do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is
vitriolic hatred for America? I'll tell you how I respond: I'm
amazed. I'm amazed that there's such misunderstanding of what
our country is about that people would hate us. I am like most
Americans, I just can't believe it because I know how good we
President George W. Bush, October 11, 2001
What Bush Should Have Said
war against the al Qaeda terrorists is proceeding. As I've said,
it will be a long battle. Right now, we're destroying the Taliban
forces that harbor the terrorist network. Soon we will be on the
ground, hunting for these guys. It may take us a long time to
smoke them out of their caves and out in the open, but we will
are squeezing the terrorists financially by freezing their funds
and assets. We are isolating countries that have supported them.
Police in various countries are tracking down and arresting cell
members. In short, the war is going well.
terrorism does not spring full-grown from the head of a beast.
It grows out of popular discontent, and in this case allied with
religious fanaticism. We can do little to alter how people affiliate
religiously. But we can do something about helping to ameliorate
difficult for me to say this I've learned a lot in the past
month and not all of it is pretty but I do believe that the
United States has been partially responsible for helping create
the conditions that have led to a large part of the discontent
in the Middle East.
original mindset was derived from the old days of colonial power,
when the British and French and others in the West simply carved
up the old Arabic lands and Muslim empire, to serve their financial
and power interests. We didn't stop and think how the world was
changing, and our policies reflected that ignorance and denial.
continued to support ruling oligarchies, who became corrupt and
authoritarian. We supported Israel blindly ,and refused to use
our considerable leverage in helping to solve the riddle of Israeli/Palestinian
peace. We stationed our troops in Saudia Arabia, hardly thinking
about how many Muslims consider this a sacrilege. We continued
to enforce sanctions against Iraq, sanctions that benefit only
Saddam Hussein and the wealthy coterie around him, while leading
to untold death and misery for his people. We did little to aid
poor and powerless people in many of those countries, preferring
instead to deal with their oppressive rulers.
short, my fellow Americans, by not paying attention to what was
going on amidst the citizens of the region, we played directly
into the hands of the growing terrorist movement. Some of this
was out of ignorance, some because oil and other corporate interests
had too much influence on our policy, some was out of a sense
of denial: America has always been drawn reluctantly into the
complexities of politics abroad, and even when the terrorists
struck our assets bombing embassies in Africa, blowing up our
ship in Yemen or barracks in Saudia Arabia we thought that
was over there and we could handle it at arm's length. September
11 changed all that way of thinking.
you may say that by promising to re-examine our foreign and military
policies, we are capitulating to the demands of the bin Ladens
of this world. Not at all. We are going to change the policies
that need to be changed because it is in the national self-interest
of America, because doing so helps protect us and our allies in
the region and, by the way, because it's the right thing
to do. Shining light on one's shadow history is painful at first,
but in the long run it leads to honest actions and pays extraordinary
dividends to us all.
unshakable mandate, as I see it, is to help protect and defend
the interests of America and Americans. That is why I am ordering
today a full review of American national policy in the Middle
East and South Asia, and will expect recommendations for change
within 30 days.
will reduce tensions in that area, we will work with our partners
and allies to change how things are done; in short, we will, as
best we can, reduce the opportunities for terrorist fanatics to
gain new converts to their deadly, inhumane cause. We may not
be able to influence those in al Qaeda clearly, they are, in
their political/religious frenzy, dedicated to mass-murder and
mayhem in their desire to destroy the "infidel" West
but, by changing our policies, we may help alter the chemistry
of the soil in which future terrorism would grow. That, along
with wiping out the al Qaeda terror network, is the best thing
we can do to protect our country and help make for a better world.
you, and God bless America.
Weiner, Ph.D., has taught politics & international relations
at various colleges, and was the San