Burch: The roots of terrorism

Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

The front page of Tuesday’s The Tennessean hailed the death of Osama bin Laden as a “Victory For Freedom” while calling him “the very face and embodiment of evil” and a man whose “actions, words and beliefs were about destroying our way of life.”

According to The Tennessean, and many other American newspapers, it sounds as if bin Laden had nothing else on his mind but making Americans miserable for unfathomable reasons.

But does this image of bin Laden jibe with reality? Now that he’s gone, will Americans be safe from terrorism, since he was clearly irrational to attack us for no reason? Is the madness finally over with the death of the madman?

All around Nashville there is a jumble of emotions: celebration bordering on jingoism, more reserved feelings of hope and relief, and of course more than a few doubts.

The media image of bin Laden is not entirely accurate, and we’re probably no safer with him dead than when he was alive. Unfortunately, we will continue to live in jeopardy of events like 9-11 until we finally face the hard facts and understand why 9-11 happened. (Please understand that I am in no way excusing bin Laden’s masterminding the murders of so many innocent American civilians. I simply believe that if we want peace, it does no good to demonize him while ignoring the cataclysmic mistakes our government made in the Middle East, as those errors helped lead to 9-11 and the subsequent wars.)

The key to understanding Muslim terrorism against the U.S. lies in the Nakba (“Catastrophe”) of the Palestinian people. Here’s what bin Laden said about 9-11, as reported widely by various sources:

"Allah knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were those of 1982 and the events that followed when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust the same way [and] to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women."

In a diary entry eerily dated 9-11 (1983), Ronald Reagan wrote prophetically that the U.S. Sixth Fleet shelling Lebanon “could be seen as putting us in the war.”

According to many Muslims — including the vast majority who do not approve of bin Laden’s methods — Americans are hypocrites because our government has caused untold suffering to millions of completely innocent Palestinian women and children over the last 60 years. From bin Laden’s point of view, he chose to fight fire with fire, killing Americans because Americans caused so much suffering and death among innocent Muslim women and children.

Today millions of Palestinian women and children continue to suffer, and many die prematurely, due to the injustices of Israel’s government. Our government continues to hypocritically preach sermons about “equal rights” and “democracy” to the rest of the world, while vetoing one U.N. resolution after another that could have required Israel to treat Palestinians like human beings, rather than herding them into giant corrals while their ever-dwindling land is stolen by Israeli “settlers.” If we want a real, just, lasting peace, killing extremists accomplishes little or nothing because such terrible injustices only produce a never-ending supply. The path to peace can only materialize if Israel and the U.S. recognize the human rights of Palestinians before World War III erupts.

Yes, bin Laden was a mass murderer. But because causing innocent women and children to suffer and die is a terrible crime, we need our government to look in the mirror.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

 
Filed under: City Voices

130 Comments on this post:

By: gdiafante on 5/6/11 at 9:08

Loner, you really are defensive. Someone piss on your weed?

From the Library of Congress (just a tad more reliable than Wiki...lol)

Although the ideas expressed were Washington's, Alexander Hamilton wrote a large part of the address. James Madison drafted an earlier version of the address in 1792.

http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/farewell.html

Also, read Ron Chernow's excellent biography of Hamilton for more information. I think that there's a good deal about it also in Joseph Ellis' Founding Brothers.

By: brrrrk on 5/6/11 at 9:11

dargent7 said

"These Islamic terrorists HATE anything with America's fingerprints."

And don't you ever wonder why? Look, I'm not saying that what happened on 9-11 was in any way justified, but if we don't take the time to look beyond the "terrorists HATE anything with America's fingerprints" answer to a more complicated issue then nothing will ever get resolved.

By: Loner on 5/6/11 at 9:12

I'm taking off for the Finger Lakes wine country this afternoon...taking my favorite mother on a week-end get away...don't forget the moms in your lives too.

Gotta pack, put the bike in the barn, hydrate myself and perform the necessary ablutions and wardrobe change...I'm in my bathrobe right now...I hope that fact is both stimulating and revealing.

Happy Mothers Day weekend!

Later.

By: gdiafante on 5/6/11 at 9:13

TMI loner...have a good weekend.

By: revo-lou on 5/6/11 at 9:15

Sorry brrrrk, dosen't wash, given all the AMERICAN products found at the Obama compound.

By: revo-lou on 5/6/11 at 9:16

{I'm in my bathrobe right now...I hope that fact is both stimulating and revealing.}

Distrubing, as in very.

