NY Times: Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq

"WHILE yesterday's explosions on London's subway and bus lines were thankfully far less serious than those of two weeks ago, they will lead many to raise a troubling question: has Britain (and Spain as well) been "punished" by Al Qaeda for participating in the American-led military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan? While this is a reasonable line of thinking, it presupposes the answer to a broader and more pertinent question: Are the roots of Islamic terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts?

If the answer is yes, the solution is simple to formulate, although not to achieve: leave Afghanistan and Iraq, solve the Israel-Palestine conflict. But if the answer is no, as I suspect it is, we should look deeper into the radicalization of young, Westernized Muslims."

Yesterday the accusations again flew from the press and the left (is there any difference), that somehow the attacks in London are coming because we've 'upset' Al Qaeda by being involved in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of course, Australian Prime Minister John Howard put it the same way yesterday when asked that same question by the press.

"Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that?

When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq -- a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations -- when Al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

Now I don't know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I've cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation.

And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder."

The mindset of those who would tell us, "See! You've pissed them off.", is a rather annoying and dangerous mindset. If we would have never gone to Iraq or Afghanistan, Al Qaeda would have come to us - eventually.

This IS about an ideology of hate. Cult figures use hate to fuel their disciples to do their bidding. Using inflamatory language to 'mold' the ill informed, they can get their agenda accomplished by use of controlling the mind and emotions of the ignorant. Where the mind goes, so goes the body.

We see this happening even outside of Al Qaeda, even within our own people. Why do you think that "snake oil" salesman like Michael Moore, George Soros, and others gardener so many followers? Simple: Ignorance. Ignorance is the real enemy today, and we simply cannot afford to be ignorant. The smoldering Towers are a testimony to that.

Iraq and Afghanistan are beginning points, not destinations. Al Qaeda and all it's ever changing variants will only be destroyed when the "head" is distroyed. Yet even then the "root" will still exist in some form.

That's why President Bush and those who truly understand the conflict know that this will be a long and protracted struggle. It's only been three years since we stepped up to the plate and said, "No more!" This conflict isn't about fighting a nation, or even a group of people. It's about ridding the world of an ideology that would seek to destroy all that is good and decent and right.


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