Thursday, December 12, 2013

Is it any wonder they hate us?

Last year I wrote a series of articles on 'Discrimination, distrust and xenophobia' (listed in the sidebar).  I tried to address the non-stop condemnation of all Muslims and the whole of Islam by those who hold the adherents of that religion responsible for everything from terrorism to ingrown toenails.  Amongst many other points, in the fourth article in the series, I said this:

Islamic terrorists murdered over 2,900 non-combatant civilian victims on September 11th, 2001. However, since that date, our armed forces have killed vastly more non-combatant Muslim civilians (men, women and children) as part of our military response to 9/11. Estimates vary widely, but the lowest figures I've seen are over 14,000 civilian deaths in Iraq, and over 6,000 in Afghanistan, all directly killed by US forces and their allies. The true totals may be two to three times higher. Those casualties were not, repeat, NOT combatants. Some talk flippantly about 'collateral damage' . . . but that's obscene. Those were living, breathing human beings, just like the victims of 9/11. If the deaths of the latter were an atrocity, why not the deaths of the former as well? Put yourself in the shoes of an average citizen of Iraq or Afghanistan today - particularly one whose relatives and/or friends were among the non-combatant casualties inflicted by our forces. If you were Muslim, how would those numbers make you feel towards the USA? (Yes, I'm well aware that tens of thousands of non-combatant casualties have been inflicted by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and by terrorists in Iraq. Nevertheless, we're supposed to be better than terrorists. 'Collateral damage' makes a mockery of that.)

. . .

Please note that I'm not an apologist for fundamentalist Islamic paranoia. It's misguided, ill-informed and unrealistic. Nevertheless, I try very hard to face the facts. It's no good living in cloud cuckoo land and imagining the world as I want it to be. It is what it is. Reality and the facts of history demonstrate that Muslims do have good reasons to be suspicious of the West. They do have cause to remember how they've been used, then abandoned, by outside powers during wider conflicts such as the Cold War (see Part 2 of this series).

There's more at the link.

Keep that in mind as you read this news report, published today.

Fifteen people on their way to a wedding in Yemen were killed in an air strike after their party was mistaken for an al Qaeda convoy, local security officials said on Thursday.

The officials did not identify the plane in the strike in central al-Bayda province, but tribal and local media sources said that it was a drone.

. . .

The United States has stepped up drone strikes as part of a campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), regarded by Washington as the most active wing of the militant network.

Yemen, AQAP's main stronghold, is among a handful of countries where the United States acknowledges using drones, although it does not comment on the practice.

Human Rights Watch said in a detailed report in August that U.S. missile strikes, including armed drone attacks, have killed dozens of civilians in Yemen.

Again, more at the link.

The drone was probably operated by the CIA, or by the US Air Force on behalf of the CIA.  We'll almost certainly never find out for sure.  However, a few things can be predicted with confidence.

  • That couple (if both survived the attack) will never forget their wedding.
  • They'll bring up their children (if any) to remember how the USA tried to kill their parents before the wedding, and succeeded in killing their relatives and friends.
  • The survivors of the attack, and the rest of the guests at the wedding, will go home to tell their loved ones and children about the attack - and they won't do so dispassionately and objectively.
  • Right now all those who survived are filled with anger and bitter hatred.  After all, those who died were innocent civilians.  There was no reason whatsoever to kill them.
  • If, in future years, some of the survivors - or the victims' children - turn up as extremist terrorists in Al Qaeda or similar groups . . . guess what will have motivated them to be there?

This sort of attack is simply inexcusable.  We, the people of the USA, have innocent blood on our hands this day because we refuse to rein in an Administration that seems blindly convinced it can kill anyone it pleases in Yemen, even when it has not been (and cannot possibly have been) proved that they pose a threat to us.

This wasn't 'collateral damage'.

This wasn't 'a mistake'.

This was murder.

There's no other word for it.

What's more, the survivors of that attack, and the people of Yemen, know that the murderers will never be brought to justice.

Let's leave their (and our) religion out of the equation altogether.  Let's consider simple human nature.  If you were in their shoes, right now . . . how would you feel about the USA?



Anonymous said...

Yes we are just as bad as they are. With us cutting of they heads and our religion requiring us to enslave nonbelievers or kill us all.

just sayin x

Anonymous said...

Sorry Peter, love your blog but you will have to stow your sympathies elsewhere. Muslims all Muslims are the most dangerous people on the planet. They go or we go pure and simple. We should bomb them out of existence. There are no civilians only 'not recruited yet' terrorist.

And p.s. who gives a shit what they think.

Peter said...

I'm going to leave the preceding comments up, as evidence of the scale of the problem we face.

I'd simply remind both commenters of the Golden Rule, proclaimed not only by Christ but by every major religion in the world:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

What have we just 'done unto others' that they might now 'do unto us'?

Oh, yes. The Golden Rule works for good . . . or for evil.

Anonymous said...

