as if you had taken FEMA and gotten rid of all the top level management who believed that the Federal Government needed to play an important role in emergency management, and replaced them with a bunch of managers who believed that society would be better off if all emergency response was delegated down to the state and local level and that the Federal Government should play a minimal role, and a major disaster occurred while the people were still expecting the Federal Government to play the lead role.

  • Danny_K

    See, the difference between us and the Afghans is that THEY get mad when their house gets invaded by armed foreigners in the middle of the night, or their wedding party gets bombed, or their crops get sprayed with defoliants. THEY don’t understand that it’s all for a good cause, and that WE are the good guys.

    It’s impossible to reason with people like that.

  • michaelkpate

    BarryS: When Bush took over Al Queda was a relatively tiny organization confined to one or two countries. When he left it was spread over most of northern Africa, most European countries (home grown) and still active in Afghanistan and Pakistan after 8 years of war. Quite a success!

    I rather think that is something of a mischaracterization.

    The Muslim fundamentalist groups Hamas and Hezbollah operate a support network across the United States and are recruiting and training people here for terrorist operations overseas, a former top FBI official said. – Star-Telegram, November 17, 1994

    Afghanistan could become a source of Islamic militancy against both India and the United States, according to fresh reports from the war-torn country. – July 26, 1996

    However, the Independent has confirmed Mr Bin Laden, accused by the US State Department of being “one of the most significant financial sponsors of Islamic extremist activities in the world today”, did write the call for jihad (holy war) from Afghanistan on 22 August. – September 2, 1996

    The world’s intelligence agencies – have known for months that Middle Eastern terrorists were plotting a frightening onslaught against the United States. A possible reason is revenge for the ongoing New York trial of Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, accused of plotting to bomb the World Trade Center and other sites in New York. – April 20, 1995

    Between August 1998 and January 1999, U.S. outposts overseas received more than 650 threats from the bid Laden network. Intelligence officials told CNN they have been receiving about six credible terrorist threats a day from people believed to be affiliated with him. – June 17, 1999

    The indictment describes bin Laden as the leader, or “emir,” of al Qaeda, a “global terrorist organization” with tentacles that allegedly reach from his hideout in the mountains of Afghanistan to followers in Texas, Florida and New York. – August 1, 1999

    From his base in Afghanistan bin Laden runs a group of Arab and Muslim militants called Al-Qaida or “the base.” U.S. intelligence reports describe Al-Quaida as an extensive Islamist network and blame it for orchestrating terrorism around the world. – January 4, 2001

    Bin Laden is believed to be at the center of an international coalition of Islamic radicals. Al Qaeda has forged alliances with like-minded fundamentalist groups such as Egypt’s Al Jihad, Iran’s Hezbollah, Sudan’s National Islamic Front, and jihad groups in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia, according to the U.S. government. Bin Laden’s organization also has ties to the “Islamic Group,” led at one time by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian cleric serving a life sentence since his 1995 conviction for a thwarted plot to blow up various New York landmarks. – September 27, 2001

    BarryS: london bombers were radicalized exactly that way and quoted specific activities by the USA in prisoner abuse as their reason for bombing the London tube and the bus (by accident).

    So you believe Islamic Extremists didn’t operate in London prior to the War in Iraq? The truth is somewhat different.

    Israel blamed Islamic extremists for a powerful car bomb that exploded Tuesday behind the Israel Embassy in London, severely damaging the building and injuring 14 people. The bomb blew out windows of nearby Kensington Palace, home to several members of Britain’s Royal Family, including Princess Diana.- Jul 27, 1994

    Hoping to rein in terror in Northern Ireland, Britain has finally enacted anti-terrorist measures which may also make it trickier for Middle Eastern terrorists to operate out of London, Douglas Davis writes. – September 15, 1998

    SCOTLAND YARD warned the public yesterday to be vigilant against the threat of a terrorist strike by Islamic extremists during the millennium celebrations. The warning follows arrests abroad of suspected Islamic militants and the leak of an FBI report that said between five and 15 operations were planned on cities worldwide. – December 24, 1999

    A website offering young Muslims the chance to learn all about explosives and the “art of bone breaking” was shut down this week under a new British crackdown on Islamic extremists. – October 4, 2001

    On Wednesday, Abdul Haqq Bakr, the chairman of south London’s Brixton Mosque and Islamic Cultural Center, said that Mr. Reid had joined prayers at the mosque in late 1995 and left in 1998. Mr. Bakr said that Mr. Reid’s mother, Lesley Hughes, said he had gone to Pakistan, a frequent way station in the 1990′s for British Muslims seeking to join radical Islamic movements with bases in Afghanistan. – December 28, 2001

    The intelligence agencies MI6 and MI5 are sending extra officers to Afghanistan and Pakistan to question Britons suspected of fighting with the Taliban amid concerns at the size and complexity of Islamic extremist networks in the UK. – January 7, 2002

    LSE authorities recognised that fundamentalist activity was getting out of control in 1995 when extremist groups – who want to see an Islamic state founded in Britain – recruited on campus. – January 27, 2002

    One thing to keep in mind when citing terrorists as a source of information: they just might be lying.

