. . . Wednesday December 1, 2004

Why They Hate Us: The Forgotten Question?

Take a look at this excerpt from a recent report served up by the Defense Science Board (a Pentagon advisory group):

Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.

Let’s take the politics out of this. What I want to focus on is the question. One part of that question is why they hate us. But there is a broader question as well. After all, no one is suggesting that we give terrorists any relief based on their feelings about us. The sensitivity so often ridiculed by the Veep has nothing to do with those who have already taken up arms and everything to do with those who have not (yet). We all surely agree that, when it comes to this latter group, we want to take the steps necessary to reduce (not increase) the threat of terror.

So the broader question really is: How are we doing? Are we fighting this other battle effectively or are we playing right into the hands of those who seek to set up permanent residence in our communal consciousness? And if we’re on the wrong track, how do we get it right?

Those seem to me to be the most important questions of the day and yet we hear very little public discourse on any of them.

Imagine for second that the above referenced report was released during the last few weeks of the election. It would’ve been a massive story. Now, a weeks after the election, it barely made a blip.

This really brings up a question about us, not them.

Concentration is important!