The Phony Mystery of Why 'They' Hate Us

The explanation is far more political than religious.


Yu Pong/Flickr

What do Barack Obama and Donald Trump have in common? Among other things, they have—or pretend to have—no clue why some Muslims hate us. Trump says (I almost typed believes, but I'm not sure anyone, including Trump, knows what he believes) Muslims should be barred from the United States until "until the country's representatives can figure out what's going on." 

Note that Trump includes himself among those who haven't figured it out, or else he surely would have told us. He either does not know, or does not care, why people are willing to kill Americans.

Let's give these members of the American elite their due: one has to work hard to make a mystery of anti-American (and anti-Western) terrorism emanating from the Middle East. It takes prodigious effort to maintain an air of innocence about San Bernardino and Paris, because no one who claims to be informed can plead ignorance of the long history of U.S. and Western imperialism in the Muslim world. This includes the CIA's subversion of Iranian democracy in 1953; the U.S. government's systematic support of compliant, autocratic, and corrupt Arab monarchies and dictatorships; its empowering of Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims; and its unconditional backing of Israel's brutal anti-Palestinian policies. (The savage 2014 war on Gaza killed many noncombatants.)

In the 10 years before the 9/11 attacks the administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton bombed Iraq while maintaining an embargo, most especially on equipment for the water and sanitation infrastructure the U.S. Air Force had destroyed during the Gulf War. Half a million children died. This was also when U.S. officials promised, then reneged on the promise, to remove U.S. forces from the Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia.

From the air Americans routinely kill noncombatants in Syria and Iraq, most recently this week, when "at least 36 civilians, including 20 children, in a village in eastern Syria" were reportedly killed, according to McClatchy DC. Do Americans notice? Of course not. That's why San Bernardino and Paris can be made to appear so mysterious.

Things like this happen all the time. The U.S. attack on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was especially egregious against this background of war crimes.

The U.S. government has conducted war by remote-controlled drones since 2001 in a variety of places, including Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. Do Americans have a clue what it must be like to live under the drone threat? You know the answer is no. But many Muslims do, and many others can sympathize.

Since the San Bernardino shooters both had roots in Pakistan, it might be worth focusing on the drone war there, part of the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Steve Coll, in his Nov. 24, 2014 New Yorker article "The Unblinking Stare: The Drone War in Pakistan," notes that that country "has absorbed more drone strikes—some four hundred—than any other country." Coll writes, "Armed drones are slow-moving pilotless aircraft equipped with cameras, listening devices, and air-to-ground missiles. They can hover over their targets for hours, transmitting video feed of the scene below, and then strike suddenly." Most of the time, the remote "pilots" do not know whom they are targeting.

Obama has claimed that the drone war kills few noncombatants, but this is rejected by many authoritative sources, including, Coll reports, a team of NYU and Stanford law students who found that "C.I.A.-operated drones were nowhere near as discriminating toward noncombatants as the agency's leaders have claimed." 

The kill estimates vary, but the totals are significant—to the families and friends, and to distant Muslims who see their coreligionists slaughtered while minding their own business.

What turns an angry and anguished Muslim into someone willing to kill Americans indiscriminately? That's a hard question to answer completely. But when violence such as that inflicted by the United States drives a Muslim to the most "radical" form of the faith in search of revenge, the explanation is far more political than religious. If terrorism were happening during peacetime, that might tell another story. But it is not.

It's not "moderate" Muslims who need to take the lead in ending terrorism. It's the U.S. foreign-policy makers, whose daily atrocities make targets of Americans at home.

This piece originally appeared at Richman's "Free Association" blog. 

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  1. What always amazes me is the people who want (others) to fight Muslims because of what Muslims have done to us, yet cannot see that the modern west has been interfering in the middle east at least since they drew arbitrary country borders in 1916. Throw in the CIA overthrowing the Iranian government in 1953(?) and so many other unmerited attacks, and how can anyone not expect them to be just a little pissed off?

    There will be plenty of comments here blasting Sheldon Richman for not kowtowing to the Israel theocracy. They may be the closest to a democratic government in the area, but they are still a theocracy, and they’ve been sucking up my taxes for too long. As far wanting (others) to fight over there, well, fuck you, go fight yourself, donate your money to the cause, but leave mine and everybody else’s alone. You’re just slavers and thieves and control freak nannies with no sense. Fuck off and die.