By: Loner on 5/6/11 at 9:17

Postscript: I had nuthin' to do with Three Mile Island...that was a vicious Israeli lie. Now, I'm off to do my duty. See ya!

By: revo-lou on 5/6/11 at 9:21

Oops, meant Osama compound! Damn, that is embarrassing.

By: yogiman on 5/6/11 at 9:22

Just wondering; the question that Washington didn't write his papers. Who is writing Obama's?

It seems to me if he was writing all of his personal papers,surely he wouldn't have to read the teleprompters.

And Loner, you're bringing the racial factor into the picture again makes me wonder: What would be your thoughts if Obama was considered to be the 44th white president in that office? Why is the "1st black" sham being used? Just wondering.

By: gdiafante on 5/6/11 at 9:24

Yogi, every politician reads teleprompters...have for years...where the hell have you been?

Nevermind, forgot about that rock of yours.

By: brrrrk on 5/6/11 at 9:27

Ok, which one of you guys said stupid three times while looking in a mirror?

By: Mike Burch on 5/6/11 at 10:10

Hi everyone,

My article obviously does not justify what Osama bin Laden did when he masterminded the murder of so many innocent American women and children. Obviously, it is always wrong, and an act of terrorism, to kill women and children for political purposes.

But how, then, can it be "right" for Israel and the US to cause far more innocent Muslim women and children to suffer and die for political purposes?

The question is whether Muslims have some rational basis for claiming that the governments of Israel and the US have caused innocent Muslim women and children to suffer and die unjustly. There are more than a billion Muslims who have not attacked the United States who would agree with OBL that the injustices of Israel and the US came first, and affected far more innocent people.

Today with the Arab Spring we have a unique opportunity to reach out to Muslims who want democracy and personal freedom, just as we do. But they also want justice for their women and children. We need to understand that parents will always want justice for their children, just as we do for ours.

If Americans stick their heads in the sand and keep insisting that it is only an act of terrorism when Americans die unjustly, then we will miss the opportunity to work for peace in the Middle East.

I realize that many Americans do not want to admit that our government is capable of terrible mistakes in the Middle East. We all recognize that our government has done all sorts of stupid, evil things everywhere else in the world. Does that make any sense? Of course not.

We need to remove our heads from the stand, stop exposing our asses, and change the way we think and act in the Middle East. If we do, we have a chance for peace with 1.8 billion Muslims. If we don't we will keep rocketing down the road toward World War III like a drunken gang of Hell's Angels.

I am not trying to make anyone feel bad or guilty. Few of us (hopefully) would have made the decision to strip Palestinian women and children of their human rights and herd them into giant corrals like animals. But this is what actually did happen, and continues to happen today. Our government is a huge part of the problem. This terrible injustice lies at the root of 9-11 and the current wars.

If we have empathy: if we can step into the moccasins of Muslim men who see their women and children suffering and dying while the US preaches sermons on "equal rights" and "democracy" to the rest of the world, we can understand their anger, because their anger is understandable.

If we have no empathy, if we insist that the cowboys are good and the Indians are evil, we will probably see massacre after massacre on both sides. It is ironic that Geronimo was the code word for OBL. Men like Geronimo and Sitting Bull felt they had no choice but to go to war with our government because their women and children were suffering and dying. The press of their day made them look like savages and criminals. But Mark Twain pointed out that one of the great lies is the one that white man are less savage than men of other races. We now understand the terrible truth about the Trail of Tears. Our government was in the wrong. Well, in the Middle East our government is in the wrong again. We have the opportunity to change that, but do we have the wisdom?

By: BenDover on 5/6/11 at 10:13

"If you live in a country where you're never required to take responsibility for yourself, where you never even have to ask whether there's something you should be doing to solve your own problems, then people are kept in a kind of a permanent state of collective immaturity and it becomes quite east for them to believe that someone else's success is the cause of their distress."

Interesting that Clinton got it mostly right here and you guys are almost entirely wrong:

http://ecumene.org/clinton.htm

If we ignore the rest of the world they bring the festering, oozing, disease of hate, crime and terrorism to our shores and to our southern border by their leaders simply pointing to our advancement and successes as the reason for their own countries' wide-spread plight, hardship and abject failures as societies. Everyone likes the idea of isolationism; the problem is that it fails in practice.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 10:23

Mike Burch has the right idea about people.

War is a man made product and there are those that say it is a natural order of life. They think that it is God way to keep the population down. If this was true then the would have been a Commandment to make war and not peace.

