03 September 2010

The terrorist threat - we should not be surprised

When the 9/11 bombers did their dirty work, it was highly politically incorrect to suggest American foreign policy had contributed to the atrocity. Now that the RCMP and CSIS are busily rooting out some home-grown terrorists in our fair land, we may hear similar sentiments about our foreign policy. But let's face it, we are part and parcel of Western behaviour, including that of the American empire, and the West has given the Islamic world much cause for hostility. Some examples:

• We North Americans continue to unilaterally support Israel as it persists in its oppression of the Palestinians and the theft of their land.
• The West generously supports dictators who oppress their Arab populations, notably the Sauds of Arabia and Mubarek of Egypt. Egypt continues to receive more foreign aid from the United States than any other country except Israel and Iraq.
• The Americans and their allies claim to support democracy in the Middle East, yet when it arises they crush it, such as in Iran in the 1950s and in Palestine more recently.
• The West, particularly the U.S., persists in inflicting wars on Islam that kill large numbers of Muslims. At least 100,000 Iraqis have been killed because of the American invasion, and that only counts those killed directly, not for instance the children who have died from malnourishment and lack of medical care.

Any one of these would be cause for profound anger. Add them together and we can only wonder why there isn't a great deal more Islamic terror directed at the West.

But does all this justify killing innocents? I certainly don't think so, but then I'm not much for killing under any circumstances which puts me somewhat at odds with Western foreign policy. When the U.S. was attacked on 9/11, it used that to justify waging war on two countries. Tens of thousands of innocents have died as a result and millions turned into refugees. This makes it hard to demand of Muslims they not retaliate against the offences listed above because innocents may get hurt.

As Haroon Siddiqui wrote in a recent column in the Toronto Star, "The solution [to terrorism] is not to panic or hector the Muslim community to rein in their own - they would if they could - but rather to stop being in denial that there is no connection between the wars we wage and the terrorist mayhem that they trigger, there and here."

1 comment:

  1. You may recall that Jean Chretien was vilified for suggesting the the West nations bear some responsibility in the aftermath of September 11. He was right but vilified nonetheless.