    1. You’re 100% correct. The borders redrawn largely by the British and French at the close of WWI following the military defeat of the Ottoman Empire after it’s disastrous decision to enter into a multi-front war on the losing side despite having no allies in the conflict provides the most obvious explanation for the motivations of American-born middle class suburban spree shooters of Pakistani ancestry a full century later. HOW THE FUCK CAN THESE SHEEPLE NOT SEE IT?!

      1. I hate to break it to you, Pat, but Pakistan was not part of the Ottoman empire, nor were its borders redrawn by western powers. But Pakistan is a good example here, nonetheless.

        Pakistan contains many of the Muslims from the Asian subcontinent whose leaders lorded it over Northern Hindus for centuries generating lots of hard feelings. In related history, Arab and Mongol Muslims ruled the Middle East for many centuries treating all non Muslims as second-class citizens.

        There are no innocent ethnic groups there.

        1. Or do I need to get my sarcasm meter recalibrated?

          1. Still, there is a kernel of truth here. Placing the antipathy between conservative Islamic culture and Western nations in the context of colonialism is misleading. True, portions of the Islamic world were colonized for ~80 years during the late 19th century/early 20th century. However, nominal Islamic powers had been assaulting the West for 1100 years by that point. ‘Enlightened’ Muslim Spain (with its pogroms and constant political violence), the Ottomans, and the Muslim rulers of Southern Italy were colonial states. The Muslim slave trade raided European Mediterranean countries for hundreds of years. There were thousands of pitched battles and raids instigated by belligerent Islamic powers. Outside of the Crusades and the late 19th century, Europe was on the defensive against powers that identified is Islamic. It is not at all clear how European intervention is ‘responsible’ for Islamism. . .which arose largely in response to political and cultural dynamics in Islamic societies themselves.

            1. The attempt to modernize the state in the Islamic world that began under the latter Ottoman rulers and continued through the Young Turks and Arab nationalist states failed. There is a deep conflict between Islamic culture (which is distinct, analytically, from the religion — though in relaity these two things are intertwined) and classical Western liberalism. Fights that began between reformers and conservatives WITHIN nations has spread beyond those boundaries. Western nations allied with the reformers because we shared similar fundamental values . . . does this make us evil, as the (sjw?) Sheldon Richards claims. The argument that he presents is childish.

              1. Absolutely correct, skeptickle. Childish indeed. But, viewing macro-history is far too simplistic for the blame America crowd that deems maintaining our national interests as nothing but meddling in others affairs. The world is too small for that today and, for better or worse, this is all history in the making. Churchill said history was just “one damn thing after another.” Wars happen and territories get divided and state boundaries get redrawn. That’s life. The question today is: Should the U.S. NOT try to influence the outcome? Or should we sit on our hands while Sharia spreads with the extremist Islamic machine? Suddenly it’s 1938 all over again. However, even Thomas Jefferson waged war against Islamic barbarism when it endangered trade 250 years ago. So, there’s nothing new under the sun, just a complex spectrum of stubborn religious intolerance and revenge-induced blood letting in the region that is as old as the planet. Islam extremism (Sharia) is a barbaric form of fascist totalitarianism cloaked in religious garb and my sense is that it cannot be reformed.

                1. Muslims have always been a problem. Even going back to the time before the crusades. Which were a response to one hundred fifty years of Islamic aggression throughout the Mediterranean and Europe.

              2. I don’t think the West allied itself with reformers and quasi-liberals in the Middle East. Western powers allied themselves with whoever would go along best with their imperial and capitalist aspirations. The establishment of Saudi Arabia is just one example; the Sauds were hardly liberals. In most people’s living memory, that policy has included plenty of shooting, bombing, invasion, occupation, and assistance to hostile states and tribes. In the Middle East, Arab and Muslim hostility toward the West is reasonable and, in a sense, practical, since nothing but war and subjugation to Western interests has been offered.

