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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

WHY WOULDN'T THEY HATE US? 

A couple months ago I attended a press conference with Dennis Kucinich and asked him how a peace candidate would protect the country from terrorists. In a nutshell, he gave two main points as his answer:

1) He would tell the truth, and
2) he would address the root causes of terrorism.

In other words, he would not lie to the American people and the world about the ways that America's financial support of Israel's bloody and oppressive occupation of Palestinian lands. Kucinich didn't specifically mention Israel in his answer, but he came up to me in the lobby after the press conference (just before he gave the most inspiring speech I've ever heard in person) and asked if I understood what he was referring to. "We have to change the fundamental ways we deal with the Middle East if we're ever going to make peace with that part of the world," he said. Or words to that effect -- my memory is not the sharpest.

Anyway, with that in mind, I recommend reading this commentary by Lawrence Pintak at Common Dreams, showing exactly how badly Bush has done in the real war on terrorism.

Here's an excerpt:

Two new polls of attitudes in six Arab countries by Zogby International make for pretty grim reading to us, but they're manna from Heaven for the man who, news reports claim, is now believed to be holed up in the semi-autonomous region of Northwest Pakistan.

It was bad enough in 2002, when Zogby found that an appalling 35 percent of Jordanians and 12 percent of Saudis viewed us favorably. Now those figures are 15 percent and four percent respectively. We can't even buy friends. Egypt received some $4 billion last year in U.S. aid, yet only two percent of Egyptians responded positively. In a poll with a margin of error of about four points, that doesn't even move the needle.

Arab attitudes toward pretty much all things American are in the toilet, including American freedom and democracy - something even al-Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo Bay once told interrogators that they admired. Asked to name the "best thing about America" now, most Arabs responded, "nothing." The worst things about America? "Unfair Middle East policy" and our penchant to "murder Arabs."

If, four years ago, the Bush administration had consciously set out to create the "clash of civilizations" sought by bin Laden, it is hard to believe it could have been more successful.

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The article barely touches on the Israeli role in the equation, but it's there.

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