Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We All Get On Each Other’s Nerves

Shock and awe was NOT what took place over Baghdad in March of 2003. It’s hard to achieve any shock value from an event when you use the months preceding it to tell everyone that soon you will do something shocking. Because of all the hype leading up to that fiasco, the exercise itself was little more than an overblown 4th of July fireworks demonstration that surprised nobody and produced no lasting benefit. Shock and awe was what took place over lower Manhattan nine years ago this coming Saturday, and America was so shocked and awed by 9/11 that we, as a nation, will probably never get over it. It explains why, today, most of us view Muslims with at least a tinge of cautious suspicion (if we are completely honest about it). This isn’t racism or xenophobia, it’s enlightened self-interest.

The flip side of this, of course, is that ordinary citizens in Baghdad or Mosul or Kabul or Kandahar view all American soldiers with suspicion. Our troops will never be loved over there, and Muslims will never be loved in our country. For at least 60 years, the United States has subjected Muslims in the Middle East to political manipulation and lethal skullduggery just to get at their oil, so when one of them straps on a bomb vest and blows a few of our troops to smithereens, it should come as no surprise. Similarly, when some Christian pastor in Gainesville, Florida plans to burn a few Korans on 9/11, it should come as no surprise. Top U.S. military commander, Gen. David Petraeus warns us that burning Korans will inflame Muslims around the world and put our troops in harm’s way. My question is — how would we be able to tell, since Islam looks pretty inflamed already and our troops are already dying with extreme and violent regularity, so how would that be different? Maybe Muslims are inflamed by 60 years of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, going back to our installation of the Shah in Iran. I’d like to hear Petraeus give us his thoughts on that subject.

Basically, there are seven billion people in the world and we all get on each other’s nerves. It’s no more complicated than that. We in America think we’re exceptional, but every nation and culture on earth thinks the same thing, and here’s the deal — all of us are right about that.

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