Tom Cotton made some waves last week with a statement he made about Guantanamo Bay and the war on terror. Most people reacted very positively saying things like “he speaks the truth” and “what great leadership” and what not. Obviously I have some things to say about what Cotton said. Here is the clip. See you on the other side.
Cotton makes it sound like terrorists from the Middle East have been attacking Western and US targets from out of no where and with no rhyme or reason. Ok, actually he said that the terrorists hate us for “who we are”. I think this is a reference to the argument that they “hate us for our freedoms”. To be able to say these things you must ignore or be ignorant of the interventions that US government has been making in the Middle East since WWII (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6308.htm). The government and the CIA have been very active there since the 1950’s conducting regime changes, assassinations, bombing campaigns, and funding dictators like Mubarak, Saddam, and the shah of Iran (http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/pa159.pdf).
Cotton has taken a completely one sided view of history. We are right to condemn and try to prevent the violence and death that terrorists groups engage in. On the other hand we must apply that same standards to the US government. It’s use of drone warfare, giving foreign aid and weapons to dictators (http://libertytheory.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/chemical-weapons-found-in-iraq/), arming of violent groups, and intervention of the last 50 years has caused much death the destruction, as well.
To claim that the people in the Middle East have no reason to hate us for besides “our freedoms” is intellectually and historically bat-shit crazy. The conflict between the West and the Middle East cannot be resolved until the activities of the US Government can be rationally and dispassionately evaluated. I say we start with not bombing innocent people, stop supporting dictators, and stop arming rebel groups that always turn against us.
Finally, here is the list of attacks that Cotton cited that were “motivated” by the hatred of American freedoms and the real reasons that the attackers had for their murderous actions. A little research goes a long way. There is definitely a pattern here. Ignoring this will doom us to endless conflict. Unfortunately, people like Tom Cotton don’t give a damn about history and the perceptions of US foreign policy from the people that it affects the most.
New York City, 9/11, 2001
- Attacker: Al-Qaeda
- Reason: US support of Israel, US troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions on Iraq
Yemen, USS Cole bombing, 2000
- Attacker: Al-Qaeda
Embassy bombings, 1998
First World Trade Center Bomb, 1993
- Attacker: Ramzi Yousef, Al-Qaeda affiliated
- Reason: US support of Israeli military actions, and US intervention in Middle East Affairs
Iran, Iranian Embassy Hostage Crisis, 1979
- Attacker: Iranian population
- Reason: For interference with Iranian affairs and support of the overthrown Shah. The US housed him and treated his cancer while Iran wanted to put him on trial for crimes during his time in power. US later put the Shah back in power.
Lebanon, Marine barracks bombing, 1983
- Attacker: Hezbollah
- Reason: US military presence and support of the Israeli invasion in Lebanon.