                1. If you meant Oligarchist occupation, fine, I’d agree. But, Capitalism has YET to be tried for more than a couple of generations anywhere… and nations (people/human beings) actually seem to respond and flourish when capitalism is introduced (just ask any of your friends living in China about this). But to claim that Muslim hostility toward the West is “reasonable” decries your silly politics, if not your juvenile ignorance. I’d love it if the world was advanced enough to exist in a pure state of anarchism, but that’s a pipe dream at least for a few more millennia. Islam, by definition, is at war with civil humanity, enlightenment, and humanitarian progress. And Islam, by definition, is capable neither of reform or moderation. It is a self-declared enemy of civil humanity. It is not so much a religion as it is a form of global domination and fascist totalitarian governance… merely disguised as a religion. Make any excuse you wish for Muslims to be angry with the West… your excuse reveals your political ignorance and immaturity. Islam must be obliterated (along with all other religions).

          2. I think your meter is correct when it’s pegged at 0.00 sarcs

          3. Or do I need to get my sarcasm meter recalibrated?


          4. Yup. It’s definitely due for some servicing.

    2. yet cannot see that the modern west has been interfering in the middle east at least since they drew arbitrary country borders in 1916

      You know another region that couldn’t get its act together and was engaging in genocidal wars until recently? Europe. For centuries, European violence, war, religious intolerance, and xenophobia was far worse than anything in the Middle East today, and its borders were constantly shifting. What we see in the Middle East is the normal state of affairs outside the US and outside US-occupied areas like Europe. And the causes are intrinsic to those cultures and society, and not related to US interference.

      Because US occupation managed to temporarily pacify Europe, American politicians fooled themselves into thinking they were omnipotent. It’s obviously not working. But, at the same time, US intervention is also not the cause of the problems of the Middle East. It is simply convenient for the people of the region to blame their own failures on the US, just like Europeans do and have done.

      The upshot is, the US should indeed stop messing around in the Middle East, including Israel. But don’t kid yourself, the Middle East’s problems won’t go away with a US disengagement, they will actually get worse. And they will still hate us and blame us for their problems, just like many Europeans do, simply for existing and for doing better than they.

      1. Win Bear, Islamic states were declining by the late 17th century and under increasing pressure from the more dynamic, capitalistic, liberal Western nations. With great difficulty, the elites in these societies attempted to adopt the mechanisms and many of the ideas that contributed to Europe’s rise. This project failed largely due to conflict with traditional (and frankly backward and regressive) conservative ideas within those cultures/communities. The US allied with the more liberal elites. Yes, there were economic and geopolitical motivations as well. But we are held guilty of crimes within those countries by association with failed Arab nationalism and liberalism. Are the tactics used by the US in recent (and current) war despicable? Yes. But this is not to blame for the rise of Islamism. The Muslim Brotherhood rose as in response to currents in Egypt and not due to the US. The ideological lines are clear: islamism and the conservative branch of islam that is its seedbed are ideologically opposed to classical liberalism. That is their enemy — it was their enemy in their own nations and now they are acting against it on a larger scale. If you cannot understand this you are a fool.

        1. Win Bear, Islamic states were declining by the late 17th century and under increasing pressure from the more dynamic, capitalistic, liberal Western nations.

          Most of those “dynamic, capitalistic, liberal Western nations” were totalitarian, genocidal, and imperialist until after WWII.

          This project failed largely due to conflict with traditional (and frankly backward and regressive) conservative ideas within those cultures/communities.

          If the Islamic world repeated its own version of Western history of the 18th, 19th, and 20th century, they’d have their own versions of the 30 Years War, Calvinism, mass emigration, the Napoleonic Wars, global imperialism and colonialism, two world wars, and mutually assured nuclear destruction.

          I’m not judging Western history (I think much of that was unavoidable), but given 21st century weapons, we’d all end up dead if the Islamic world recapitulated European history from the 17th century onward. Western history is not a feasible model for Islamic modernization.

          The ideological lines are clear: islamism and the conservative branch of islam that is its seedbed are ideologically opposed to classical liberalism.

          Take it from someone who spent half his life there: Europe is overwhelmingly opposed to classical liberalism.

          1. Yes, I know, the 30 Years War was in the 17th Century. And, of course, Islam has its own version of Calvinism: the Taliban. The point is: the West went through the same crap, and a lot more.

      2. I agree that the situation in the Middle East is normal for humankind. Humans are predators, after all. We strive for what we need and want even to the point of killing. It’s been this way since the mythical Caine and Abel. Trade and some religions are the only thing separating us from our basest instincts, and religion often provides an excuse to return to those inclinations.

