The Roots of Terrorism and US Foreign Policy

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In seeing various related topics in PF regarding the reasons for terrorism, solutions for terrorism, the effects of the Bush administration on our country and the world, and more recently nuclear proliferation via the Bush Doctrine, I thought I’d start this new thread, which also may provide more thoughts about our invasion of Iraq and future foreign policy.
Nine Eleven & terr'r [<- Bush speak]
Of the many Bush regime delusions, those which are most persistently foisted upon the American, and international, public, have been the characterizations attached to the events of September 11, 2001, by which Bush defines himself as the sole protector and ruler of the free world, and also of the rest of the world:

...that there are other people who are "evil-doers" and "enemies of freedom", who are responsible for starting a "war on freedom" to which he must respond with force and agression, at his sole and unquestionable, unfailing, determination. --Fear the terr'r---
The Bush Administration Explanations of Terrorism

President George W. Bush - White House News Release, September 20, 2001:
Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other. [ :uhh: ]

They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8.html [Broken]

At an October 11, 2001, press conference, President Bush was so intent on addressing the issue of why there is so much hate for America that he posed the question aloud himself: "How do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is vitriolic hatred for America?" [He used the word vitriolic? Maybe he was just repeating back a question.]

He then answered, "I'll tell you how I respond: I'm amazed. I'm amazed that there's such misunderstanding of what our country is about that people would hate us. I am -- like most Americans, I just can't believe it because I know how good we are."
Guardian/UK, September 12, 2001
"Nearly two days after the horrific suicide attacks on civilian workers in New York and Washington, it has become painfully clear that most Americans simply don't get it. From the president to passersby on the streets, the message seems to be the same: this is an inexplicable assault on freedom and democracy, which must be answered with overwhelming force - just as soon as someone can construct a credible account of who was actually responsible. ... any glimmer of recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely absent."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/september11/story/0,11209,600944,00.html

From Bill Maher -
"They hate us because we don't know why they hate us."

The Real Reasons for Terrorism

Report by the Christian Science Monitor - September 27, 2001:
· Most Arabs and Muslims knew the answer, even before they considered who was responsible.
· And voices across the Muslim world are warning that if America doesn't wage its war on terrorism in a way that the Muslim world considers just, America risks creating even greater animosity.
· Arabs do not share Mr. Bush's view that the perpetrators did what they did because "they hate our freedoms." Rather, they say, a mood of resentment toward America and its behavior around the world has become so commonplace in their countries that it was bound to breed hostility, and even hatred. And the buttons that Mr. bin Laden pushes in his statements and interviews win a good deal of popular sympathy. :
o the injustice done to the Palestinians,
o the cruelty of continued sanctions against Iraq,
o the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia,
o the repressive and corrupt nature of US-backed Gulf governments.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/0927/p1s1-wogi.html

80 Reasons, and More - Adam Young
· The U.S. sends billions in financial and military aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan each year to prop up these regimes against "fundamentalist" popular Islamic movements (which are the only way dissent can be expressed in these regimes, since Islam is the only thing these rulers can't outlaw). The U.S. also gives political support to corrupt and oppressive dictatorships, such as exist in Algeria and Tunisia. Everywhere, the U.S. favors and aids the status quo of political repression and dictatorship. This hypocrisy is what fuels Arab and Muslim anger. (http://www.mises.org/fullarticle.asp?control=818 [Broken])
· "Before we celebrate the bombings of Afghanistan with hope of their expansion to other countries, let's pause and take a look back on the past fifty years of U.S. folly in the Middle East." November 9, 2001 (http://www.mises.org/fullarticle.asp?control=818 [Broken]).

The article on "Why do they hate us?" provides a catalog of answers to that question, and links to articles of analysis.
The Bush delusion is that Islamic terrorism in general, or in particular on 9/11, has nothing to do with U.S. foreign policy, historic or current, in general or in particular. Unfortunately, it is upon this delusion, or pretense thereof, that U.S. foreign policy is carried out; and counter-productively so, due to it's false basis.

It is a further delusion that Islamic terrorism differs significantly from western or Christian, or Zionist, or corporate terrorism inflicted upon the world with U.S. complicity. The "cowards" deliver their bombs in person, for a cause to which they are willing to sacrifice their own lives; rather than drop cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions from high altitude oil-guzzling warplanes. Both actions kill thousands of innocent civilians, unnecessarily, and provoke unfortunate reactionary responses, unnecessarily.

