Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We're so great at winning hearts and minds

What have we been saying for years? Invading their countries and blowing the shit out of them just makes them hate us:
At a Baghdad jail for prisoners who have attacked U.S. forces, everyone — to a man — says it was the U.S. occupation of Iraq that drove them to violence. And they are not alone. Across the Middle East and South Asia, the same story can be heard in Internet cafes, mosques, safe houses and prisons.

"The U.S. says this war is part of the global war on terrorism," Saedi Farhan, an Iraqi engineer who took part in an attack on U.S. forces, said in a weekend interview with NBC News. "But people here say that the war has increased fanaticism and brought terrorism to Iraq."

Interviews with Farhan and other radicals reveal that many young men were torn when it came time to choose sides. Even though they fight alongside al-Qaida, they insist that — contrary to what U.S. officials say — they do not support al-Qaida. Many, in fact, say they hate al-Qaida.

But they hate the United States more.

"An aggressor occupied my country, destroyed it and made millions [of] refugees. It is an honor to fight this," said Hamid Ali, the owner of a construction company who also admitted attacking U.S. troops.

At a government rehabilitation center in Saudi Arabia, many radicals say they now reject the al-Qaida philosophy. But at the same time, they admit that the U.S. occupation of Iraq drove many of them to join the movement and that it still drives their hatred of America. Some, in fact, were arrested for trafficking in Internet videos about Iraq designed specifically to motivate and recruit for al-Qaida.

Which is simply common sense to anyone who has the ability to realize that not everyone sees Americans as heaven-sent paragons of virtue. In fact, it's pretty much the right-wing whackos of our own country who think that, and they can't fathom that anyone else doesn't. It's truly mind-boggling.

And speaking of mind-boggling, let's check out the administration's response:
President Bush's homeland security adviser, Frances Townsend, remains unconvinced. The picture is a distortion, she suggests, maintaining that the war is simply a convenient rallying cry for jihadists sworn to destroying the West.

If it were not al-Qaida, it would be "something else," Townsend said, citing a steady stream of terrorist attacks against U.S. interests before the invasion of Iraq.

Which, of course, completely sidesteps the established fact that all of the people who have attacked U.S. forces in Iraq by their own admission aren't "jihadists sworn to destroying the West", and attacked our forces because we invaded their country. It is true that there are people out there who even before the Iraq war wanted to hurt us, but does Townsend think that we only started pissing off the rest of the world in March 2003? The Iraq war is only the latest addition to a long list of grievances they have against the United States.

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