        It is trade that reconciled us to our previous enemies like the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, and most recently, China and Vietnam. Trade is the secret to quieting the ongoing strife in the ME. Once they move beyond oil, they will likely settle into a business connection rather than the current adversarial relationship we have now–or maybe not.

        1. Humans are predators, after all.

          Predator refers to how you get your food, not how you interact with your fellow beings.

          We strive for what we need and want even to the point of killing.

          Absolutely not. Almost all people are non-violent and cooperative except when coerced or violently threatened. The way nations get large numbers of people to kill each other requires psychological manipulations that make people believe their lives are threatened. Humans, uniquely, can be manipulated that way, but that doesn’t make us intrinsically violent.

          It is trade that reconciled us to our previous enemies like the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan,

          You can’t “reconcile” with a nation; reconciliation is about emotions and feelings, and countries don’t have those. The UK, Germany, and Japan are currently wealthy, which is why they aren’t fighting us, that’s all. Get different leaders in there and have a large economic downturn, and German politicians might manipulate the German people into attacking the US again.

          Trade is the secret to quieting the ongoing strife in the ME.

          We should certainly engage in trade with the ME, and we should withdraw our military. But, please, spare me the platitudes that “humans are violent” or that “trade will make nations peaceful”. Those beliefs aren’t even wrong, they are utterly missing the point, and they are raising false hopes for quick fixes.

        2. Beyond oil? Beyond oil they have nothing to trade.

          1. They have an abundance of fracking sand….

    3. Glad to see a sensible comment up top.

      1. Ha ha ha

      2. Followed by dozens of comments from people with an actual understanding of history and a working brain.

      3. Yes, pleasantly surprised by the top comment. But here comes Nathaniel Branden’s Head to “educate” us with his Objective spewing of donkey turd nuggets of neocon nincompoopery and assorted squirting of smug-scented Islamophobic effluvia.

        1. “Maybe if I string enough babble together people won’t notice my fellow tards are getting their asses handed to them!”

          I get it: I am a lot smarter than you. No need to make it obvious.

          1. All your comebacks are basically you claiming that you are smarter than everyone else, which is rather paradoxical, if you think about it. I suppose you could claim that intelligence does not entail wit, and I concede there are other forms of intelligence, though they are harder to demonstrate in an online comment section. Perhaps you could post a link to a picture of one of your Lego creations?

            Or perhaps you are good at riddles?
            Q: When is a head not a head?
            (A: When it’s ajar.)

        2. butt

    4. ” Throw in the CIA overthrowing the Iranian government in 1953″

      100% wrong again. The Iranian people overthrew their autocrat. There is no such thing as ‘Israeli theocracy’.

      “As far wanting (others) to fight over there, well, fuck you, go fight yourself, donate your money to the cause, but leave mine and everybody else’s alone. You’re just slavers and thieves and control freak nannies with no sense. Fuck off and die.”

      I love how the Sheldon fanboys are now crying even before their hero gets eviscerated by the commentariat. Get right to the good part.

    5. That’s nice and all, but 9/11 is the date of the battle of vienna, the date that the last caliphate’s efforts to conquer the west finally collapsed. Islamists aren’t freedom fighters, they’re would-be conquerors pursuing a holy version of lebensraum. Any claims to the contrary are just propaganda aimed at gullible Westerners like Richman.

    6. You know which other part of the world had its borders redrawn by western powers? EVERY FUCKING ONE. No suicide bombers coming out of Panama.

    7. “As far wanting (others) to fight over there, well, fuck you, go fight yourself, donate your money to the cause, but leave mine and everybody else’s alone. You’re just slavers and thieves and control freak nannies with no sense. Fuck off and die.”


    8. So, it’s our fault that they hate us so?
      Did you mount that Charter Membership Card when you joined the Blame America First movement?