The similarities of Islamic and western terrorism can also be witnessed in the public rhetoric of their chief proponents. Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush both assert, in very much the same style, that they are fighting against THE (as if there was only one) evil in the world.
http://www.isometry.com/usahate.html [Broken]

Harry Browne states the issue most succinctly:
But how could any intelligent person believe that there are hundreds -- more likely, thousands -- of people around the world who would knowingly sacrifice their lives just to protest American freedom, democracy, or prosperity?
http://www.harrybrowne.org/articles/TerrorismReason.htm

As Charley Reese has put it:
It is absurd to suppose that a human being sitting around suddenly stands up and says: "You know, I hate freedom. I think I'll go blow myself up."
[URL]http://reese.king-online.com/Reese_20031107/index.php[url]

There was only one possible motive for the 9-11 attackers: they were protesting the way the American government has been using force for half a century to overrule the wishes of people in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Gwynne Dwyer states the case that "the 9/11 attacks were not aimed at American values, which are of no interest to the Islamists one way or another. They were an operation that was broadly intended to raise the profile of the Islamists in the Muslim world, but they had the further quite specific goal of luring the United States into invading Muslim countries." --Toronto Star, July 6, 2004 http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_PrintFriendly&c=Article&cid=1089024920296&call_pageid=968256290204

Inescapable Perpetual Global War -
George Bush, believes, and would have you believe, that there is absolutely no option to endless infinite warfare. On March 19, 2004, he proclaimed and declared that "The war on terror is not a figure of speech. It is an inescapable calling of our generation." http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040319-3.html [Broken] This is only a fact if you/we make it into a fact, which he insists upon doing through provocation. http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0406-14.htm [Broken]

casus belli

Most devastating to foreign affairs was, and perhaps continues to be, the delusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat to U.S. national security which required a pre-emptive invasion.

Wolfowitz Doctrine -
More accurately attributed as the "Wolfowitz doctrine", and detailed in the National Security Strategy Document (National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction) promulgated by the junior Bush's administration, it promotes use of unilateral preemptive force and persuasion rather than honest multi-lateral cooperation.

Preemption as Provocation -
Preemption provides an avenue to achieve U.S. objectives by taking actions without reasonable cause. The first public global exercise of this doctrine was presented in the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, for which a number of justifications were presented to the Congress, the United Nations, and the people of the world; and none of those justifications were based in fact, a fact itself which has been subsequently well documented, as ...
· http://www.alternet.org/print.html?StoryID=16274 [Broken]
· http://www.citypages.com/databank/24/1182/article11417.asp [Broken]
· http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/000563.html [Broken]
· http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4752.htm

Preemption is 'provocation'; it is not 'prevention'. The Iraq invasion of 2003 intended to prevent, but actually provoked and promoted, international terrorism and weapons proliferation, and a general disgust and distrust of the U.S. Those things actually prevented by the Iraqi invasion can be listed as peace, cooperation, trust, honor, and the like.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Why_do_they_hate_us?
 
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  • #2
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"The greatest rule of safety is justice, and stopping injustice and aggression. ... What happened on 11 September and 11 March [the Madrid train bombings] is your commodity that was returned to you. ... we would like to inform you that labelling us and our acts as terrorism is also a description of you and of your acts. ... Our acts are reaction to your own acts, which are represented by the destruction and killing of our kinfolk in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. ... Which religion considers your killed ones innocent and our killed ones worthless? And which principle considers your blood real blood and our blood water? Reciprocal treatment is fair and the one who starts injustice bears greater blame. ... The killing of the Russians was after their invasion of Afghanistan and Chechnya; the killing of Europeans was after their invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan; and the killing of Americans on the day of New York was after their support of the Jews in Palestine and their invasion of the Arabian Peninsula." -- OBL, BBC 2004
 
  • #3
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"We sent Marines into Lebanon and you only have to go to Lebanon, to Syria or to Jordan to witness first-hand the intense hatred among many people for the United States because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers -- women and children and farmers and housewives -- in those villages around Beirut. ... As a result of that ... we became kind of a Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful. That is what precipitated the taking of our hostages and that is what has precipitated some of the terrorist attacks." -- Jimmy Carter, NYT 1989
 
  • #4
SOS2008
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fourier jr said:
"We sent Marines into Lebanon and you only have to go to Lebanon, to Syria or to Jordan to witness first-hand the intense hatred among many people for the United States because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers -- women and children and farmers and housewives -- in those villages around Beirut. ... As a result of that ... we became kind of a Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful. That is what precipitated the taking of our hostages and that is what has precipitated some of the terrorist attacks." -- Jimmy Carter, NYT 1989
A good reminder that it began with the hostage crisis. The fourth reason for terrorism as stated by bin Laden is the repressive and corrupt nature of US-backed Gulf governments -- reiterated by Adam Young that "the U.S. favors and aids the status quo of political repression and dictatorship." Such was the case with the Shah of Iran.
 
