Translating Words, Interpreting Events

Do America’s Policies Create Terrorists?

Print Friendly

By Ryan Mauro

PJ Media

For all their philosophical differences, Republican/Libertarian Congressman Ron Paul and President Obama have found an area of agreement: terrorism is a reaction to flawed American foreign policy. To them, it is a political reaction that then lends itself to extremism, rather than an ideology that makes followers view current events with as much perversion as they view everything else.

On December 28, during a debate on Larry King Live, Paul said that “they are terrorists because we are occupiers.” On January 5, President Obama said that Guantanamo Bay was “an explicit rationale for the formation of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” the affiliate responsible for the Christmas airliner plot. This actually isn’t accurate, but this statement still substantiates the arguments of terrorists that they are simply responding to the actions of the U.S. and the key to stopping them is to stop provoking their anger. The truth is that al-Qaeda was already in Yemen before the controversy over the prison even began, and the terrorist group was targeting us long before Guantanamo Bay was even cited as an example of injustice.

Americans, surrounded for the most part by debate based on rational-thinking philosophy, struggle to understand totalitarian ideologies like that of radical Islam. In America, people generally react with violence only under the most extreme stress and provocation, so there is an inclination to assume that we didsomething to spark this reaction. This leads to the mistaken but common belief that somehow anger at American policy naturally results in terrorism as an act of final resort to change it, but political opposition does not translate into supporting theocracy, the killing of civilians, and the other extremist tenets of radical Islam.

Most of the world opposes American policy, yet this disagreement does not turn into suicide bombings and beheadings outside of the Islamic world. Without this inherently dangerous ideology in place, this dispute does not result in extremism of this kind. Without the ideology glorifying such attacks, this progression does not occur, and even if our foreign policy was changed to not be so “aggressive” in the eyes of the world, the nature of the ideology means the end result would be the same. For all his claims that he’s simply trying to stop American imperialism, Osama bin Laden himself admits this. Let’s look at how he handled the question of whether he was solely motivated by politics, as quoted in Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader.

Bin Laden says:

Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue — one that demands our total support, with power and determination, with one voice — and it is: does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually?

He then answers his own question:

Yes. There are only three choices in Islam: [1] either willing submission [conversion]; [2] or payment of the jizya, through physical, though not spiritual, submission to the authority of Islam; [3] or the sword — for it is not right to let him [an infidel] live. The matter is summed up for every person alive: either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die.


  • SoCalMike

    I think the media is tickled at Rand Paul’s moral equivalence.
    What exactly were we “occupying” on 9/11??

    He’s just another squeamish confused Repube when it comes to foreign policy.

    • Derelictus

      Um, Bin Laden was pissed that we were in Saudi Arabia, the Holy Land etc., it was one of his central gripes against America. Also our support for Israel, etc. Do you really think we were minding our own business before 9/11? This isn’t JUSTIFYING bin Laden’s actions, it’s just trying to understand, partially, what motivated his aggressions.

      Ibrahim certainly isn’t wrong in his analysis, however he just sort of ignores the entire concept of ‘blowback’ (which is a theory introduced by rational thinkers in the CIA, so it’s hardly conspiracy-theory nonsense). No sane person would argue that if the US weren’t involved in the Middle East, that Islamic regimes would stop being brutal to their citizens, and non-Muslims in particular. That completely misrepresents the anti-interventionist argument. (Yes I know far-leftists make that argument, which is why they’re leftists…they’re idiots.)

      • MarilynA

        I see you have bought into the Abused Citizen Syndrome that has overcome the USA and has reduced this once great nation to cowering like frightened women before the world’s bullies and would be emperors over all of us.

      • SoCalMike

        We were there with the consent and at the request of the Saudi government. There was no occupying going on.
        I know the CIA offered their “Blowback” explanations.
        I originally believed them. I don’t anymore.

        You might notice something if you look. No matter where they commit murder and mass murder and wage war on the face of the earth, our own media says “in response to X harsh policy by Y oppressive government” even while the jihadis cite theology as their own motive.
        They attack first, then claim grievances as the reason for murder or war whether in Xin Jiang, Manhattan, Israel, Thailand or Fort Hood, or Nigeria, or Beslan ad nauseum ad infinitum.

  • MarilynA

    American foreign policy should be based on what is good for America and Americans. However, the political activists on the left, most of whom have advanced degrees in Psychology have used the Abused Spouse Syndrome tactics to convince everyone that everything that goes wrong is America’s and western civilizations’ fault and if we would just try hoarder, give more, etc. we could change the world into a paradise where everyone loved everyone else. It ain’t going to happen. there will always be bullies and a bully will push you as far as you are willing to back up. Ronald Reagan had it right. The only was to achieve peace with the world’s bullies is to be stronger than they are. Peace through Strength is the only way to survive in this world.