from ZNet.org, September, 2002
The president is not the first to ask: "Why do they hate us?" In a staff discussion 44 years ago, President Eisenhower described "the campaign of hatred against us [in the Arab world], not by the governments but by the people". His National Security Council outlined the basic reasons:
the US supports corrupt and oppressive governments and is "opposing political or economic progress" because of its interest in controlling the oil resources of the region.
|Post-September 11 surveys in the
Arab world reveal that the same reasons hold today, compounded with resentment
over specific policies. Strikingly, that is even true of privileged, western-oriented
sectors in the region.
To cite just one recent example: in the August 1 issue of Far Eastern Economic Review, the internationally recognised regional specialist Ahmed Rashid writes that in Pakistan "there is growing anger that US support is allowing [Musharraf's] military regime to delay the promise of democracy".
|Today we do ourselves few favours
by choosing to believe that "they hate us" and "hate our
freedoms". On the contrary, these are attitudes of people who like
Americans and admire much about the US, including its freedoms. What they
hate is official policies that deny them the freedoms to which they too
For such reasons, the post-September 11 rantings of Osama bin Laden - for example, about US support for corrupt and brutal regimes, or about the US "invasion" of Saudi Arabia - have a certain resonance, even among those who despise and fear him.
From resentment, anger and frustration, terrorist bands hope to draw support and recruits.