My humble opinion on
September 16, 2001
Why Do They Hate Us?
Many are calling the terrorist attacks
in New York and Washington, DC "senseless" and are asking why
would anyone do such a thing.
The only answer I can give is hate.
These people, and by that I mean the radical Islamists who most likely
instigated this assault, hate us. They hate America. They hate
So why do they hate us?
America is wealthy. America strives to
practice freedom, tolerance, and generosity. America holds lofty ideals
that have made us the leading power in the world, despite the fact that
we haven't always adhered to those ideals, and further despite that
we've existed for just over 200 years, a relative blink in time. Many
countries and cultures have existed for thousands of years, including
the Muslim culture and its religion, Islam, yet most of their people
remain poor and lack basic necessities that Western countries take for
The vast, vast majority of Muslims are
peaceful, decent, hard-working people. They are tolerant of competing
faiths, such as Christianity. While they dislike many aspects of
American life and culture (materialism, advertising, shallowness, etc),
they abhor all acts of violence and condemned last Tuesday's attack.
Virtually all Muslims living in the U.S. are faithful, patriotic
Americans, no different than any other citizen in their love of their
The small minority of radical Muslims
are the people who hate America. The ruling party in Afghanistan, the
Taliban, is one example. They believe their version of Islam is the one
true faith, which must be imposed on all people. Those who refuse Islam
are infidels and subject to death. They are everything most Muslims are
not - intolerant, full of hate. They believe in spreading Islam
throughout the world, and see the United States and other Western
countries as major hurdles in their quest.
These radicals do not believe in
freedom. The people subject to their rule are forced to abide by strict
standards of dress and behavior. Deviants are brutally punished. News
and events from the outside world are censored and filtered through the
authorities, which then disseminate them to their people with a
pro-Islam, anti-Western slant.
In short, they oppose and despise
everything we Americans hold dear. They hate us for who we are. The only
good American is a dead American.
There is no way to placate these
radicals, short of betraying all our principals and renouncing basic
Not so fast, says others. Yes, radical
Muslims may not agree with our mode of government, but they hate us
because we support Israel. They hate us because we are involved in the
Middle East. They hate our military bases in Saudi Arabia. They hate us
because of the Gulf War. They hate us because of the economic embargo on
Iraq, which has starved thousand of innocent Iraqis. They hate American
not because of who we are, but what we do.
If we want to end terrorism, these
people say, if we wish to make friends with the radicals, then we should
stop doing what makes them so upset. Lift the embargo on Iraq. Withdraw
from the Middle East. End our support (financial and political) for
Israel. Then they'll leave us alone.
Once we do all this, then the radicals
have no further reason to hate Americans, and therefore no reason to
kill them. Our borders, our people, and our country will be safe. We
will have peace. If we refuse, if we continue on the same course, then
not only should we expect more violence, but we actively encourage
Those seem to be the two competing
answers to the question, why do they hate us?
But which is correct? I lean more
toward the first answer. I think the radicals would hate us regardless
of our (sometime tepid) support for Israel, or other policies toward the
The second answer implies that when
thousands of innocent civilians are murdered by suicide bombers, it's our
fault. I find that repugnant.
Despite our shortcomings, America
remains a shining torch for hope in a world darkened by despair. America
offers opportunity, liberty, tolerance, while too many countries such as
Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, offer only poverty, oppression, and terror.
Besides, it's because of what we
believe that we support Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle
East. It's because of what we believe that we support the embargo on
Iraq, in an effort to force Saddam Hussein to act like a decent human
being. Whether the embargo accomplishes this is certainly a debatable
question, of course.
I don't think there is any way to
placate these people. Any concessions we make would only be seen as
weakness. These people have sworn to be our enemies. So long as they
insist on doing so, we should return the sentiment, and treat them