He states that Bush's explanation for terrorism "they hate us for our freedoms" is bunk:
after 9/11 President George W. Bush and his neoconservative supporters reassured Americans: we were attacked because we are beautiful. Evil, nasty, mean foreigners hate Americans because we are free, fabulous, nice, selfless, and all-around good guys, busily spreading freedom, liberty, capitalism, democracy, and the hallowed American way around the world.
Terrorism long has been a common tool used by individuals, groups, and occasionally nations to promote political ends. Why some people hate other people often is complicated. Nevertheless, the historical pattern is clear. Terrorism has been deployed against Russian Tsars, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, British colonial officials, and Algerian governments from French colonial to recent military. Basque and Irish separatists employed assassination and bombing. Until Iraq, the most promiscuous suicide bombers were Tamils in Sri Lanka. Needless to say, in none of these cases did terrorism occur in response to American freedom or other values.How about American foreign policy? Do you think?
More tellingly, it is impossible to deny that U.S. foreign policy has inadvertently created enemies and turned Americans into targets. For instance, nearly three decades ago President Ronald Reagan intervened in a multi-sided civil war in Lebanon, taking the side of the minority Christian government which controlled little more than the capital of Beirut. The American military actively targeted Muslim and Druze factions; the U.S.S. New Jersey bombarded Lebanese villages. It should have surprised no one when the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks were attacked. Had Washington kept its forces at home, Islamic terrorists likely would have stayed home as well. They would have had no cause to pack their bags and head to America to wreak havoc and murder.Bandow cites carnage caused by more recent American foreign policy. Because I have already dealt with that extensively in these pages (and because I don't hate America), I'll skip to Bandow's concluding paragraphs:
There is no reason to expect Afghans, or Muslims elsewhere, to cheerfully wave off such deaths. We Americans may believe that we are beautiful. But others around the world likely are less convinced as the U.S. government is killing people, supporting tyrants, and engaging in other less than beautiful behavior. The fact that we believe, however reasonably, such conduct to be necessary--that "the price is worth it"--does not mean others will agree with us.We, like the Russians, reap what we sow.
Terrorism cannot be justified, whether committed by Russian anarchists, Tamil Tigers, Basque separatists, the Irish Republican Army, Chechen militants, al-Qaeda, Palestinians, or Afghan and Iraqi insurgents. But terrorism can be understood and explained. And we should use that knowledge in making policy. It may be inevitable that the U.S. government will make some enemies. However, Washington should stop carelessly making unnecessary enemies.
America is not invulnerable. Washington cannot expect to act in the world without consequence. Jesus insisted that people "count the cost" before following him (Luke 14:28). Policymakers should do the same before they casually thrust the U.S. into military conflicts, political struggles, and other volatile controversies abroad. It turns out that the cost of global intervention can be high indeed.