Hawks & Hornets

Find yourself curious about our real motives? William Raspberry lays it out clearly and concisely:

There are, basically, two views regarding the source of anti-American terrorism in the Arab world. The first was articulated by retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar in testimony last September before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The problem, he argued, is that the Muslim world does not trust us. "They believe the U.S. government has acted unilaterally, sometimes as a bully, sometimes has used other nations for its own interests and abandoned them when the objective has been achieved. And most important, they believe the U.S. has unjustly supported Israel over the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.

"At the end of the day, the war on terrorism will be won only when we convince 1 billion Muslims that we are, in fact, a just society; that we do support peace, justice, equality for all people; that in fact we really are the 'City on the Hill.' "

On the other hand, the administration's plan, says Marshall, is "to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism."

The problem is not that this second view is wrong (though I have no doubt that it is dangerously so) but that its adherents have consciously avoided letting it become part of the public debate. Instead, they have sold a sort of incrementalism-without-retreat by which we have only to accept the necessity of getting rid of Hussein to wind up supporting the radical realignment of the Middle East.

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