We didn't deserve attacks
Published: Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 11:55 p.m.
Joe Little's guest column (Jan. 6) was a fascinating example of Ivory Tower thinking. These were his basic ideas:
First, the "war on terror" is a political contrivance designed by the Bush administration. Second, America has little history of firing the first shots in international conflict. And third, the administration never took the time to question the motivations of anti-American terrorists.
The first point is one we've all heard. Bush's war-mongering is rooted in selfish political concerns. We've also heard it was to divert attention away from the economy or perhaps to access rich oil fields or because Saddam Hussein threatened George Sr. None of these suggestions can be supported by facts.
Hussein has a history of poisoning and murdering his own people. He's made deliberate attempts to violate U.N. resolutions. He has expelled, diverted and lied to inspectors. He is either playing a game of diplomatic chicken or he has something to hide.
Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda have a history that encourages, trains and finances people to commit suicide and mass murder for a supposed holy war against Western concerns. It amazes me that Little feels these people are motivated by rational thought processes and the Bush administration is not.
Little attempts to support his second point with history. The United States does indeed have some historical black eyes. Slavery, Native American genocide and the Vietnam War are his chosen examples. But slavery, Vietnam and the plight of the American Indian have nothing to do with the very real, modern threats we are facing.
Little thinks the attacks on 9/11 were carried out by men who felt justly provoked. He states that "terror has legitimate grievances," and also thinks that their methods are not that different from the Bush administration's.
Yes, innocent people died in Afghanistan, and if there is war in Iraq, more innocents will die. Innocent people also died here on 9/11. The attack on us was made with no prior warning to our government. The Bush administration gave numerous warnings to the Taliban and has given numerous warnings to Hussein. I see no comparison to Bush's methods and those of anti-American terrorists.
No one can deny that the United States has engaged in unscrupulous activities abroad. Yes, our great country has made egregious errors. Does that mean that past mistakes on our part justifies present day aggression by others against us? Should we accept it as legitimate compensation for historical mistakes?
No amount of introspection will ever answer the question of what motivates terrorists. Maybe we could invite them to a round table discussion or maybe we could send someone to ask them. I'd nominate Little.
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