Bayou Calvinist

A Somewhat Eclectic Discussion by a Law Student Concerning All of Today's Major Topics, as well as, a Few Not So Major Topics

Monday, June 27, 2005

Why do they Hate us? Is it Gitmo?

One of the commonly heard reasons for the existence of terrorists bent on our destruction is said to be American unilateralism and less than pristine treatment of prisoners at Gitmo and Abu Ghriab. Basically that our strength is our greatest weakness. Where does this notion come from? My personal opinion is that many feel that such actions would upset our own sensibilities and cause us to consider retaliation if our soldiers were found in similar prisons. Putting aside the fact that what is so far known to have occured in these prisons would be seen as a welcomed relief from my perspective (if U.S. POWs/hostages were in the place of these terrorist prisoners), all of this talk misses the true threat that such supposed abuses have on the war effort. It is widely assumed by many that such purported "abuses" will lead to a stronger enemy and thus make our chances of success in this war decrease. This is exactly backwards from what history suggests. If anything it has been the precieved weakness on the west's part by our present enemies which has led to this upsurge in violence. It was not western involvement in the middle east alone which has led to the great rise in militant Islam over the past several years. Rather, in most cases, it was what has been seen as weakness that has led these terrorists to even attempt taking on the west. The events which have continuosly preceded the greatest surges in terroristic violence have been: U.S. withdrawl from Beirut in 1982, Iraq in 1991/2, Somolia in 1993, Israeli withdrawl from Lebanon in 2000. Listen to any of the instructions to their supporters by the Arafats, bin Ladens and Husseins of the world and you will hear these events repeated over and over as reason for hope in reaching their goals by attacking the U.S. and Israel. The excesses and abuses of the west on the other hand have indeed had a terrible effect on chances for success in their war efforts. But the reason for the diminishing of these chances is that such abuses lead to a drop in the morale and support amongst westerners, themselves, who have traditionally been unwilling to support a cause they percieve as tainted or sullied. It seems that the key to winning the war in Iraq and in the broader middle east is for continuous support from the American public. And to ensure that such support is present for the duration, it is necessary that great efforts are made to ensure that abuses do not occur (which for the most part I feel have been done, to the greatest extent possible without giving up too much in the way of operational freedom); and to make certain that when questioning current events one is very careful to have their facts completely straight while not resorting to hyperbole and politically charged accusations.

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