  • #5
Astronuc
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Saudi Women Have Message for U.S. Envoy
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN, NY Times

JIDDA, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 27 - The audience - 500 women covered in black at a Saudi university - seemed an ideal place for Karen P. Hughes, a senior Bush administration official charged with spreading the American message in the Muslim world, to make her pitch.

But the response on Tuesday was not what she and her aides expected. When Ms. Hughes expressed the hope here that Saudi women would be able to drive and "fully participate in society" much as they do in her country, many challenged her.

"The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn't happy," one audience member said. "Well, we're all pretty happy." The room, full of students, faculty members and some professionals, resounded with applause.

The administration's efforts to publicize American ideals in the Muslim world have often run into such resistance. For that reason, Ms. Hughes, who is considered one of the administration's most scripted and careful members, was hired specifically for the task.

Many in this region say they resent the American assumption that, given the chance, everyone would live like Americans.

The group of women, picked by the university, represented the privileged elite of this Red Sea coastal city, known as one of the more liberal areas in the country. And while they were certainly friendly toward Ms. Hughes, half a dozen who spoke up took issue with what she said.

Ms. Hughes, the under secretary of state for public diplomacy, is on her first trip to the Middle East. She seemed clearly taken aback as the women told her that just because they were not allowed to vote or drive that did not mean they were treated unfairly or imprisoned in their own homes.
I heard the other day that Mr. Bush has two problems - perception and reality. :rolleyes: :biggrin:
 
  • #6
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http://www.terrorismanswers.com/images/photos/foreignaid_pic2.jpg [Broken]

The man shaking hands with bush is President Karimov of Uzbekistan

President Karimov government was awarded $500m in aid from the Bush administration in 2002. The SNB (Uzbekistan's security service) received $79m of this sum.

The U.S. State Department web site states "Uzbekistan is not a democracy and does not have a free press. Many opponents of the government have fled, and others have been arrested." and "The police force and the intelligence service use torture as a routine investigation technique."

Now I would like to introduce you to Muzafar Avazov, a 35-year old father of four. Mr Avazov had a visit from our presidents friends security force (SNB), the photographs below detail the brutality and inhuman treatment our tax dollars subsidize, with the full knowledge of our president and his administration

Muzafar Avazov, body showed signs of burns on the legs, buttocks, lower back and arms. Sixty to seventy percent of the body was burnt, according to official sources. Doctors who saw the body reported that such burns could only have been caused by immersing Avazov in boiling water. Those who saw the body also reported that there was a large, bloody wound on the back of the head, heavy bruising on the forehead and side of the neck, and that his hands had no fingernails.
What do you think will do the 4 sons of Muzafar Avazov? would they hate american freedom? would they hate america way of life??

War on terrorism is the terrorism
 
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  • #7
SOS2008
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Astronuc said:
Saudi Women Have Message for U.S. Envoy
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN, NY Times

I heard the other day that Mr. Bush has two problems - perception and reality. :rolleyes: :biggrin:
Any person who pursues a political career at the national level should have a good knowledge of the world. I'm sure many senators who do have these qualifications were skeptical about a relationship between Saddam and bin Laden, and though not completely sure about WMD, still questioned it in their minds. (BTW, communications I had on these topics with McCain as my senator were VERY disappointing, especially for someone who is a veteran.)

That Bush does not like to read, and then makes remarks like "I'm amazed. I'm amazed that there's such misunderstanding of what our country is about that people would hate us" is inexcusable for a president. Also many of the things he condemns others for, such as rule of law, or freedom to disagree with each other, are the very things he has undermined in our own country.
 
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  • #8
russ_watters
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With all that we did to undermine the Soviet Union, I'm wondering why the Russians never resorted to terrorism. Or how about South America: Burnsys loves to talk about all the wrongs we comitted against South American countries - why hasn't Argentina resorted to terrorism? Your link to that Harry Brown article, SOS, lists a number of them. Why do some resort to terrorism and some not? What is different about countries who do support terrorism from countries who don't?

American foreign policy can explain why people hate us, but it cannot explain the response. It cannot explain why some people respond with terrorism and others do not.
 
