Since the United States
was first attacked, one question has been constant: “Why
do they hate us?” Part of the answer is obvious. Militant
Islamic factions are working overtime to spread their gospel
of world domination and the destruction of anything that gets
in the way of an Islamic theocracy. And in much of the Middle
East, at least, the people of Islam start learning that message
young. Children are taught hatred of Jews and Americans from
an early age in religious schools called madarasas across the
Muslim world. Palestinian infants are dressed up as suicide
bombers, and it’s considered “cute.” And
all those beheading videos make for great recruitment video
footage for future terrorists.
And we, ourselves, are partly to blame.
Our open democratic society and largely unregulated media regularly
that are part of the dialog out of which American society grows,
but which would be punishable by imprisonment or death in many
Islamic countries. And it doesn’t help that the “American
education” that we provide to international students, and
which they value highly, regularly includes a critique of ourselves
and our system, often with an emphasis on what is wrong with
the Americans and the United States. A student who comes to this
country with an open mind is often taught hatred of our system
by liberal professors. Students who come with an anti-American
bias find it readily reinforced in the classroom.
So the concept of democracy is already being
presented to peoples of the Arab world on a tilted plane. The
media, including the
Internet, tilts it even further.
After the fall of the Taliban and Al Qaeda
in Afghanistan, Islamic radicals didn’t just go home
and take up a traditional trade. They became Web masters. Gabriel
Weimann, an Israeli communication
professor who studies terrorist Web sites at the United States
Institute of Peace in Washington, told the Christian Science
Monitor that while the military invasion of the former stronghold
was largely successful, many of the terrorists just regrouped
and went online.
“After [Al Qaeda members] were chased from the camps,
they went to the Internet,” Weimann told the Monitor. “They
began adding two [followers] a day, going up to 50, then 100,
Weimann said that when he began to track the Web sites, he
logged 12 sites in his database. Now that number has increased
than 4,000, and it is growing daily. The Monitor article went
on to say that the sites are used to covertly “carry
on a virtual terror war and plan actual attacks.” The
scary thing is that the enemy is using the combination of Internet
anonymity and American law to propagate their message and recruit
worldwide. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
last summer that of 25 main official or terror-related Web
sites it checked, 76 percent were hosted within the United
The Internet is largely unregulated, and as it is against U.S.
law to prosecute those who host servers that offer bandwidth
to those who would kill us, terrorist propaganda can be countered,
for the most part, only by offering other Web sources that
publish the truth.
Traditional media doesn’t help. Mainstream media outlets
like Al Jezerra refer to terrorists as “Freedom Fighters.” I
thought a “Freedom Fighter” was someone who directly
attacked an occupying or oppressive military, not someone who
plants car bombs that indiscriminately kills scores of innocents
or worse, and target children in order to secure international
These are ruthless people who have little or no regard for
human life. The myriad of decapitations on film underscore
of depravity that drives them.
The MEMRI Web site (www.memri.org) recently released dispatches
on two Al Jezerra prime time TV programs that promoted hostility
between Arabs and Israelis, Americans, and other Western nations.
One TV series depicts Israeli agents disguised as United Nations
officials going about refugee camps looking for eyes. They
see a Palestinian child with nice eyes, and if the child is
according to the series, it is whisked out of the camps to
have its eyes cut out and given to Jewish recipients. Excerpts
the script posted on MEMRI suggest that the production is done
in a documentary style. Imagine the horror and hatred engendered
and reinforced in the viewers. The premise, and the effect,
are similar to the old apocryphal myth that Jews take the blood
Gentile victims and mix it into their bread on special days.
Hey, it’s on TV, or the Internet, so it must be real.
Recently, a Saudi Arabian newspaper raised the specter of U.S.
military troops removing the organs of dead Iraqi’s for
sale on the black market. All I can say is these people are
not acquainted with the Marines. Once they “secure the
eliminate the resistance, what is left would be highly unlikely
for transplant purposes, let alone cadaver status.
The big question is, how does the United States combat the
overt lies, propaganda, and bias streaming over the airwaves
Arab media? Of course, we can enforce current legislation and
update it to make it harder for terrorist’s to do business.
But the left just goes nuts when we infringe upon the free
speech of anyone. We could bomb the transmitters of the offending
and put them out of business for awhile, though they could
resort to satellite links. But in my opinion, the best way
lies is give people a glimpse of the truth. Through radio,
TV, and Internet, we need to counter the falsehoods propagated
a fascist media. If fascist sounds strong, look and see who
allies were in World War II. If you are a student, or otherwise,
and want to play a part in this war, then opportunities abound.
Learn Arabic, or take some classes in Arabic studies. And help
tell millions of people what life is really like in America.
I have never, for one moment thought, that as humans, Americans
are any better than any on else. We are a nation of immigrants
for the most part. We are not better. But we are blessed with
freedoms that allow us to explore a diversity of ideas, values,
and actions and pursue those we find most satisfying. It is
a sad fact, but I doubt we can ever enjoy the freedoms we had
9-11. The enemies of freedom will use those very liberties
to destroy us. But America always has been, and hopefully always
will be, a beacon of light in the midst of global turmoil.
always triumphs over evil, even if it takes longer than we’d
like. And freedom is contagious—once tasted, the thirst
for it can never be quenched, not even in death. And if the
Middle East can taste that freedom someday, it will spread.
move into the most important battleground of all, the human
mind. Once it takes seed, there will be hope for us all.
Until then, if you still aren’t sure they hate us, find
a Web site that streams Iranian TV.