      1. Fuck Sheldon’s anti-American ass. He should slink off to Canada again. This time never to return.

        1. There you go breaking the 10th Commandment again and coveting your neighbor’s ass.

          1. Congrats. That is a very libertarian view of the 10th commandment.

  2. If only Thomas Jefferson would have removed our imperial stormtroopers from Mecca and stopped supporting those dastardly j00s in 1801…

    1. The Barbary Coast is a helluva long way from Mecca last time I checked the map.

      1. And international communism is a long way from Germany in the 1870s.

  3. Thomas Jefferson found out the problem a long time ago.


    Thomas Jefferson and John Adams reporting to John Jay, re upcoming Barbary Wars lead by Jefferson. Americas first “War on Terror”

    It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once. [2] [3] – Thomas Jefferson

    1. And the response to the Barbary pirates was correct: hit them hard, and then go home. Emphasis on “go home”.

      We had the world with us on 9/12. We could have gone into Afganistan and clobbered al Queada and the Taliban, handed the mess over to NATO or the UN and been done with it. But we had to engage in “nation building”, and 14 years later, the place is still a mess.

      Same thing about Kuwait.

      ‘trade with all, political entanglements with none’ … or words to that effect.

      But now, we’re into it with ISIS/ ISIL/ DEASH (or whatever they object to being called). Oh joy…..

      1. …handed the mess over to NATO or the UN and been done with it.

        The trouble with that, is that without the USA, there is no “NATO or the UN.” As much as our allies complain about US power and unilateral action, for the most part they don’t have a clue about what to do and certainly have nowhere near the capacity to project power that we do,

        Next to “nation building” the most pernicious idea has been that of “regime change.”

        Overthrowing the Taliban has left Afghanistan with an ineffective government filled with kleptocratic functionaries that is not measurably better on issues like liberty, good governance or religious freedom. Furthermore we now face a resurgent Taliban that gains more support by the day as the only logical alternative to a corrupt regime imposed by a foreign power.

        1. “Overthrowing the Taliban has left Afghanistan with an ineffective government filled with kleptocratic functionaries that is not measurably better on issues like liberty, good governance or religious freedom. ”

          So what? That’s still better than the Taliban. They sheltered AQ it would be madness to leave them in charge.

          1. They “are” in fucking charge now you fucking moron. Have you seen how much territory they still control in spite of all the money and lives we ha spent?

            And within two weeks of the withdrawal of US troops they’ll control the whole fucking country.

            Or WTF, do you think we’re just supposed to occupy every fucking country in the world that has a government that does things we don’t like?

            If bombing the shit out of the Taliban wasn’t enough to stop them from sheltering AQ or any other anti-western group the first time, rinse, repeat.

            Regime change (the Taliban, Saddam, Qadaffi,) has not just done no good at all it has exacerbated the situation. And trying to overthrow Assad has just been more of the same.

            Though I really don’t know why I waste my time. You really are an ignorant little shit who seems to have absolutely no appreciation of the consequences of using military force so indiscrimately.

    2. That’s not so different from Christianity, of course. And Christian Europe engaged in war and genocide on a vast scale, both within Europe and outside Europe. “Islam” really isn’t the problem; to the degree that belligerence is related to religion, it’s a problem with all the Abrahamic religions. But the real problems with the Middle East are social, political, educational, and economic, just like they were in Europe. “They hate us” simply because we are doing well and have more liberties.

      1. The end of that comment was sensible, but the beginning of it is faulty. Yes Christian Europe has a history is bloody all other portions of the world, but from these cultures did emerge an impressive set of beliefs (classical liberalism). So pointing to European atrocities 500 years ago, or 1000 years ago, or 10000 years ago clouds the issue. Moral equivalence of this type is childish and tiresome. That said, a large minority of people in the Islamic world (and enclaves in Europe and US) that they reject these values. This is the one area where you cannot ‘live and let live.’ If they will accept freedoms of speech, conscience, religion, etc. then they are not welcome. And there is nothing ‘racist’ or xenophobic about this.

        1. That should read, “If they will NOT accept freedoms of speech, conscience, religion, etc. then they are not welcome. And there is nothing ‘racist’ or xenophobic about this.”

        2. Agreed. The Middle East is still beholden to Honor as a basis for society. They will die or kill for honor. We have adopted a more workable society based on Guilt, or Merit, such that individuals are accountable for their own merit which cannot be obtained by killing another. This came along as a direct result of our Judeo-Christian values. While religion has provided a great deal of cover for terrible deeds in the west, it is also responsible for our current liberalism.

