Let’s give credit where credit is due. At least U.S. officials are not claiming that the recent killing of two U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was owing to generalized hatred for our “freedom and values,” which was the claim made by U.S. officials after the 9/11 attacks. Perhaps they know that given the U.S. military’s recent burning of multiple copies of the Koran, most Americans just wouldn’t fall for that explanation.
In the past several days, top U.S. officials, including President Obama, have issued public apologies for what the military did. The apologies are an implicit acknowledgement that what the U.S. government does to people overseas is fully capable of inciting anger and rage to such a large extent that people resort to killing Americans in retaliation.
It was no different, of course, when the photographs and videotapes showing torture and abuse of Iraqi citizens at the hands of U.S. forces, both military and CIA, at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Confronted with the irrefutable evidence of what had transpired inside those prison walls, U.S. officials knew that denial was out of the question. Moreover, by that time everyone knew that Iraq didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction and that all the victims at Abu Ghraib were totally innocent of the 9/11 attacks.
Despite the fact that U.S. officials had opened the floodgates for torture and abuse, they deemed it advisable to disassociate themselves with what occurred at Abu Ghraib and to issue public apologies for the misconduct. They also hid away photos and videos that showed much more egregious conduct than what the released photos had shown.
Why did they do that?
They knew that the Iraqi people were horribly angry over what had taken place at Abu Ghraib, and U.S. officials were trying to diffuse the anger to diminish the potential for retaliatory action against U.S. forces in Iraq. Their profuse apologies were, once again, an implicit acknowledgement that people overseas oftentimes get very angry over what the U.S. does to them and end up retaliating against Americans by killing them, even at the cost of losing their own lives.
So, why can’t U.S. officials (and U.S. interventionists) simply admit that that was the motivating factor behind the 9/11 attacks — that is, the horrific things that U.S. officials had done to people in the Middle East prior to 9/11? Why all the ridiculous charade of “Oh, they just hate us for our ‘freedom and values’”?
After all, if Muslims get angry over the burning of the Koran, why wouldn’t they get angry over the stationing of U.S. troops near the holiest lands of the Muslim religion? Why wouldn’t they get angry over U.S. support of Saddam Hussein during his war on Iran during the 1980s, only to turn on him and kill countless Iraqis in the Persian Gulf intervention? Why wouldn’t they get angry over the intentional destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants, with the intent of spreading infectious illnesses among the Iraqi people? Why wouldn’t they get angry over the 11 years of brutal sanctions that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children? Why wouldn’t they get angry over the callous pronouncement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it”? Why wouldn’t they get angry over the illegal no-fly zones over Iraq that killed more Iraqis, including more children? Why wouldn’t they get angry over unconditional foreign aid delivered both to the Israeli regime and to brutal dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, and others?
Enough is enough. The U.S. government has been occupying Afghanistan for more than a decade. During that time, it’s been killing, maiming, detaining without trial, and torturing countless Afghanis. That makes people angry too. And the longer the occupation continues, the deeper the anger becomes. The larger the rage, the greater the possibility that more Americans are going to be killed in retaliation.
It’s time to bring the troops home — now, not later. It’s time to restore a normal way of life for America, one that does not have the constant and perpetual sense of crisis, chaos, war, and preparation for war — where Americans are freely living out their lives without fear that someone is going to kill them in retaliation for what the U.S. government has done to foreigners, their families, their friends, or their countrymen.
It’s time to let the U.S. government’s crooked, corrupt, puppet dictatorship in Afghanistan fly on its own. Pull them out now, Mr. President. At least then the U.S. government will no longer be making the matter worse, both for the people of Afghanistan and the people of America.