By Harry Braun
The thousands of people who died in the World Trade Center attack were the unfortunate victims of a U.S. foreign policy that talks about supporting democracy abroad, but in fact has been supporting brutal and undemocratic regimes all over the world. Indeed, most Muslim intellectuals believe that American prosperity has been based on supporting oppressive regimes in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Iran, Vietnam, Chile, Indonesia, the Congo, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Iraq - to name a few. According to a page one story published in The New York Times (August 18, 2002), the U.S. was even providing military assistance to Iraq at a time when senior American officials knew that Saddam Hussein was planning to use chemical weapons on his Iranian enemies. While the Bush Administration likes to portray the "terrorists" as those who hate "freedom," such simplistic slogans ignore the real reasons why millions of people have developed an intense hatred not so much for America and its social and religious freedoms, but for its foreign policies that result in unnecessary atrocities. It is why millions of people around the world cheered as the towers fell. While U.S. dependence on Middle East oil has been driving U.S. foreign policy in the region since World War II, and while shifting from oil to hydrogen would eliminate this dependence and the billions of dollars that now flow each week into the Middle East countries, such a transition would not address the more fundamental problems with U.S. foreign policy.
Middle East Considerations
Nowhere is this policy more obvious than in the Middle East, where the U.S. was primarily responsible for imposing the state of Israel on the Palestinian Arabs in 1948. While both the Arabs and Israelis have legitimate historical claims to the land, the result has been murder and chaos ever since. Indeed, the U.S. is the only country in the world that supports Israel's policy of brutally taking the lives, homes and property of the Palestinian Arabs without compensation. Large numbers of Palestinian children are now literally starving to death as a direct result of the illegal Israeli occupation. While most Americans are unconcerned, the Al Jazerra Arab Television Network broadcasts these inhumane events daily to millions of Muslims, which only intensifies their hatred towards the U.S. It is why Osama bin Laden is a superstar hero for an entire generation of millions of young people now growing up in the Muslim world.
If such oppression were imposed on Americans, they would also fight to the death to oppose such tyranny. While most Americans deplore the actions of the Palestinian suicide bombers, they forget that large numbers of U.S. solders, sailors and airmen proudly gave their lives in what they knew were suicide missions because they believed the sacrifice was necessary for the defense of our country. Where is the difference? It is important to realize that the history if the Middle East may have been very different if Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had not been assassinated by a right -wing Israeli fundamentalist who wanted to scuttle the land for peace process. Unfortunately, Ariel Sharon's brutal treatment of the Arabs is as despicable as America's treatment of the Indians, the Vietnamese, and now the Iraqis. Just as most of the anti-Americanism in the world is focused on the policies of the Bush administration, what is perceived as anti-Israeli attitudes are in fact mostly focused on the policies of the Sharon administration. This issue is one of the fundamental reasons why WW III is now underway.
While the government of Israel would not allow the press to observe the recent military assaults into Palestine, hundreds of patriotic Israeli solders, who have served in the territories, indicated on a recent 60 Minutes broadcast that they were so appalled and sickened at what they witnessed, that that they have refused to participate any longer in what they characterized as a brutal and unjustified military operation.
Much of the world questioned the premise of attacking Iraq because its UN violations, because the government of Israel has violated roughly three times as many U.N. resolutions as Iraq over the past 20 years. Moreover, even though the U.S. is the only country that provides significant financial and military support to Israel, the Sharon administration disobeyed a direct order from President Bush to stop its military incursions into the Palestinian territories. The Sharon administration has not only leveled homes and neighborhoods, but literally destroyed the plumbing and electrical services in the Palestinian territories. Now a large population of Palestinian children are not only chronically malnourished but they are living in squalor. Ironically, the sewage wastes are now contaminating the critical underground aquifers that supply water to both Palestinians and Israelis. Yet the government of Israel is not even threatened with economic pressure from the U.S.-much less U.S. military action.
Such glaring inconsistencies in U.S. foreign policy may be dismissed by most Americans, but it seems obvious to me that these policies are the primary reason why hundreds of millions of people in the world are now growing up with an intense hatred for America and Israel. The key question for the American people is why our government, which is constitutionally forbidden from favoring one religion over another in domestic issues, is doing exactly that with respect to supporting Israel with billions of dollars in annual payments, and the most advanced weapons in the world. It's not as though Israel has some significant natural resource that the U.S. needs, such as oil or water. It doesn't. As such, it is clear that the unilateral U.S. support of Israel and its occupation of the Arab territories is based on the fundamentalist Jewish religious belief that God gave the land in Israel to the Jews, and not the Arabs. This view is obviously not shared by the vast majority of the people in the region, which happen to be Muslims who have lived there for centuries.
The Founding Fathers of the U.S. were also referred to as "terrorists" by the superpower of the day. Recall that it was Patrick Henry who said in defiance "give me liberty or give me death."
America has clearly taken sides in this religious war, and by announcing his Administration was launching a new "Crusade," against the terrorist Muslims, President Bush further radicalized millions of the world's 1.8 billion Muslims who know all too well about the atrocities that were committed during the last Crusades. These Muslims are quick to remind us that the Founding Fathers of the U.S. were also referred to as terrorists by the superpower of the day, and that it was Patrick Henry who said in defiance "give me liberty or give me death." Until these obvious injustices of U.S. foreign policy have been resolved, the war against terror can never be won, and innocent people on both sides of the conflict will continue to be slaughtered. Instead of being guided by a philosophy of "he who has the gold makes the rules," the guiding principle of U.S. foreign policy should be to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."