Via U.S. News and World Report, a little postscript to yesterday's FOIA column. So, we're all familiar with the two caricaturish polar views in the "why the terrorists hate us" debate. There's the "no marginal terrorist" theory, on which we're hated pretty much exclusively for being so darn free, and there's not much point contemplating whether any U.S. policies might be unnecessarily swelling the ranks of the other side. And then there's the "terrorism as really-angry picketing" view, on which Al Qaeda just happens to share Noam Chomsky's foreign policy worldview. That in mind, guess the source of this quotation:
Insurgents may publicly cite…alleged "provocations" to justify their actions, but that reflects propaganda, not cause and effect….The attacks will continue regardless….
And then there's the suggestion that detailed information about abuses by U.S. soldiers in Iraq would:
aid the recruitment efforts and other activities of insurgent elements…and increase the likelihood of violence against United States interests, personnel, and citizens worldwide.
The former is from an ACLU filing seeking the release of further images from Abu Ghraib; the latter is Gen. Richard Meyers, opposing their petition. Both arguments have a certain amount of power, but what's interesting here is that in terms of broad ideological affinities, you might well expect the quotations and the quoted to be transposed here. Cases like this suggest, I think, that folks on both sides ultimately recognize full well that the dynamic is a good deal more complicated than the polarized Sharks-Jets face-off that often passes for foreign policy debate might suggest.