It was predictable. For years I’ve been writing that the U.S. Government has been making more enemies than Americans really need, all over the globe, and that one of these days some of them would have a nasty surprise for us.
It is a time that American should ask their leadership that why Pan Am Flight 103 over Lokerbie went into flames in 1988. It is time that Americans should ask their leadership that why World Trade Center was bombed in 1993. They should ask their leadership that why the bombing of the Khaboor Towers took place in Saudi Arabia in 1996. They should ask their that why U.S. embassies in Africa were bombed in 1998. They should ask their leadership that why US Cole in Yemen was rocked in Yemen last year.
In fact it nearly happened a few years ago, when Islamic radicals tried to blow up the World Trade Center. But of course they made a botch of it and got caught.
This time, though, someone pulled off what must have been an extremely cunning conspiracy, a criminal feat for the ages. They managed to execute a secret plan calling for four simultaneous hijackings of airplanes. Those who committed these coordinated deeds — in spite of all security measures — also had the determination to die in hitting their targets.
This wasn’t “terrorism.” This was war. It wasn’t a random attempt to scare people with an arbitrary atrocity, like the bombing of a pizza joint; it was a serious attempt to kill as many people and do as much material damage as possible at two strategic targets, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
But, as I write, hours after the attacks, we don’t know who is at war with us. We may never know. Who has reason to hate this country? Only a few hundred million people — Arabs, Muslims, Serbs, and numerous others whose countries have been hit by U.S. bombers.
Imagine hating a country so much that you were willing to cross an ocean and carry out an elaborate revenge against its people, killing yourself in the process. This is something far more than the sort of ideological anti-Americanism that leads student mobs to throw stones at U.S. embassies abroad; that’s kid stuff. This is an obsessive, fanatical, soul-consuming hatred.
Foreigners aren’t quite real to Americans, and most Americans are unaware of how profoundly their government antagonizes much of the human race. We are easy-going people who generally have no idea how bullying we seem to foreigners. Until now, we have had no experience of what the U.S. Government has so often inflicted on others. Now, at least, we have an inkling of what it feels like.
Government spokesmen have responded with their usual cant of “cowardly attacks” by “terrorists” who “hate democracy and freedom.” Rubbish. A fanatic who is ready to die is the opposite of a coward, and nobody can “hate” such abstractions as “democracy and freedom” with that kind of intensity.
It’s dangerous to belittle your enemy, especially when his courage and cunning have already proved as formidable as his hatred and cruelty. The first question you should ask about your enemy is why he is your enemy in the first place.
You may be deluding and flattering yourself if you assume he hates you for your virtues. But our “leaders” assure us that our enemies are unnaturally evil people who hate us only because we are so wonderful. And they manage to utter this nonsense with an air of tough-minded realism.
True realism, on the other hand, doesn’t mean blaming Americans for bringing these horrifying and truly evil acts on themselves. It does mean trying to imagine alien perspectives from which our government’s conduct might appear so intolerable that some people might be driven to take atrocious revenge.
“To understand all is to forgive all,” says the French aphorism. Not true. But understanding all can at least teach you how to avoid making enemies, and avoiding making enemies is the best defense — better than a $300 billion “defense” budget that didn’t defend the World Trade Center.
The great director Jean Renoir was once asked why there were no villains in his films. He answered simply: “Everyone has his reasons.” Your bitterest enemy may have his reasons for hating your guts. You may not think they are good or sufficient reasons, but you’d better take them into account. If he has any brains, he may find a way to hurt you.
The United States is now a global empire that wants to think of itself as a universal benefactor, and is nonplussed when foreigners don’t see it that way. None of the earlier empires of this world, as far as I know, shared this delusion; the Romans, the Mongols, the British, the Russians and Soviets didn’t expect to rule and to be loved at the same time. Why do we
This is the least you can give to your mortar brothers. Do not label them as terrorists. Every freedom fighter is labeled as a terrorist by an occupier but not by his own brother.