These people use God to hide their responsibility for there actions and greed. Evil people uses war to get what they want and not to do what they say God wants. It does not matter if it is Osama bin Laden or Dick Chaney

By: dargent7 on 5/6/11 at 10:23

brrrk: Look. The USA was the 1st and only country to use atomic bombs.
Two on Japan.
Now, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Subaru, Mazda are all eating our lunch. All our electronics were "Made in Japan"...Now it's Made in China.
Forget this concept, "Look at the man in the mirror" routine.
9/11 was a jihad, nothing more, by religious zealots who claim allegience to Al'lah, subordinate women, ( bin Laden had 5 wives), and believe when they blow themselves up or incinerate themselves, it's an act of religious expression, dictated by the Qu'uran. Therefore exempt from the "infidels" definition of what constitutes whiolesale murder.
I say, fine. Practice your belief system in your own country. Don't bring that shi**t here.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 10:24

As usual our retired historian has got it wrong. The Earth was created and not founded. Created=God Founded=man

By: Mike Burch on 5/6/11 at 10:26

Brrrrk,

You quoted "You can't kick a horse and expect it not to kick back."

I agree. We also need to understand that when we back a tiger into a corner, if the tiger is defending its cubs, we are in for a world of hurt.

I think many Americans suffer from what I call “Bubba’s Dilemma” . . .

Bubba’s Dilemma

Perhaps Americans might understand Muslim anger if we rephrased things like this: “Bubba, think of the biggest, baddest man you know — the one you’d never want to tangle with in a million years. Now, what would happen if you beat and humiliated his mother, wife, sisters and children on a daily basis?”

“Duh, he’d kick my stupid butt!”

Exactly, Bubba. Now you get the picture.

Men like Osama bin Laden will never accept the bizarre idea that Jews and Americans should be allowed to abuse and dominate Palestinians because God “loves” Jews and Christians and it is their “Manifest Destiny” to tell other people where and how to live (and die). Muslims know full well what “Manifest Destiny” did to Native Americans who walked the Trail of Tears, to Australian aborigines, and to black Africans.

If we want peace, we have to stop abusing and killing other men's women and children. That means admitting our government's hubris, hypocrisy and terrible mistakes, and ending the Holocaust of the Palestinians, by requiring Israel to treat Muslims like human beings with equal rights, rather than feudal serfs and animals.

By: brrrrk on 5/6/11 at 10:39

Or in scientific terms,

The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and collinear.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 10:40

It is just not Israel why the terrorist hate the USA. It is not our love of Freedom or Israel, they hate for. They hate us because we interfere in their lives by telling them how to live and behave.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 10:41

The bar on Sunday is ok with me, house.

By: brrrrk on 5/6/11 at 10:49

Just re-reading Thomas Paines, The Age of Reason and ran across a line that I had forgotten about....

"Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a true system."

By: yogiman on 5/6/11 at 10:49

I agree, Mike.

In the older days, we had State Guards who were called on when the state needed their help. we had a National Guard to be called on when our Nation needed their help. The State Guard units were "eliminated" after George Wallace and we now only have the National Guard. When, and why, was it decided they should go out of our nation into combat? Who is to protect us at home?

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 10:49

house are flak jackets appropriate attire for the new bar? LOL

By: revo-lou on 5/6/11 at 10:52

{If we want peace, we have to stop abusing and killing other men's women and children. That means admitting our government's hubris, hypocrisy and terrible mistakes, and ending the Holocaust of the Palestinians, by requiring Israel to treat Muslims like human beings with equal rights, rather than feudal serfs and animals.}

Glad you don't have a bias or anything. You been reading Loner's crap?

By: yogiman on 5/6/11 at 10:56

Well, have y'all advanced from coffee fanatics to a bunch of beer lovers? Is the truth finally coming out that y'all are a bunch of drunks ( 'scuse me, I meant democratic left wingers)?

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 11:00

Loner’s says the troll has entertainment values.

Careful Loner you could be riding on bike some sunny day and the troll will come up behind you and you want know what happen tell it happen.

By: Loner on 5/6/11 at 11:04

All packed and ready to go...Yogi would designate President Obama as the first mulatto president ? The guy is stuck in white supremacist mode...and he was a prison guard? Was his racism the cause, or the effect of that vocation?

On another note, I finished the lyrics for the proposed tune that I partially trotted out here on May3, 2011.

If I post it here, I figure that will establish intent to formally copyright the lyrics. Would you folks in Music City like to view the finished product?

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 11:07

Bubba’s Dilemma That is a good.

Bubba is simple of mind. Kind of like a Village Idiot maybe a little smarter.