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  • #9
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russ_watters said:
With all that we did to undermine the Soviet Union, I'm wondering why the Russians never resorted to terrorism. Or how about South America: Burnsys loves to talk about all the wrongs we comitted against South American countries - why hasn't Argentina resorted to terrorism? Your link to that Harry Brown article, SOS, lists a number of them. Why do some resort to terrorism and some not? What is different about countries who do support terrorism from countries who don't?

American foreign policy can explain why people hate us, but it cannot explain the response. It cannot explain why some people respond with terrorism and others do not.
You're right, the response must be explained by cultural differences. It does not mean, however, that the terrorists "hate freedom."
 
  • #10
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"countries" dont resort to terrorism, unless you classify fighting for your soverty against an occupying force as Terrorism. Thats why countries like USSR didnt resort to "terrorism" anyway why would they need to? They could have nucked every major city, and killed most of your population, just as you could have to them... Its like comparing apple and pears isnt it?
 
  • #11
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You're right, the response must be explained by cultural differences.
I aggree in part, however the IRA were from the same cultured background as we are, and it didnt stop them blowing holes in London for umpteen years. I think it comes down to ecconomics and demographics. To terrorise a goverment, country, whatever costs far far less than a fully fledged war. Thus it is in reach ecconimcally by the people who comitte these acts.
Also to terrorise a Large quanity of people only takes a small minority, so again it is more aligned with what these people can arrange.
 
  • #12
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russ_watters said:
With all that we did to undermine the Soviet Union, I'm wondering why the Russians never resorted to terrorism. Or how about South America: Burnsys loves to talk about all the wrongs we comitted against South American countries - why hasn't Argentina resorted to terrorism? Your link to that Harry Brown article, SOS, lists a number of them. Why do some resort to terrorism and some not? What is different about countries who do support terrorism from countries who don't?

American foreign policy can explain why people hate us, but it cannot explain the response. It cannot explain why some people respond with terrorism and others do not.
Actualy those who where against the Us backed military dictatorship of the 70' in my country where called Terrorists.
 
  • #13
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russ_watters said:
American foreign policy can explain why people hate us, but it cannot explain the response. It cannot explain why some people respond with terrorism and others do not.
Why not? It stands to reason that the local reaction fully depends upon the what it's reacting to in the first place. Argentina was never subject to foreign invasion and their government institutions dismantled. Iraq was. The very presence of foreign troops provides a plain target for anyone wishing to strike back. This is clearly the most feasible reason for any difference in tactics. If America had invaded Argentina I would expect an insurgency there as well.
Manchot said:
You're right, the response must be explained by cultural differences.
Utter nonsense. Do not try to shift blame from US actions towards the local culture. I challenge you to defend this statement in any way.
 
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  • #14
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Burnsys said:
Actualy those who where against the Us backed military dictatorship of the 70' in my country where called Terrorists.
Good point Burnsys - It also depends on your definition of terrorism. Government death squads and paramilitary organizations that exist for the purpose of suppressing dissent can also be considered terrorist.

They come from the same "Culture" as anyone else in the country, the reason for resorting to "terrorism" is purely a matter of situation.
 
  • #15
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Smurf said:
Why not? It stands to reason that the local reaction fully depends upon the what it's reacting to in the first place. Argentina was never subject to foreign invasion and their government institutions dismantled. Iraq was. The very presence of foreign troops provides a plain target for anyone wishing to strike back. This is clearly the most feasible reason for any difference in tactics. If America had invaded Argentina I would expect an insurgency there as well.
Utter nonsense. Do not try to shift blame from US actions towards the local culture. I challenge you to defend this statement in any way.
Exaclty, may be diferences are like this:

In argentina The US supported and helped a military dictatorship that killed 30.000, But in irak you suported a dictator (Saddam Housein) that killed like 100.000+ :rolleyes:

Edit: And maybe now US is creating even more terrorist helping usbek president to boil his own people alive.. (Just to name one example)
 
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  • #16
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Utter nonsense. Do not try to shift blame from US actions towards the local culture. I challenge you to defend this statement in any way.
Well Smurf, he has a point... Someones culture could indeed help give them a nudge in the direction towards 'terrorist' acts be it positive terrorism (freedom fighting) or negative terrorism... A culture that praises warriors, and war, such as Sparta in acient Greece, would if occupied by oppressors resort to "terrorism" of the occupiers/surpressors... On the other hand a culture that praised and nurtured deplomacy and peaceful protest would nudge people to find other means to rise against the occupiers/surpressors.

Anyway I understand what you are saying, Russ as per usual has posted a very good question, which seems to be more like a smoking mirror to give his party of choice the moral high ground
 
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  • #17
SOS2008
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I've posted this before:

Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us.