When you use schools for firing positions and churches as weapons depots innocents die. Because they know that the western cultures are hesitant to harm "civilians".

Terrorists/Insurgents in that culture frequently use civilians as nothing more than convenient meat shields. For the most part it is their disrespect for human life not ours that is causing noncombatant casualties.

However this does not excuse the drone strike hitting the wedding party. Or any other incidents like this.


Anonymous said...

We who believe in freedom had best start considering how we'd feel if there were soldiers from a foreign country in OUR streets... knocking down OUR doors at 2am, ransacking OUR houses and carrying away OUR relatives, possibly never to return, with no explanation. Think about that.

The Armed Christian said...

I can actually agree (to an extent) with both the first two comments and your article as well.

While we, as a nation, are wrong in many of our activities in the Islamic world and drone strikes are a perfect example of this. The reality of the matter is that Islamic terrorists don't require any such justification for their actions. These attacks are not just against the US or the West. Look at the attacks against Christians in Egypt and Syria or against Jews around the world (whether Israeli or not).

A coworker from Eritrea used to brag, after his country regained independence from Ethiopia, how well Christians, Muslims and pagans got along in his country. Only recently I found out that his family had to flee their country (again) due to violence and oppression against non-Muslims.

Look at the violence in the UK against non-Muslims who violate Sharia law. Having a beer in public resulted in an American Exchange student being hospitalized after a Sharia enforcement gang caught up with him. Women in some parts of the UK have been attacked and raped for wearing western attire in neighborhoods with large Muslim populations.

Western writers or artists who question or criticize Islam do so at the risk of their own safety and even moderate Muslims who question terrorism, abuse of women, or other aspects of Islamic culture speak out at the risk of their safety and the safety of their families.

We need to find a way to extricate ourselves from the morass of the Islamic world and leave them the hell alone. We don't need to be involved in drone strikes in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and other countries. We don't need to be involved in internal struggles in Syria, Libya, Tunisia, or anywhere else. Let's invest the money from these military operations and the aid we provide into achieving energy independence and get the hell out of there. If our allies need the oil, fine, let them send man and materiel. Let them spend their dollars and their soldiers' lives. We have our own troubles right here at home and need to focus on those.

Sorry for the rant...

Anonymous said...

It is naive beyond comprehension to think that the golden rule would help solve or otherwise diminish the danger of Islam/Muslims (which for all intents and purposes are interchangeable).
There is evil in the world. No matter how nicely you treat it or how much money you throw at it, it remains evil and extinguishing it is the only option. If you don't extinguish it, it extinguishes you. Ask the Jews who survived WWII.
Let me channel Ann Coulter, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and covert them to Christianity" .

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Fog of war? Disinformation by interested parties? Who's facts?

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the US, within the last few days, altered it's rules of engagement for drone attacks from
"trying to avoid civilian casualties"
to "not deliberately targeting civilians".

The phrasing may be off, but that is the gist. I wonder if this attack reflects that change in ROE?

Jerry from central TX said...

Hi Peter,

Once again I will add my comments to your blog comments section.

While it is true that many more of their non-combatants have died since 9/11. I will add that they have kill their own many times and not once will they consider that their actions caused that slaughter.

While I try my best not to hate a muslim I can't bring myself to trust them. Fact is, I don't think an 80 year old grand parent is as much of a danger as a 29 year old person of middle eastern appearance.

Amen to what Shannon Baker said as well.

Peter said...

I fear many commenters are missing the point. I understand many don't trust Muslims - although I think that mistrust verges on paranoia at times - but that's not what's at stake here.

The issue is the killing of fifteen innocent persons by the United States government, without trial, without sufficient evidence that they were a threat, and without any oversight. This Administration has done precisely the same thing many times before, including killing US citizens without trial.

That's the problem, right there - not whether or not one can trust Muslims. We've just given one group of Muslims all the reasons in the world to distrust us. I have little doubt that'll reap a harvest of further death and destruction at some point in the future.

Comrade Misfit said...

Bravo, Peter.

The Armed Christian said...

I completely agree with your sentiments on drone strikes. I believe they do more harm in the long run than good. More importantly, they are wrong. Win or lose, if we allow ourselves to become the bad guys it doesn't matter if we win.
Obama has killed more children each year with drone strikes than guns have in this country, yet he is on the cover of time and received a nobel prize.

Anonymous said...

"The issue is the killing of fifteen innocent persons by the United States government, without trial, without sufficient evidence that they were a threat, and without any oversight. This Administration has done precisely the same thing many times before, including killing US citizens without trial." Peter, 8:06 PM

You summed it up rather nicely there.
Just because someone else does something that is a greater sin, does not make one's own sins the less. It may explain Why one sinned, maybe even why your sin Had to occur, but it does Not remove the sin.
And yes, I used the word 'sin' for a reason.

Merlin said...

The issue is the killing of fifteen innocent persons by the United States government, without trial, without sufficient evidence that they were a threat, and without any oversight. This Administration has done precisely the same thing many times before, including killing US citizens without trial.

