'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, November 29, 2004

A Thanksgiving Treat from the Pentagon 

Quietly on the afternoon before Thanksgiving the Pentagon released an oddly reality-based report produced by an advisory panel about the US's failure to convince the Muslim world to support the United States' foreign policy. Here it is as a PDF, and here's an excerpt:

American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies.

o Muslims do not "hate our freedom," but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.

o Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that "freedom is the future of the Middle East" is seen as patronizing, suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old Communist World -- but Muslims do not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.

o Furthermore, in the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. U.S. actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self-determination.

o Therefore, the dramatic narrative since 9/11 has essentially borne out the entire radical Islamist bill of particulars. American actions and the flow of events have elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims. Fighting groups portray themselves as the true defenders of an Ummah (the entire Muslim community) invaded and under attack -- to broad public support.

The Times wrote of the report last Wednesday, but at the time it hadn't been made publicly available.

[Via No Capital]

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