Since 1990, the United States has stationed tens of thousands of ground troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and that is the main mobilization appeal of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. People who make the argument that it is a good thing to have them attacking us over there are missing that suicide terrorism is not a supply-limited phenomenon where there are just a few hundred around the world willing to do it because they are religious fanatics. It is a demand-driven phenomenon. That is, it is driven by the presence of foreign forces on the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. The operation in Iraq has stimulated suicide terrorism and has given suicide terrorism a new lease on life.
http://www.globalpolicy.org/empire/terrorwar/analysis/2005/0718suicide.htm

Granted this research focuses on suicide terrorism, but this is linked to foreign occupation. Foreign occupation is not the only variable, but it is one of the most important. In the meantime, who is to say that the anger in regions such as South America won't evolve into terrorism in the future? The hostage crisis in Iran happened back around 1979, and we don't seem to learn anything from these things.
 
  • #18
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SOS2008 said:
In the meantime, who is to say that the anger in regions such as South America won't evolve into terrorism in the future? The hostage crisis in Iran happened back around 1979, and we don't seem to learn anything from these things.
I doubt it will. South America is finally getting a handle on it's self these days, one would hope that they don't find the need to.
 
  • #19
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SOS2008 said:
I've posted this before:

http://www.globalpolicy.org/empire/terrorwar/analysis/2005/0718suicide.htm

Granted this research focuses on suicide terrorism, but this is linked to foreign occupation. Foreign occupation is not the only variable, but it is one of the most important. In the meantime, who is to say that the anger in regions such as South America won't evolve into terrorism in the future? The hostage crisis in Iran happened back around 1979, and we don't seem to learn anything from these things.
Well. you can bet i will be ready when they came for us....
 
  • #20
Informal Logic
There are different variables for different areas of the world. The limited and highly desirable resource of oil, along with the blatant support of Israel no doubt has resulted in more anger in the Middle East than in other regions. There may well be some cultural and religious variables, but it certainly is not hatred of freedom and democracy. If there is any resentment of prosperity it would be when it is gained at their expense. Only Americans could fall for this simplistic projection of "keeping up with the Jones'" mentality on other cultures. That the Bush regime has fed this BS to the American public is a great disservice to all.
 
  • #21
russ_watters
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Anttech said:
"countries" dont resort to terrorism....
I guess I should have phrased it better (caveat: the PLO). How about this:

The USSR raped and pillaged the countries of Eastern Europe for nearly 40 years: why didn't the people of Eastern Europe resort to terrorism against the USSR?

The title of this thread is "The Roots of Terrorism", not 'The Roots of Hatred". A lot of groups people hate a lot of other groups people for a lot of different reasons. Terrorism, however, is not a manifestation of hatred common among many of these groups - it is a relatively unique reaction.

The cause of the hatred may well be external. The cause of the terrorism can only be internal. The cause of the terrorism against the US is a culture based on violence and lack of respect for human life.
 
  • #22
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russ_watters said:
The cause of the hatred may well be external. The cause of the terrorism can only be internal. The cause of the terrorism against the US is a culture based on violence and lack of respect for human life.
So... Are you going to make an argument for that or not? I've been waiting for 10 minutes.
 
  • #23
russ_watters
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The part above the conclusion that you quoted is the argument. I'll summarize in bullet points:

Point 1: Terrorism has internal causes not external causes.
Evidence/justification: Even though a lot of groups hate, only a small handful of groups resort to terrorism*.

Point 2: Terrorism's root is a culture of violence.
Evidence/justification: Terrorism is violent.

I think you may have missed that second part and that's what you were looking for the argument for. Put it another way: resorting to terrorism is in and of itself evidence of a violent culture. I think you're looking at this issue backwards.

*Caveat: not all groups in similar situations hate either. So the second argument could apply to the first point as well.
 
  • #24
russ_watters
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This thread, like the dozens of others we've had on the subject, presupposes that terrorism is an acceptable response. That's why you missed my point, Smurf. Quite frankly, its disturbing.
 
  • #25
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russ_watters said:
I guess I should have phrased it better (caveat: the PLO). How about this:

The USSR raped and pillaged the countries of Eastern Europe for nearly 40 years: why didn't the people of Eastern Europe resort to terrorism against the USSR?

QUOTE]

Eastern Europeans did not have to revert to terrorism against Russians. Russians were the true liberators of eastern Europe, and lives of people there did improved a lot. On the other hand American brutal wars against Iraq or Vietnam do breed terrorism- that is normal.
 

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