Previously by Chris Sullivan: Jonah’s Job

Many years ago, a group of disgruntled patriots, nationalists or terrorists – depending on your perspective – went into the Capitol building in D.C. and shot five congressmen. The assailants were four Puerto Rican nationalists who unfurled a flag of Puerto Rico and then fired thirty shots into the floor of the chamber. This incident happened on March 1, 1954.

As far as I know, nobody tried to claim that these people committed this act for anything other than political reasons or that "they hate us for our freedom." One of the shooters supposedly shouted "Free Puerto Rico."

There was no talk of "3/1 changed everything." Everybody probably understood that the shooters wanted the US out of Puerto Rico. If someone had inquired as to why the assailants shot the congressmen, they wouldn’t have been accused of "trying to justify the terrorists," it would have been recognized as a simple inquiry as to motive.

The same thing is true of the World Trade Center/Pentagon caper, but the public is discouraged from believing the perpetrators. Soon after the attack, Osama Bin Laden appeared in a video tape wearing his US issued Goretex camouflage jacket saying that he had nothing to do with the attack, but that he approved of it and congratulated the ones who pulled it off. He said (paraphrasing) that if the US continued to aid Israel and occupy "Holy lands," "I swear to God" it will happen again. After this the government made sure that the people weren’t going to hear any more grievances from Mr. Bin Laden by prohibiting the showing of any more videos from him with the excuse that he "might be sending coded messages."

The video is probably on YouTube if it hasn’t gone down the memory hole.

Immediately there was a propaganda campaign to assure the public that the attacks had nothing to do with American actions in the Middle East. All of a sudden it was discovered that these people hate us because we are good or because we are free. Has there ever been another case in history of one group being so resentful of another group that has not harmed them in any way that they are willing to kill themselves to inflict harm on the objects of their resentment? Would it be rational for someone to say to himself, "I’m barely eking out a living and my neighbor has millions of dollars and lives in a mansion. I think I’ll crash a plane into his house to kill myself and perhaps kill him too?" The question answers itself.

If this were motivated by the Islamic religion, it would seem that all the disgruntled practitioners would not be concentrated in one area as I wrote about here.

Fortunately, there is a slow movement toward reality and now 43% of Americans believe that the attacks might have been motivated by something the US government did, according to this article about a poll by Pew Research Centre. According to the article:

"The shift, however, was mainly confined to self-described Democrats and independents, half of whom now believe US policies may have motivated Al Qaeda.

Republicans, on the other hand, remained steadfast, as on a number of other key issues, in their view that the attacks were not motivated by anything the US had done.

The survey also found major differences between age groups on this question. More than half (52 percent) of respondents under 30 said US actions may have motivated the attacks, while only 20 percent of respondents 65 and older were open to that explanation."

This might help explain why Rick Santorum and Rudy Giuliani claim to believe the party line. It’s doubtful that anybody who has spent time in government would believe the "official" story. If these two are regular church-goers, they would have recited thousands of times the part of the Confiteor that says "…I have sinned through my own fault,… in what I have done and what I have failed to do…" i.e. taking responsibility for one’s own actions. Why would governments be any different from individuals since people in the upper echelons of government are many times some of the worst people? The principle seems to be that whatever "we" do is fine and everybody had better like it.

Imposing sanctions and no-fly zones, supporting dictators, occupying territory, aiding one’s enemies, toppling elected officials, etc, generates ill will from the victims of such actions. This is probably a universal rule.

When little Johnny keeps poking the rattlesnake with a smoldering stick we shouldn’t be too perplexed as to why the rattlesnake bites little Johnny. It isn’t because of Johnny’s freedom or because he is good or any other kooky explanation. Sending out hordes of people to fight the rattlesnakes over there so we don’t have to fight them over here is not the solution. The solution is to leave them alone and reprimand Johnny, although the latter would probably not be necessary since he has learned a valuable lesson on his own,

Trying to impose your will on another people is a sure-fire way to make enemies. Even if you have a benevolent intention – rarely the case – sending lots of armed men (usually boys) into another country is sure to cause trouble. Boys will be boys, and when they start drinking and fighting and whoring, the locals take a disliking to them and all who sent them.

Almost 2000 years ago, the Jews were preparing to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Jerusalem when a smart-alecky Roman soldier mooned them and uttered some insulting remark which resulted in a riot. Soon after the "mooning" episode, another soldier tore up the Jewish Books Of The Law and threw them in the fire. As everybody knows, things went down hill from there with the Temple eventually being destroyed.

The lesson from this – or one of the lessons – is that people don’t like foreigners coming into their country and pushing them around. This is something that Rick and Rudy and all others "in denial" should ponder.

Reprinted with permission from Different Bugle.