Do Hadithans Hate Us for Our Freedoms?

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. officials announced that the terrorists were motivated by anger and hatred for American “freedoms and values.”

In other words, the terrorists hated the First Amendment and rock ‘n’ roll and, therefore, decided to attack our country.

When asked whether U.S. foreign policy might have anything to do with the terrorist attacks, the federal attitude was, “Oh, no. The terrorists are either indifferent to U.S. foreign policy or they feel very positive about it.”

For example, when asked whether the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who died from the more than 10 years of brutal sanctions that the U.S. government and the UN imposed on the Iraqi people might have engendered some negative feelings among people of the Middle East, the federal attitude was, “Oh, no. There is no way that those deaths could have been a factor in the anger and hatred that led to the 9/11 attacks because Saddam, not the sanctions, was responsible for the deaths of those children. The 9/11 attacks were carried out because the terrorists hate us for our freedom and values.”

And when U.S. official Madeleine Albright expressed the feelings of U.S. officials when she announced that the deaths of so many Iraqi children were “worth it,” the federal attitude was that such callousness, again, had absolutely nothing to do with producing anger and hatred against the United States. It all revolved around hatred for our freedom and values.

Today, defenders of the president’s war and occupation of Iraq are suggesting that the killing of 24 defenseless civilians in Haditha, including defenseless women and children and even an old man in a wheelchair, were committed by only a few U.S. soldiers and that the rest of America’s occupying force are performing “heroically.”

But when al-Qaeda recruiters show the Haditha photographs to men and women in the Middle East, will the reaction among prospective new recruits be, “Let’s not focus on or exaggerate the massacre in Haditha because the other American troops in Iraq are performing heroically”?

After all, don’t forget that in performing heroically U.S. forces have killed and maimed tens of thousands of other Iraqis as part of their invasion and subsequent occupation — many more people, in fact, than were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

Who honestly believes that the friends and family members and even countrymen of those who were killed and maimed in Haditha — or elsewhere in Iraq — are likely to say, “We hate America not because of what they did at Haditha and the rest of Iraq but because of America’s First Amendment and rock ‘n’ roll”?

If there’s another major terrorist attack on American soil, here’s my prediction: Congress will again wake up from its slumber and respond positively to the president’s call for PATRIOT Acts 2, 3, and 4, followed by new rounds of indefinite military detentions, illegal wiretapping, kidnappings and renditions, censorship, and more.

And U.S. officials will again tell us that the suspension of our rights and freedom is only temporary and that it will protect us from the terrorists who hate America because of our freedom and values, not because of the homicides at Haditha, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the torture and sex abuse at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi deaths from the sanctions, the destruction of Iraq, and the other aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

After all, they’ll remind us, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq have brought love, peace, freedom, and democracy to the Iraqi people — well, at least to those who are not dead.