Is Perception More Important Than
Is Perception More Important Than Reality?: People who anti-American often ask, “Why don’t you Americans ask yourself why the terrorists hate you?” Well a lot of people hate us and yet never launch terrorist attacks against Americans. If “hate” was the only real motivator, then we’d have college professors, Frenchmen, and Canadians who’ve seen too many Molson beer ads blowing themselves up in pizza parlors across America.
A more relevant question would be, “Why do the terrorists think America in particular, and the West in general is so stupid and weak that we’ll allow terrorism to work against us?” Could it be because we tend to under react to terrorism when it happens? Before 9/11 we might have launched a cruise missile here and there while making a few arrests, but other than Reagan’s bombing of Gaddafi’s palace, when did we ever seriously do anything about terrorism? We didn’t, we sort of shrugged off the attacks and then went back to largely ignoring the terrorists.
There are other things to consider as well. The Soviet Union’s defeat in Afghanistan made the Islamic radicals believe they could beat the US as well. Moreover, while our military looked incredible in the Gulf War, we didn’t have the heart to finish the job. Saddam Hussein’s rule in Iraq is nothing but a big reminder that you can fight the world’s lone remaining super power and walk away unscathed. Even Israel has contributed to the belief that the West is weak. Here they are fighting a ragtag bunch of Palestinians and they don’t have the will to take care of the problem. When Jordan had the sort of issues with Israel is having now with Arafat, they engaged in open warfare against the PLO until they got them under control. When the Palestinians picked the wrong side in the Gulf War, the Kuwaitis simply expelled all of them from the country. Neither one of these nations has 1/20th of Israel’s military power but, they were able to handle the situation and Israeli isn’t. What does that say about Western Culture’s ability to deal with a threat? You may say it means we’re more moral but they would probably say we’re dumber & weaker than them because we’re not willing to do what it takes to win. Let’s hope that GWB stays true to the “Bush Doctrine” or they may prove to be right…