See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .Is it Islam or American policy abroad responsible for our terror?
As I see American Muslims loyalty and religion put to question, I can't help but dive into our very short history as a nation:
On February 19, 1942, soon after the beginning of World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The evacuation order commenced the round-up of 120,000 Americans of Japanese heritage to one of 10 internment camps-officially called "relocation centers"-in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arkansas. The U.S. internment camps were overcrowded and provided poor living conditions. According to a 1943 report published by the War Relocation Authority (the administering agency), Japanese Americans were housed in "tarpaper-covered barracks of simple frame construction without plumbing or cooking facilities of any kind." Coal was hard to come by, and internees slept under as many blankets as they were allotted. Food was rationed out at an expense of 48 cents per internee, and served by fellow internees in a mess hall of 250-300 people. In 1968, nearly two dozen years after the camps were closed; the government began reparations to Japanese Americans for property they had lost.
In 1988, the U.S. Congress passed legislation which awarded formal payments of $20,000 each to the surviving internees-60,000 in all.
In the early sixties, black Americans faced prejudice and discrimination in almost every aspect of life, from jobs and housing to education. In the South, where 60 percent of all African Americans lived, blacks were deprived of equal voting rights until 1964. They were even denied the right to sit at the same lunch counter or use the same public rest room as white people. In the case of African Americans no reparations are paid but there are several law suits currently in the court system.
Our principles, constitution and Christianity didn't prevent discriminating against minorities. In both examples we as a government of the people and by the people admitted our mistakes. Are we ready to repeat the same mistakes?
Let us first define the enemy in our president's own words "The ideology known as Islamic radicalism, militant Jihadism, or Islamo-fascism -- different from the religion of Islam - exploits Islam to serve a violent political vision that calls for the murder of all those who do not share it. The followers of Islamic radicalism are bound together by their shared ideology, not by any centralized command structure. Although they fight on scattered battlefields, these terrorists share a similar ideology and vision for the world. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/10/20051006-2.html
So our enemy is really not Islam or Muslims, it is this strange and dangerous ideology Islamo-fascism (boy, I love this name!). I am in total agreement that radical Islam is very dangerous not only to the western civilization but to civilization as a whole. Actually to be more accurate radicalism regardless of the basis is dangerous we saw this on two world wars when millions of human beings were massacred because of a radical idea, to know a little more about Nazism and Fascism use this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/nazism
We don't even have to go this far in history or geography to understand the danger of radicalism probably all of us that can read remember the morning we woke up to the horrible news coming out of Oklahoma City, when a young American killed 168 of his country men, again it was radicalism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/timothy_mcveigh
So we understand how dangerous the enemy is, throughout our history we were victorious. We might lose few of our good people. We will make the sacrifice and evil will die. We even have a name for the new world "The New Middle East".
On surface the argument have merit especially not considering the instances when we lost in Vietnam or the fight ended with a tie in Korea. How about Iraq?
Regardless if it is technically a civil war in Iraq or not the American people know it and said it loud and clear in all recent polls. We are losing the war. Israel is not any better; they failed over 58 years to end terrorism as they call it.
If we dive a little deeper than the surface the argument becomes shaky, some times we win some times we lose. Is there a pattern?
"The followers of Islamic radicalism are bound together by their shared ideology, not by any centralized command structure. Although they fight on scattered battlefields, these terrorists share a similar ideology and vision for the world."
So the enemy defined by the president of US is not centralized, it is certainly not like the Nazi Germany, but may be, just may be more like Vietnam!
To win over this enemy we need a new weapon, we need to isolate it, suck the air that sustains it, and deprive it of new recruits. Every single day our bombs -- whether we drop it ourselves or through a proxy- kill an innocent civilian, destroy the livelihoods of families or create what is called collateral damage, we unknowingly support the enemy. We create new grievances, bitter vendettas and make the radicals' mission to recruit new suicide bombers easier than ever and in the process we lose a few more yards in our fight against terror.
This victory over radicalism can happen when the injustices STOP and the real people have real future, have hopes and are allowed to dream. This can happen when we become a REAL honest broker in international conflicts, work diplomacy and pressure with our true interests in mind. Immediate attention should be given to the hot spots; for example, when grievances are addressed starting from people without land in Gaza and west bank, to people that don't know if the morning will bring them, sun, rain or a carpet of bombing in Lebanon.
This doesn't mean all radicals will disappear; they will be there as long as we are, but one thing is guaranteed, when you are honest, people respect you no matter how different you are. If other nations like our freedom and democracy, they will like us even more when we add honesty and justice to our role in the international arena. Only then will the radicals find it more and more difficult to recruit the 18 to 25 years old that are willing to die because whatever is out there up in the sky is better than what they got today.
US Department of State list of terrorist organizations include some of the very familiar names we hear in the news everyday Al-Qa'ida, Hamas and Hezbollah http://www.
The origins of the group can be traced to a few weeks after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, The U.S. viewed the conflict in Afghanistan as an integral Cold War struggle, and the CIA provided assistance to anti-Soviet forces through the Pakistani ISI.
HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hamas
Created in 1987 by Shaikh Ahmed Yassin of the Gaza wing of the Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada,
Hezbollah (Party of God) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hezbollah#history
Hezbollah was formed primarily to combat the Israeli occupation following the 1982 invasion of Lebanon
Is it a coincident all three were born from the ashes of a war or an occupation that we directly or indirectly promoted? What will the new wars of the 2000s bring us tomorrow, next year or next decade?
We should really be scared!