By: gdiafante on 5/6/11 at 11:13

ignore the racist troll

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 11:19

yogi ask, "When, and why, was it decided they should go out of our nation into combat? Who is to protect us at home?"

Did you ask this question when Bush sent the National Guard to Iraq or is it a question you only ask because we have a dark skin President?

By: revo-lou on 5/6/11 at 11:19

{. Would you folks in Music City like to view the finished product?}

Hmm, no.

By: house_of_pain on 5/6/11 at 11:22

Good, Nemo. "Neighbors" it is.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 11:25

( 'scuse me, I meant democratic left wingers)?

yogi, the correct spelling is excuse me not 'scuse me..

By: gdiafante on 5/6/11 at 11:25

I think they started sending the guard troops in the Gulf War. There was a certain hysteria regarding the Republican Guard...at one time I remember hearing some say it was larger than China's military...

It only took 96 hours to debunk that one.

By: house_of_pain on 5/6/11 at 11:29

"y'all", yogi?
Don't include me when you're hurling insults. I didn't spend 2 1/2 years of my life overseas, serving this country, so I could come home and take sh*t from you.
Thanks.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 11:39

Well that be at High Noon, house? LOL

By: gdiafante on 5/6/11 at 11:39

Germany, house? I would have preferred Europe...I got Okinawa and South Korea.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/6/11 at 11:40

s/h/b Will that...

By: house_of_pain on 5/6/11 at 11:48

I'll be there around 11:30, Nemo.

Wiesbaden, GE. Very nice. I was an official schnitzel & beer taster...

By: gdiafante on 5/6/11 at 11:49

My father was in Wiesbaden in the early sixties...Air Force. He loved it too.

By: brrrrk on 5/6/11 at 12:10

Gee, another great Paine line.....

"Since then no part of our earth is left unoccupied, why is it to be supposed that the immensity of space is a naked void, lying in eternal waste?"

By: house_of_pain on 5/6/11 at 12:16

Lindsey Air Station. That base closed around the mid-late '90s, gd. Shame.
That was a killer assignment.

By: BenDover on 5/6/11 at 12:28

The problem with the knee jerk prophets of Critical Theory is that often times common sense and our cultural norms, usually the product of many long forgotten lessons of times past, are right. The USA, for all of it's past failures and transgressions, is objectively a huge force for good in the world. To deny this requires mental myopia and a case of confirmation bias so strong as to overwhelm the basic senses of sight and hearing. Viewing us on some kind of moral equivalence with al Qaeda and others who are bred and taught the hate of the Great Satan from birth and who want to push Israel into the sea and watch every Jew pig either drown or burn… this view is not only deluded... it's just plain stupid.

By: yogiman on 5/6/11 at 12:53

Loner,

Consider the term "racist" all you wish. I'll say; You are right on my disagreement with Barack Obama (or Barry Soetoro: Whichever one is correct). I only interested in a person being in that office legally.

I'm afraid it will take a while before you people understand what my postings have been meant to achieve.

Call it anything you wish. Regrettably, you'll soon find out.

By: brrrrk on 5/6/11 at 12:55

BenDover said

"Viewing us on some kind of moral equivalence with al Qaeda and others who are bred and taught the hate of the Great Satan from birth and who want to push Israel into the sea and watch every Jew pig either drown or burn… this view is not only deluded... it's just plain stupid."

Would you make the same statement in regards to those extremists in this country; in particular, those who would kill or intimidate doctors who perform legal abortions?

By: gdiafante on 5/6/11 at 12:58

ignore the troll

By: yogiman on 5/6/11 at 1:05

Sorry, house_of_pain. I've no desire to insult a fellow vet.

As a veteran, you should know where you stand on an issue. You should also know it is appropriate to let others stand their different way on an issue. You don't have to agree with them, just don't think they should think the same as you.

Two and a half years overseas? Gotcha beat.. I spent five and a half years over yonda.

By: revo-lou on 5/6/11 at 1:14

Not being able to find your way out of the latrine for 5 years doesn’t count.

By: BenDover on 5/6/11 at 1:22

Because something's legal doesn't make it right any more than something being illegal makes it wrong, brrrrk. If someone disagrees with the laws in this country we can still object to them. If it was legal to euthanize retarded kids and someone stepped in to stop a doctor from doing it what would you think?

Anyway your hypothetical doesn't have anything to do with the topic at hand but my position would be if they are killing doctors who are committing legal fetus murder then they should be arrested for the crime of killing the doctor and tried by a jury of their peers... which is exactly what would happen in our society today.

By: BenDover on 5/6/11 at 1:51

On a lighter note the 13 year Cicadas are back!