People want to harm us "for what we believe in." Repeat it often enough and it's bound to convince somebody, I guess...but is there really anyone out there who actually buys this line of reasoning? If so, please raise your hand because I'd love to meet you. I'd love to ask you: What exactly do "we" believe in and why would it motivate anyone to take down a commercial airliner?
Start by maintaining a massive nuclear arsenal. Next, make sure you're the only country to ever use such weapons in battle (on civilians, no less). Finally, go around threatening any country (except Israel, Pakistan, and India) that even contemplates starting a nuclear program.
If you want to get someone irate enough to blow themselves up and take a whole lot of folks with them, you could drop bombs on their babies on a regular basis or enforce sanctions that kill a half-million kids and then brag about it on "60 Minutes." That would likely result in more than enough anger to provoke at least a declaration of war.
An excellent example of provoking hatred took place recently when, as reported in the New York Times, Israel "asked the Bush administration to speed delivery of short-range antipersonnel rockets armed with cluster munitions" (M-26). This request is likely to be approved but any delay in that approval due to "concerns over the likelihood of civilian casualties" in Lebanon. Human Rights Watch calls the M-26, "a particularly deadly weapon." Bonnie Docherty, a researcher with the group, said these rockets were also "used widely by U.S. forces in Iraq and caused hundreds of civilian casualties."
The only belief of ours that "they" might hate is our propensity to engage in aggression and repression anywhere on the globe. Consider this: If your neighborhood was bombed into the Stone Age-your children buried in the rubble-and the taxpayers funding those bombs walked around saying you were ignorant enough and narrow-minded enough to hate them "for what they believe in," how forgiving would you be?
"I wonder how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own," says historian Howard Zinn. "Then we could never ... wage war anywhere, because wars, especially in our time, are always wars against children, indeed our children."
Mickey Z. is the author of several books, most recently 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know (Disinformation Books). He can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.