#3: “They have more attacks against us and the American interests per month than occurred in all the years before 9/11, but we’re there occupying their land. And if we think that we can do that and not have retaliation, we’re kidding ourselves. We have to be honest with ourselves. What would we do if another country, say, China, did to us what we do to all those countries over there?”
Let’s pretend for a moment this explains the current threat against us now. How does this explain the 9/11 attacks? What Muslim lands was America forcibly occupying before 9/11?
Sure, the U.S. had military bases in Saudi Arabia, and this infuriated bin Laden. But we were no more occupying Saudi Arabia than we are occupying Germany, where we also have military bases. And the reason we set up bases in Saudi Arabia in the first place was, at least in part, to protect the Saudis from possible aggression from Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War. (They were removed, by the way, post-9/11.)
Moreover, before 9/11, America had put its sons and daughters at risk at least three times to protect Muslims — to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, to bring food and humanitarian aid to the Muslims of Somalia, and to protect Kosovar Muslims from Slobodan Milosevic.
So I ask again, which Muslim countries were we forcibly occupying before 9/11 which helps explain why al-Qaida attacked us on 9/11?
#4: “Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida have been explicit — they have been explicit, and they wrote and said that ‘we attacked America because you had bases on our holy land in Saudi Arabia, you do not give Palestinians fair treatment…’”
Osama bin Laden wasn’t upset because the Palestinians were given poor treatment: He was upset that Israel exists at all.
Frankly, al-Qaida doesn’t care too much about Muslim suffering. Just look at some of the horrific attacks al-Qaida has perpetrated against fellow Muslims. What they care about is creating a worldwide caliphate under strict Sharia law. (And for all their talk about the Palestinians, they certainly haven’t done much to help them or to even target Israel.)
It also should be noted that al-Qaida considers al-Andulus — or Spain as it is known in the modern world — to be occupied territory. Does Ron Paul believe our relationship with Spain is unnecessarily provocative to al-Qaida?
It is right to say that al-Qaida blames America for propping up corrupt Middle East dictatorships, which they see as apostate regimes. But their grievance is that we have propped them up and prevented them from becoming Islamist states. I would give this argument credence if it came from a liberal reformer who sought freedom for his country, but not when it comes from medieval ideologues who seek to replace one form of tyranny with an even crueler one.
So, yes, al-Qaida has grievances. And I can see, if not understand, where the mindset comes from that compels people like Paul to blame terrorists’ violent acts on others. It is a little like those who say a girl in a short skirt and a low-cut top deserved what she got.
Ron Paul may be comfortable with that line of reasoning. I’m not. And I’m pretty sure the Republican Party isn’t either.