It's Not The Koran, It's Us: The Corporate Media Chorus Willfully Ignores That U.S. Actions, Not Islam, Fuel Jihadism
13 January 2015
By Leonard C. Goodman
For a brief time after the 9/11 terror
attacks, Americans could be heard asking the
reasonable question: Why do these men from Middle
Eastern countries (back then, mostly Saudis) hate us
so much that they would give their own lives to cause
us pain? Within a few weeks, the official explanation
became: They hate us for our freedom, end of story.
When you follow the money, it is easy to understand
why the government avoided any honest discussion of
the causes of terrorism. By one estimate, U.S.
taxpayers have squandered $10 trillion over four
decades to protect the flow of oil on behalf of
multinational corporations. The result is an empire of
U.S. military bases which have garrisoned the Greater
Middle East. In the Persian Gulf alone, the United
States has bases in every country save Iran. These
bases support repressive, undemocratic regimes, and
act as staging grounds to launch wars, interventions
and drone strikes. And they generate tremendous
profits for defense contractors.
The existence of these bases helps generate
radicalism, anti-American sentiment and terrorist
attacks. The drone attacks have incited even more
hatred for us, which should come as little surprise.
The U.S. uses drones to incinerate suspected militants
(and anyone else in the vicinity) on secret evidence,
but only if they are living in Muslim nations like
Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq or Somalia. We don't fly killer
drones over dangerous neighborhoods in Detroit or
Chicago, or in Iguala, Mexico, where 43 students were
recently massacred by gang members aided by corrupt
The fact that our misguided foreign policy creates
terrorism is almost never discussed in polite society.
There is of course no justification for a terror
attack on innocents. But if our leaders truly cared as
much about protecting Americans from terror as they do
about protecting corporate profits, they would have an
honest discussion of what's prompting the violence.
The truth is that nearly every terror attack or threat
to America by an Islamic extremist can be directly
linked to "blowback" from our ventures in the Middle
East. Osama bin Laden cited the presence of U.S.
troops on Saudi holy land as a motivation for the 9/11
attacks. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said the Boston marathon
bombing was "retribution for the U.S. crimes against
Muslims in places like Iraq and Afghanistan." Faisal
Shahzad said his attempted bombing in Times Square was
"retaliation for U.S. drone attacks" in Pakistan,
which he had personally witnessed. The underwear
bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, said that his
attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner bound for Detroit
was revenge for U.S. attacks on Muslims. Last month in
Chicago, a teenager was arrested attempting to travel
to Syria to join ISIS. He explained in a letter to his
parents that he was upset that he was obligated to pay
taxes that would be used to kill his Muslim brothers
and sisters overseas. But when the Chicago Tribune
told the story, it left this fact out, instead
reporting that the teen had complained about the
immorality of Western society.
And long before the Senate released its damning
torture report, Al Qaeda and ISIS were using accounts
of U.S. torture as a recruiting tool.
The truth about what is radicalizing Muslims to hate
the West is rarely discussed in the mainstream press
or in political debate. Instead, we are told by
corporate-funded terror experts like the Brookings
Institution's William McCants and the Aspen
Institute's Frances Townsend that Islam is the origin
of radical ideology. Anti-American jihadis supposedly
learn to hate by reading the Koran and going to
mosques. So one-sided is the discussion that even Bill
Maher, a prominent liberal, has publicly described
Islam as the "one religion in the world that kills you
when you disagree with them."
With the launch of our latest multi-billion-dollar war
in Iraq and Syria, the United States has now bombed at
least 13 countries in the Greater Middle East since
1980. A UN report suggests that Washington's latest
air campaign against ISIS has led foreign militants to
join the movement on "an unprecedented scale." This
time, the terror experts haven't bothered to pretend
that we have a coherent plan or any chance of
improving the dire situation in those countries.
Still, they agree that ISIS militants' anti-U.S.
hatred originates with their Islamic faith and is
unrelated to any U.S. actions.
As the novelist Upton Sinclair once observed: It is
difficult to get a man to understand something when
his job depends on not understanding it.
Leonard Goodman is a Chicago
criminal defense lawyer and Adjunct Professor of Law
at DePaul University.