  • BarryS

    “One thing to keep in mind when citing terrorists as a source of information: they just might be lying.”

    One thing about quoting anything the Bush regime said over 8 years. They are lying.

    I said if you bothered to read properly Al Queda was a small organization pre Bush I didn’t talk abort Hezbollah, the IRA or Hamas. So to use those as examples i specious.

    The fact is that Al Queda and groups sympathetic to their cause are more widespread and difficult to contain now than they ever were before Bush did his splendid foreign warmongering.

  • jabbermule

    One thing about quoting anything BarryS says in this forum: He will make up anything to try and justify his misguided socialist/pacifist worldview.

  • michaelkpate

    If you are going to reply to something I write, it just might be appropriate to read some of it.

    BarryS: One thing about quoting anything the Bush regime said over 8 years. They are lying.

    None of the material I cited came from the Bush Administration. So unless you believe were somehow controlling the mainstream media six years before he took office, that doesn’t address any point I made.

    BarryS: said if you bothered to read properly Al Queda was a small organization pre Bush

    I could argue that it is “specious” to try to differentiate between various Islamist organizations because the cross ties between them are well-documented as my examples show. For example, Ayman al-Zawahiri merged his Egyptian branch of Islamic Jihad into Al-Qaeda in 1998 and is now bin Laden’s top lieutenant. I don’t think you can connect that to the Governor of Texas.

    But let’s go through the quotes again and highlight the parts you missed.

    1996 – “One of the most significant financial sponsors of Islamic extremist activities in the world today”

    1999 – “650 threats from the bid Laden network”

    2001 – “U.S. intelligence reports describe Al-Quaida as an extensive Islamist network and blame it for orchestrating terrorism around the world.”

    All of the examples you think are “specious” are from the Clinton era. It doesn’t and didn’t matter how many actual members of al Qaeda existed but where their influence reached.

    We so know that al Qaeda leaders like Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Saif al Islam el Masry, Mohammed Atef, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were all captured or killed in the last 8 years. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri no longer dare surface outside the tribal areas of Pakistan.

    If the answer to incessant terror attacks from 1993 to 2001 was to do nothing, then President Bush did the wrong thing. But I don’t happen to believe that and the facts support my side of the argument and not yours. If you can find some to support your argument, feel free to reply again.

  • jakester

    The Islamic world has been primed to hate us mainly through our support of Israel and Ayatollah and his ilk onwards. It has little to do with body counts. Though to give this May some credit, the more we bomb and kill in both coutnries, as well as pointlessly inconclusive Israeli operations in Gaza and Lebanon, the more Islamic enemies we will create. Pointing to massacres in Algeria, Somalia, Sudan, old Iraq or the Iranian tyranny and calling them hypocrites is true but irrelevant; the game has nothing to do with a grand master tally body count. If we kill some popular muhjadien in some remote province in Afghanistan, familial or tribal revenge and loyalty may well drive his famly and neighbors to take up arms against our lame proxy called Karzai. Politics there tends to be local. So more war will tend to create more enemies based on tribal ways.

    Do not assume that I am underplaying the Islamic threat, I am merely pointing out our body count way of fighting, without any popular anti-Islamic groundswell to buttess our goals, is merely shadow boxing. Little of the true Islamic nature was explained by Bush, who ran to a mosque every week, and none under Obama. As unpopular as the Cold War was at times, millions of foreigners, many who had close experience wiht the Reds, supported the over all effort. We can’t even do something as simple as throttle Islamic immigration so we have the worse country in the world sending people here to fatten up so they can go back to their hole of a country and blow doctors up in a hotel.

  • jakester

    Maybe so jabbermule,
    But what is the total strength of all those groups and what small percent of that represents a threat to us? Do you think we are just going to waltz into those countries, kick all their butts then the problem is solved? If so then you have some childish movie concept of war and politics.

  • jakester

    MI-GOPer
    I am sort of new here, but do you always write in such silly over generalized cliches to avoid thinking? That sounds awful talk radio to me.