Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Muslim Blowback?

It is hard to overstate just how deeply unpopular the United States is in the Muslim world.

A 2008 poll of six majority Muslim countries found that overwhelmingly large portions of the population, ranging from 71 percent in Morocco to 87 percent in Egypt, held unfavorable opinions of the United States. A 2009 poll in Pakistan revealed that 64 percent of the public views the United States as an outright enemy.


The palatable and politically safe answers — for conservatives, that Muslims are inherently violent, and for left-liberals, that only a small minority is violent — have always skirted around one important detail: our own violence.

This is no surprise. The notion that our violence motivates terrorism has always lost out to the notion that terror is absent from our violence. It was George Orwell who observed in 1945 that, "the nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."

But this "remarkable capacity" is not shared by everyone. Civilian deaths and accounts of torture from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine have fueled the radicalization of a minority of Muslims abroad, and it was only a matter of time before it produced the same effect on a minority of Muslims here, too. Continued

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