        3. Yes Christian Europe has a history is bloody all other portions of the world, but from these cultures did emerge an impressive set of beliefs (classical liberalism). So pointing to European atrocities 500 years ago, or 1000 years ago

          Your history is a bit off. Europe was murdering millions of Jews in the mid-20th century. France and Britain maintained their colonial empires until well after WWII. Britain is engaging in a religious civil war in Northern Ireland. Germany’s last vestige of liberalism, the FDP, didn’t even make it into parliament anymore, even with their tepid “ordoliberalism”. Most of Europe has some form of state religion. Classical liberalism has never been realized in Europe.

          Moral equivalence of this type is childish and tiresome.

          This has nothing to do with “moral equivalence”. Your idea that somehow “the West” as a whole has been liberal for centuries is simply utter bullshit. The only country in the West that has made any serious attempt to realize classical liberalism has been the United States. And classical liberalism in the US is under attack, not so much from Syrian terrorists (they can only blow people up a few at a time), but far more from European intellectuals.

      2. My friend Bob Blumetti likes to go on about this. He’s Odinist, & well aware of all the persecution by the various Jehovists, though mainly the Xtians. Yet he analogizes our situation today to that of the Europe that had to turn away Islam under Charles Martel: that that was the most pressing threat at the time that had to be dealt with. There’ll always be trouble from some or other Jehovists, but you have to look at things tactically, and right now the problem is with the Moslems, not the Xtians or Jews.

        1. The Muslims were not a threat in 700 AD they were far more enlightened than the Euro-peons. Damn Martel to hell.

          1. So you would want western Europe be I see Islamic culture and be as enligtened as they are today?

            1. I don’t know what would have happened if the caliphate had kept marching past Toures. No one does.

  4. Damn, Sheldon, trying to reach Peak Derp?

    Since you are clearly an imbecile, let me spell it out for you, real slow. I.S.L.A.M. These people do not kill themselves and shout “for the Revolution” they shout “Allah Akbar” just as their brothers have done for centuries. What was started in the 7th Century wasn’t the fault of the US which doesn’t get formed for another thousand years.

    Shorter Richman: I hate Jews and so does the rag-head which makes them good people.

    1. Shorter Richman: I hate Jews and so does the rag-head which makes them good people.

      Fake cries of “BIGOT!”: Not just for progressives anymore!

    2. I don’t understand how people like Sheldon can completely ignore (and justify, or even welcome) the threat that radical Islam poses. He’s basically saying “I know that Islamists SAY they are killing infidels because their Holy book says so, but here’s what they REALLY want.” why can’t we take these people at their word? I get that our actions in the middle east aren’t perfect but they don’t give them a reason to kill unarmed civilians.

      1. But that’s not what they say. They say basically the same things that Sheldon does.

        1. That’s a lie. The ISIS and AQ types are on record for Islamic supremacy. AQ wants southern Spain back. I guess that’s ‘blowback’ for the 1400s campaign.

    3. Shorter version of Marshall Gill: I am too lazy to even do a quick Google search to check whether someone is Jewish before I accuse them of hating Jews. For fuck’s sake, man, save yourself the embarrassment.

      1. Sheldon’s self-loathing precedes him. It is also epic.

  5. Is this Reason or Vox, ’cause I can’t tell.

    1. Reason has gotten really bad. It seems like the DC leadership just wants to be liked in DC and care more about hating Donald Trump and proving how sensitive they are than making strong libertarian cases for things. They probably need to revamp leadership because it has gotten lame and stale.

      1. Tru Dat! But I still like the commentariat.

      2. Stossel is still good. And some of the others. But a growing percentage of the content here is progressive garbage.

        1. This is not a conservative site, but a libertarian one. That means social liberties and being strongly antiwar.

  6. There was a smidgen of US imperialism in Southeast Asia, yet I’m not aware of any Laotians carrying out terrorist attacks. Try again, Sheldon.

  7. You know who else blamed America.

  8. Sheldon, you stupid motherfucker, there is no point in history where the muslims wanted anything other than the death or enslavement of everyone that wasn’t them.

    Islam is nothing more than a rationalization for conquest. It doesn’t matter what they say they are pissed off about today, if you fix that they will be pissed off about something else tomorrow.

    1. Sheldon, you stupid motherfucker, there is no point in history where the muslims wanted anything other than the death or enslavement of everyone that wasn’t them.

