The common argument for the war on Iraq as well as for the hysteria created by the political elite as well as the media is that it is “either them or us.” Why is this the case? Because they “hate us because we are free.” If this were the case we would indeed be in trouble, at least if they (the “haters”) were millions and millions and hated us so much that they had no problem dying to see us less free.
Of course, this doesn’t make much sense. Why would anyone blow himself up only because someone else is free? And are there thousands or millions of people like that? There could very well be some people who would consider dying for restricting others’ freedoms – at least, we know there are people willing to send others to die for this cause. After all, politicians and kings have acted in exactly this way for centuries. So the threat could be real.
But why is the threat limited to a certain ethnic group (Arabs) living in a certain region (the Middle East) and belonging to a certain religion (Islam)? There should be quite a few old-style Soviet Russians who would die to (even literally) see the old arch enemy the United States tremble with fear. And we know that anti-Americanism is a prevalent phenomenon in places like Europe and Latin America. Yet the warmongering politicians on Capitol Hill point only at Muslim Arabs living in the Middle East (and to some degree Muslim Arabs in the United States). This doesn’t make any sense.
Sense or nonsense, let’s play with the thought that the hatred towards freedom is ethnically, geographically, and religiously conditioned, i.e. that the political rascals are right. Then it wouldn’t make any sense to attack Iraq and Afghanistan while partnering with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and even subsidize the regimes in the latter countries. If these people really hate “us” because we are free and this hatred is an effect of them being Muslim Arabs living in the Middle East, then why are some our allies and others our enemies?
After all, the official version of the Iraq war is that the Iraqi people has been liberated and that a new, democratically elected government shall take over and rule the land. Why would such a government have any effect on the people’s hatred? Wouldn’t it be better to occupy the country and have American politicians directly rule the Iraqi people through a government loyal to Washington, D.C., and populated by non-Arab, non-Muslim, non-Middle Eastern people? Attacking Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussein and terrorism while handing over power to a people that according to the official propaganda “hates us” simply “because we are free” doesn’t make any sense.
But let’s assume that it does make sense, i.e. that their hatred is ethnically, geographically, and religiously based but that they can easily be taught not to hate if they can rule themselves through democratic process. And let’s assume this hatred is limited only to groups in the countries currently occupied by the United States as well as Iran but not its allies (forget about Usama bin Laden being Saudi and the Al Qaida camps in Pakistan for a minute). Then what?
The most important task for the United States government is pretty obvious: hunt the “haters” down in order to preserve the freedoms they hate so much and are willing to die to see us lose.
I’ll readily admit that the US government is doing the hunting, even though they are obviously pretty darn bad at it. Or did the CIA train Usama (oops…) so well that he now can so totally fool his former teachers? In either case, the hunting for this man and his fellow terrorists goes on seven years after the terrible events on 9/11 that literally shocked the whole world.
But what about our freedoms? They have carefully been dismantled by the same government that is now in the Middle East spending our money to kill the people who are threats to those very freedoms. The Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and a whole set of new laws have given the United States government enormous powers (read: removed formal paper-barriers) to listen in on people’s phone calls, steal their properties, throw them in jail, torture and even kill them – without any restrictions or individual rights at all.
This doesn’t make any sense at all, unless the government is very, very serious about removing the threat at any cost. Hunting down the terrorists while stripping Americans of all their freedoms would certainly thwart all threats to those now forever lost freedoms: there will be no one to hate us, and nothing to hate. But is the cost worth it? Is the government, presumably instituted among men to protect our “inalienable” rights, really representing us when it strips us of those rights in order to “protect” us?
We can only conclude that even if we accept a lot of the political BS we’re fed as truths, the argument still doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense at all.
Yet many seem to fall for it.