Sunday, July 27, 2008


Sometimes I receive comments to something I have posted here at No Countries No Religion. Sometimes the comments make no sense to me. More often than not they are interesting. Even if I don’t agree, I appreciate the feedback. Sometimes, a comment may have a way of forcing me to think. These are the most interesting comments, even though they have a way of exhausting me.

Yesterday I asked the question Why All The Hate? This question was prompted by the recent terrorist bombings in India. The first comment I received to this post was:

Apparently, it's not just the US they hate... they hate India, they hate Israel, they hate Denmark, they hate Britain, they hate Australia...

What DON'T they hate?! I think THAT list is a lot smaller.
There is not a lot to that comment, but for some reason it is one of those ones that made me think. So I am responding to it here. It sparked some thoughts that I would like to share. Since the comment is short and I don’t want to make any assumptions I wish to make it clear that not all of what follows is a direct response to this comment.

The point made by the comment is valid, and it is a good one. The most radical of terrorists do seem to hate everyone. I’d still like to know why they do. In simple terms I’d like to see an end to all the hate and the violence that comes from it. How do we do that? By adding more violence to the mix, or by trying to find out where all the hate comes from? Logically, it seems that if we could find the cause of the hate, we could possibly stop the hate, and the violence. I know that some have said this before. I know that many consider this to be naive. In spite of that, I think that it bears repeating, and that it is the best way of trying to solve the problem.

I do not condone anger or hate. I believe that what the terrorists are doing is wrong. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to understand their motivations.

I’ll repeat the last quote from the CNN article that I previously posted:
Indian Mujahedeen claimed responsibility in May for near-simultaneous bomb attacks that killed 63 people in the northwest Indian city of Jaipur. In that claim, the group declared "open war" against India in retaliation for what it said were 60 years of Muslim persecution and the country's support of U.S. policies.
This is the reason that I asked: “Why do they hate the United States so much?” Also, the reference to “60 years of Muslim persecution” seems to be a direct reference to Israel. After all, they recently celebrated 60 years of their existence. The United States picked sides. The United States strongly supports Israel. The United States strongly supports violence, and has for a very long time.

Anger and hate can be misdirected. Frequently it is directed at whoever happens to be the closest. If you are a stay-at-home parent, it is likely that you have experienced misdirected anger toward your child, when you are actually angry with your spouse, or something or someone else. Your child just happens to be the closest person at the time.

India is closer than the United States. The Indian Mujahedeen, I assume, are in India. If the United States were geographically closer to them I would think that they would be bombing in United States cities as well, since they specifically mention dislike of U.S. policy.

It is extremely distressing to me as a U.S. citizen that my government is acting in ways that I view as immoral, unfair, and unlawful. So while I definitely do not deny that the terrorists seem to hate nearly everyone, as a U.S. citizen I can take part in U.S. politics in a way that may effect a change for the better.

The big question is how to stop all the violence, anger, and hate? Do we do it with more violence, anger, and hate?

In my personal life talking has proven to be the best way for me to solve problems and deal with anger. It seems to me that this would be the best way to deal with global problems of anger. Yet, the United States leadership currently opposes this, and denigrates those that propose it as a solution. Why can’t we negotiate with terrorists in this case? This is not a hostage situation. Even if talking is not the best solution why eliminate the use of it? Can’t we use all the help and resources we can find to solve the problem of global terrorism? Why must violence be the only choice?

In the United States my views on this subject are not given very much credence, in fact they are usually mocked and ridiculed. More violence has become the accepted solution. I don’t believe this is the right course of action. I believe that it will only make things worse. I don’t want things to become worse. The world is in terrible shape as it is.

The Bush Administration has elevated the status of the terrorists into something that they are not. By using the full force of the United States military and declaring war on them the Administration has given them the equivalent status of a country. Because of Bush they are bigger than they deserve to be. It is very likely, as well, that they are bigger in numbers than before Bush, but that is not what I mean here.

I believe that the reason that the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq was because the Bush Administration felt that it had to do something in response to 9/11, and they were too stupid to come up with any other ideas.

Of course, the reasons for the terrorist strikes around the world pre-date 9/11. 9/11 didn’t really change anything (only its magnitude was different), but the Bush Administration certainly did make unprecedented changes to U.S. foreign policy in how it responded to what happened on that terrible day. The United States invaded two countries that were not directly responsible. The Bush Administration wrongly took advantage of an awestruck nation and utilized the worst parts of a mob mentality. This is not a sign of strong leadership.

From an emotional viewpoint what the Bush Administration did following 9/11 may have given short-term satisfaction to some. Some of those people are now finding that satisfaction to be short-lived and not carrying over into the long-term. From a moral standpoint what the Bush Administration did was wrong. Also from an international law standpoint. From an intellectual standpoint what they did was simply stupid. They have effectively severed the use of alternative solutions to the problem of global terrorism. Violence is their solution. Torture is their solution. Eviscerating civil liberties is their solution. Secrecy is their solution. Lack of accountability is their solution. Turning the United States into a terrorist nation is their solution. These are solutions that I abhor. In fact they are not solutions at all. Not only are they morally wrong, they will simply make the problems we face worse.

The Bush Administration, and unfortunately also John McCain, are grasping at any reason they can to point to their “success.” Most of these reasons such as “the surge is working, violence in Iraq is down” are illogical and short term. For the short term violence from terrorists may be down in Iraq and the United States, but it is not in the rest of the world. I think that the United States is indirectly responsible for this violence because of its violent and oppressive foreign policies. Unfortunately citizens of countries such as India are suffering because of this.

3 comments - Post a comment :

Tantz Aerine said...

You have some interesting ideas here, and a good turn of phrase. What caught my eye most was your take on hate which, while on the mark, I think may just be scratching the surface as to what hate is or what it serves.

Could I interest you in taking a look at this? I think you might find its well rounded ideas worth discussing.

God-Musings said...

I enjoyed your take on the Bush admin. I always find it extremely sad, no matter what the circumstances, that people justify killing in the name of god.

Paul Thoreau said...

to Tantz Aerine:

Thank you for your kind words. Hate seems to be such a big topic, doesn't it? It is unfortunate that it is. Thank you for the link. I have looked at it a little bit and I like what I have read so far. It may turn out to be one of those things that inspires me.

To god-musings:

Thank you for your comment. I am glad you enjoyed something I wrote. I agree with you completely, whether one believes or not, killing in the name of god is about as low as one can go.

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