Agreed, Peter, agreed. There's no excuse for the US government to be so free with the deaths of innocent people, both overseas and here in the US. I just don't see what we can do about it.

Anonymous said...

Reminds of a village that had mammasans of 70 making mines, and kiddies acting as lookouts and guards, to alert the non combatants of the approach of the evil misguided children of uncle sam.

Non-combatants? Yeah every mosque in Iraq was filled with non combatants and their gear.

Speaking of which remember the scum that shot a bbaby in the face. His non combatant relatives lied to protect him. Sort of puts things in perspective doesn't it.

By the by, i know all those folks were innocent...just because.

Anonymous said...

On their way to a wedding? I doubt it. Does anyone remember a number of years ago when some Muslims complained that the US bombed a "wedding party" held in a home? One big problem was that ALL of the attendees of the "party" were men. Now, it seems Muslims are dead set against gay marriage, n'est-pas? In actuality, it was found that it was actually a gathering of terrorists.

A lot of folks also get/got duped by Islamist propaganda photos. There was a series of photos that reputedly showed the aftermath of a US bombing strike. Prominently featured in a number of pictures was a child's doll. Except the doll was quite obviously posed in different locations in different pictures. What a fraud.

And then there were the infamous "baby milk factory" pictures from the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Yeah, what are the chances that some location in Iraq would have actually had a sign printed in English that said "baby milk factory"!? None.

I have ZERO sympathies for Muslims. They started it, we'll finish it. Just ask Japan how bombing Pearl Harbor worked out for them?


Leatherneck said...

I admire your certitude that this strike was deliberately perpetrated against peace-loving wedding participants. I'm not so sure myself.

As misguided as I think our widespread use of drone strikes is, I recognize the utility of gathering intel, selecting a high-value target, and killing him as expeditiously as possible. I just think the ROE have gotten out of hand.

But the most jarring note in your post is your wholesale acceptance of partisan response which almost certainly is partly or completely fabricated. That's what Muslims do.


Anonymous said...

I have spent enough time in the Middle East (Iraq, UAE, Qatar, Yemen) to know most Muslims)just want to be left alone. We certainly are not fighting the 1.5 billion followers of Islam.

That being said I would suggest that the number of deaths of Muslims by Muslims dwarfs the amount killed by the US and other NATO forces.


MattS said...

The problem is easy to describe. The government is like a little kid, the drones are like a magnifying glass and the Middle East... Treated by that kid like one big anthill.

We've got to take the magnifying glass away from the kid.

What's scary, is that to this "kid" we're all ants living in anthills.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog daily and find you to be very thoughtful and has some intelligent and well researched subject matter.
In this case, regarding the idea of us provoking the islamists, I must strongly disagree with you.
I believe the problem with Islam is their indoctrination by their Koran and religious leaders.
The radical islamist is probably a minority, but they are being supported, and sheltered by the majority.
The U.S. response to the 911 attack is not the cause of their continued actions attempting to harm us.
Most people do not know that the first war the U.S. fought was against the islamists who were taking our ships off the high seas and imprisoning and enslaving the sailors.
In 1785 Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with the envoy for Tripoli in London to ask them to stop the piracy and return the sailors.
The envoy from Tripoli told them that it was written in the Koran that all who have not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners and that it was the right and duty of all the faithful to plunder and enslave the non-believers.
The piracy did not stop until after we defeated them in the Barbary Wars.
In a society which mistakes being reasonable for being weak the only option open to us is superior force. Unfortunately we responded to the 911 attacks by hitting back and "pulling our punches"
Allowing them to hide behind non combatants, Under hospitals, in Mosques, basically allowing them to set the stage for the ground rules in this conflict.
Had we attacked them with the same ferocity we did with the Japanese and Germans this war would be over.
I hear the comment that this is a war for oil. This comment does not explain the first Barbary War or the Second Barbary War or many of the attacks which occurred before 911.
Paul in Texas

Roy said...

"...because we refuse to rein in an Administration that..."

Peter, exactly *what* would you have us do?

My personal influence on what this administration does has been exactly ZERO.

Jerry in Central TX said...

Well said, Paul in Texas.

Once again Peter.

The extremist justifies his hate toward us and hides behind his or his neighbor’s child.
Sadly he has put the child in danger. Let’s move this to another war zone? Viet Nam? If our patrols saw a small person in black “pajamas” running away they shot first. Their lives depended on that runner being stopped. Didn’t matter if it were a child or adult, if they made it to their destination the patrol would be killed.
I do not see much difference in the extremist/jihadist and the Vietnamese.

Noons said...

The ethnic hatred - in ANY shape or format - is precisely what fascism feeds on.
It happened many times before, nothing new. The Jews felt it in their skin during WW2. Now, the Muslims are feeling it.
But very few have the courage to call the problem by its name. And the US mostly, because it's been brainwashed that it's "pure" and therefore shielded from ever falling into fascism.
Nothing could be more wrong.