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Mideast Ideological Change

Since 9/11, it has been my belief that the present War is primarily ideological. It is not a coincidence that the terrorists who attacked us were religious fanatics and denounced Americans as heathens and the United States as the Great Satan. It is instructive that they were most at home in the brutally repressed lands of the Taliban.

There were, broadly speaking, two answers to the question "Why do they hate us?" One answer was "because we have done them wrong" — the other answer was "because we are an affront to their ideas."

As a result, one group of people believes that if we'd only stop doing bad things to them, they'd stop hating us and leave us alone. The other group believes that they will always hate us, unless we convert to their ideology, or they learn tolerance.

I am firmly in the latter group. I believe that even if we withdrew our influence from the Mideast and shamefully let the jews be pushed into the sea, attacks against America would continue. In fact, I think they would increase. Appeasement doesn't work — ask Neville Chamberlain. Or the Philippines. Appeasement would make us appear weak and exploitable, not reasonable. Of course, those who believe differently about why they hate us will believe differently about the efficacy of meeting their demands.

(I wonder, rhetorically, where are all the Latin American or Vietnamese terrorists? It does seem to be connected to ideology and not to grievance, doesn't it?)

Because I believe this is an ideological war, I believe reforming the ideology of our enemies is a critical element of success. Americans have long tolerated others — it is our enemies who are intolerant of us, and therefore their ideas that must change.

I'm heartened by this article because it challenges Arabs to reject their scapegoating and conspiracy theories over who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. Scapegoating and conspiracy theories are used to deflect blame, and the "inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure" is one of the Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States.

As the culture warms to taking responsibility and facing the truth, the United States will be less of a scapegoat. The Great Satan will be diminished as a threat. And they won't hate us quite so much anymore.

Tiny Island