There seems to be a recurring error which crops up in the left about the roots of Islamic terrorism. Bush constantly repeats the claim that they attack us because they hate our freedoms, and won't consider that maybe American foreign policy, including his own, might play a part. His critics insist that this is all because of inept foreign policy, and only that. But both of these contribute to the problem, and the first one to admit it wins the kewpie doll.
There’s no question that 100 years of inept foreign policy has brought us to this, on both the part of England and America. England’s contribution includes the partitioning of India and the creation of Pakistan, and the support of Wahabbiist extremists, both a product of a divide and conquer strategy. America’s contribution was to support extremist theocratic elements, in the hopes that they would oppose “Godless” communism, and to undermine democratically elected governments in favour of puppet regimes. America’s installation of the Shah eventually led to the revolution and the current theocracy; had it not been for this, Iran might be the voice of moderation in the Middle East and not the central distributor of terrorism. And the invasion of Iraq is enough to put Bush up there with the worst of them–it was probably the worst policy possible under the circumstances.
However, to blame this all on support for Israel and discount the genuine antipathy of Muslim extremists for Western values and freedoms is simply naive. Israel is a vanishingly small portion of the Middle East. The body count on terrorist attacks shows a complete lack of concern for the safety of Palestinians on the part of the terrorists. Believing that Muslims go to heaven as martyrs when killed in Jihad, the terrorists actually think they are doing Palestinians a favour by killing them. Nesrallah isn’t after Zionists; he said that it would be better if all Jews came to Israel, so that he would be able to kill them all there. Israel is a political red herring, played up by dictators and populist demagogues in the Middle East to keep their people distracted from the real issues. And it works–the people of the Middle Easts fall for it, and a lot of people on the left keep falling for it.
Good fences make good neighbours, as the old saying goes, but the internet and the flow of culture from America has brought American values directly into the homes of millions of people in the Middle East. The fences have come down. This challenges the ideological monopoly of the clerics, and what they really want us to do is shut up; they want to stop the flow of information and influence at source, if possible. That means, yes, that they do actually oppose our freedoms. This may not be the view of the majority of the citizenry, but it is what is motivating the terrorist extremist groups, who are led by Imams and fight in the name of Islam. They’re afraid that if their own people get a taste of these freedoms, they might want them too, and the theocratic stranglehold that exists in their countries will end. So as much as I hate to agree with Bush on anything, Islamic terrorists really do hate our freedoms.