      There are millions of Muslims all around the world for whom this is not true. Do you believe that blowing up wedding parties and propping up evil dictators doesn’t in fact drive moderate people to seek vengeance? It just so happens that radical Islam is the only game in town for seeking vengeance.

      1. Remember which came first, Jordan. Yes we are guilty of causing deadly collateral damage, but we would not have been there were it not for the maltreatment and carnage visited by militant Muslims. Personally, I would prefer that we never got involved. Nonetheless, we are not the cause of the violence in the Middle East.

        1. Is this a joke? American intervention in the Middle East massively expanded during the Cold War.

          1. But we did not cause the tribal warring in the Middle East. Before Mohammed the Arab tribes fought among themselves. Come Islam, they turned their war mongering against their neighbors. Once they took most of the Mediterranean, they continued to fight and enslave others. But now you want to blame this strife on the United States that has only existed for a little over 200 years?

            1. No, no. See, Mohamad looked into the future and saw that the US wouldn’t allow the complete destruction of the Jews so Islam started to conquer the world at the point of a sword. It is true that their slaughter of the infidel started over a millinia ago but it is all our fault.

              Yes, the imbecile below actually believes this garbage. Basically “Islam is peaceful except for our horrid actions protecting Jews” and then he tells people how smart he is!

          2. “American intervention in the Middle East massively expanded during the Cold War.”

            You know where else American intervention expanded during the Cold War? EVERYWHERE. No Laotian suicide bombers.

            1. So, during the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese just bent over and took it? No, they fought back when the US was there. Also, do you know that only 2% of all the terrorism in Europe is from muslims?

              1. Also, do you know that only 2% of all the terrorism in Europe is from muslims?

                I still don’t. Your claim hardly makes it true. You got a citation to back up that absurd statistic?

      2. The millions for whom this is not true do not matter.


        The ones for whom it is matter.


        1. The millions for whom it is true do matter, because our actions can drive them to radicalism as well.

          1. Horse Shit.

            We are not driving them anywhere. They are driven to radicalism because that is the basis of the traditional Islamic faith and has been since it’s inception.

          2. Yes, because we all know the little brown people are incapable of agency. If they’re totalitarian radicals, it must be because we made them be so.

          3. “our actions can drive them to radicalism as well.”

            That’s a lie. They aren’t being driven by anything but their evil backwards culture and state sponsors of Islamic terror.

            1. So let them all emigrate to the US?

              1. The ones we don’t have to bomb, yes.

        2. The peaceful majority are irrelevant! They are powerless and thus irrelevant.

      3. As usual, stupid shit from Sheldon.

        Ok, of COURSE we have pissed them off by involving ourselves in the Middle East. But, Sheldon, honey, dearest, are you under the impression that Muslims expanding via the sword is new? Really? Dumb Ass.

        This is the nature of TRADITIONAL ISLAM. Islam is not like Christianity or Buddism. Mohammed, unlike Jesus or Budda, was not just a religious leader. Mohammed did not make statements like “render unto Cesear what is Cesear’s”. Mohammed was the leader of civil government, leader of the military, AND the founder of a religion based on his visions.

        The modern Islamic warlord is walking in Mohammed’s shoes. It is traditionally considered blasphemy to even consider secular government in the Islamic religion. The government, the military, and the religion are one and the same. What exactly do you think they are talking about when they discuss the Caliphate?

        1. We all know that, like everything else in the world, all Muslims do not think the same. That said, Islam spread via the sword, not by martyrs. Islam, did not spread by faith demonstrated against lions in the Roman Colliseum, it spread by killing male infidels (you and me), adopting the infidel women as extra wives, and making more Muslims by breeding.

          These things Sheldon, are historical FACTS. Just once, for a change of pace, why don’t you actually use some logical thought, based on actual facts for one of your articles?

          This kind of crap is what gives libertarians a bad name. We need to BE serious and realistic, to be taken as serious and realistic.

          Yes, I am sure that being bombed by drones is making them hate us more, but it did not start with drones, or G. W. Bush, or the formation of the United States. It not only predates our current issues, it predates the Pilgrims!

          Again I ask Reason, why is this featured here? It is not as if Sheldon’s ignorant rantings get no attention elsewhere. It is not as if his “ideas” are unique, you have heard of the Huffington Post right? Why is nonsense like this given the veneer of libertarianism by Reason publishing it? Do you want to be taken seriously? Apparently not.

