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Raff Ellis: Do Our Enemies Covet Our Way Of Life?

Do Our Enemies Covet Our Way Of Life?

By Raff Ellis Column

( – When Italy invaded the Sudan, it had nothing to do with jealousy of the Sudanese polity. They simply wanted a share of colonial Africa, like the other Europeans had taken before them.

When Germany invaded France, it was not because it hated the freedoms that the French enjoyed, but because it was anxious for the domination of Europe.

Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, not because they resented American democracy, which they in fact despised as being weak and inferior, but because they were bent upon military conquest.

As the above examples indicate, there seems to be no historical precedence to show that a nation was attacked because its attacker was envious of its form of government, except, of course, on September 11.

Isn't it a joke, actually, to think that the WTC was attacked by a small group of people covetous of our way of life? Especially when one considers the attackers were such fervent believers in a perverted form of their religion that they were willing to sacrifice their lives to strike a blow against a nation they considered to be the "great Satan."

No, it wasn't envy of our freedoms but hatred of our policies that drove them. They felt they had legitimate, un-redressed grievances against the United States for its years of meddling in their respective countries' geographic sphere. Certainly a catalog of such complaints could be compiled -- the principal one being the establishment of a settler nation in their midst that created a mass of refugees -- but no matter how large the anthology, it could in no way justify their bombing of two skyscrapers and the taking of nearly 3,000 innocent lives.

George W. Bush and his assemblage of policymakers have tried mightily to perpetrate a fraud against the American public by shifting the focus of attention -- from their inability or unwillingness to secure diplomatic progress in the trouble spots of the world -- to the victims of those failures. "They hate our freedoms" is simply a way of appealing to innate, chauvinistic tendencies that lurk in the American culture. As has been shown time and again, the public can be easily whipped into patriotic fervor, primarily because we are a pugnacious lot to begin with. We just love a good fight, as witnessed, on any given weekend of professional football, by the roaring of millions of fans for the hit that knocked the quarterback into a concussion-induced stupor. Face it, America; we love violence whether it's in movies, video games, sporting events or far-off battlefields.

The U.S. attacked Afghanistan, ostensibly because the Taliban harbored bin Laden and said they wouldn't give him up unless it were proven that he and his minions were responsible for 9-11. Well, as we all know, the Taliban were driven into hiding and, with the exception of a small area of the country, our warlord allies are now back in power along with the naked corruption that accompanied their prior rule.

It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows but, alas, so does war. These warlords, whom we bribed to work with us in Afghanistan, may be marginally less despotic or cruel than their predecessors, but they still harbor the same cultural revulsion for democracy and the emancipation of women in society. Their continued application of Count Draco-style punishment for what would be considered minor transgressions in a true democracy bears witness to their predilections.

So, our leaders in Washington, flushed with the success of exporting democracy to Afghanistan, ran pall mall into executing our latest conquest -- Iraq. Again, as we all know, the cabal of super conservatives who accompanied George W. Bush into power had long ago documented Israel's wish list for conquest in the Middle East. And, like a huge mound of fetid dog doo-doo, these plans lay fermenting in dusty reports while awaiting a Pearl Harbor-like event to trigger the explosion of that awful offal -- all over us. And, unfortunately, the resulting stench grows stronger by the day and will be with us for a long time to come.

Of course, there have been millions of words written about the events of the last two years and one cannot help but grow weary of them. Many of us desire to turn down the volume, to stop having to read about the dying and wounded soldiers in far off places, to ignore worries about our veterans and their lousy health care and shrinking benefits, to abstain from thinking about our diminished Bill of Rights, to ignore the ruckus about rigged elections, to pay no attention to plans for a repeat performance complete with no voter paper trails, to refrain from being disaffected by the constant stream of propaganda being spoon-fed to us by the agitprops Ashcroft, Cheney and Rumsfeld, to not think about yellow or orange alerts, and to not give a damn about budget deficits and if the war on terrorism will ever end.

It's way too much to think or worry about without including why there are so many people around the globe who hate us. Let's just accept the premise that they resent our materialism -- our big cars, fancy abodes, disproportionate consumption of resources and fat bellies -- and a justice system where a person is judged innocent until proven guilty. Right?

Are you ready for some football?


[Raff Ellis lives in the United States and is a retired former strategic planner and computer industry executive. He has had an abiding and active interest in the Middle East since early adulthood and has traveled to the region many times over the last 30 years.]

Raff Ellis encourages your comments: is an international news and opinion publication. encourages its material to be reproduced, reprinted, or broadcast provided that any such reproduction identifies the original source, Internet web links to are appreciated.


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