      4. There are millions of Muslims all around the world for whom this is not true.

        No. There aren’t. This is a tenet of Islam as central as belief in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is to Christians. The Dar al-Islam must defeat the Dar al-Harb . There is no ‘maybe’ here.

        Everyone must submit to Allah, or submit to Muslim rule, or die. The Quran offers no other course.

        1. The Old Testament is no less radical than the Quran. Muslims are free to decide what Islam means to them, just as Christians are free to do so.

          1. Christians follow the ‘new’ testament, Jordan, that’s kinda the point.

            And I note that you do not deny or refute anything I’ve pointed out.

            1. Some Christians follow the New Testament. And some follow whatever part suits their biases.

              1. This is actually true of Islam as well. Different sects follow different Hadiths.

        2. Who gives a duck what the Koran says? The large majority of Muslims are peaceful people. Full stop.

      5. Blowing up office towers, marathons and Christmas parties also drives moderate people to seek vengeance. Just sayin’.

        1. You mean like John McClane in Die Hard?

    2. “there is no point in history where the muslims wanted anything other than the death or enslavement of everyone that wasn’t them.”

      Wrong. The Caliphate during and before the Crusades tolerated other religions. It was far from ideal but also far from your caricature.

  9. Mohammed is the final prophet, the Koran is the Last Word of God. Kind of supremist isn’t it?

    Thinking this problem wouldn’t exist if they were left alone is a hopeful stretch. Was anyone fucking with the Mongels? Where the native Americans fucking with Europe? People invaded, and other people got invaded. Like the commercial says, it’s what’s people do, often for no other reason than ” you’re not us, and we want more room.”

  10. Those holiday-party-having Californians should’ve stayed out of the middle east

  11. Now that I have read some of the other comments here, I understand why this article is published here.

    This is why libertarian ideas are going nowhere in the larger world. It is not enough to believe in individual liberty, limited government, and personal freedom. We apparently need to deny the entire nature of the world and be completely self defeating as well.

    Read these, and tell me if you think these positions, with the rebuttals provided, are going to get libertarians elected.

    OPEN THE BORDERS COMPLETELY – of course most of the folks coming do not believe in libertarian ideas but are populists and socialists …. and they are coming in too fast to acclimate and adopt our ideals before they begin to vote … and this means they will vote to abolish the very ideals we stand for.

    IT IS RACIST TO EXCLUDE ANYONE FROM COMING HERE – of course, the people coming here as terrorists are not identifiable as a race, but rather an often warlike religion … oh, and are concentrated in those regions that are involved in religious wars …. but no, it is horribly wrong to try to identify them and exclude them … everyone has the right to come here, and to come here right away!

  12. Coll writes, “Armed drones are slow-moving pilotless aircraft equipped with cameras, listening devices, and air-to-ground missiles. They can hover over their targets for hours, transmitting video feed of the scene below, and then strike suddenly.”

    “…listening devices…hover”

    While I sympathize with the many valid critiques of the drone war (civilian casualties, unconstitutionality, etc, etc.), but FFS, at least get the basic facts right. Predator drones are the drone of choice for armed strikes, and they do not have listening devices, as they tend to fly far to high to be effective, and they absolutely do not “hover”. They’re not helicopters. When you get basic shit like that wrong you end up looking like a blithering moron.

  13. Little confused about this part:

    “This was also when U.S. officials promised, then reneged on the promise, to remove U.S. forces from the Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia.”

    Are U.S. forces stationed in Mecca or Medina? I know we have a presence in Saudi Arabia, but are we really occupying “Islamic holy sites?” Or is all of Saudi Arabia considered holy?

    Furthermore, is it correct to say we’re “occupying” Saudi Arabia at all? Aren’t we there with the permission of the government?

    1. Not just permission, request. They asked us to stay.

    2. The entire Arabian Pennisula. Sheldon is taking the views of the Islamic version of Westboro Baptist as something that is legitimate to be upset about our ignoring.

    3. There are no U.S. forces hanging out in Mecca.

      Also, anyone who uses U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia as evidence for their blowback hypothesis is basically saying that al Qaeda somehow gets veto power over peaceful agreements between Western and Middle Eastern nations.

  14. I am always amused when people refer to the ‘long history’ and never seem to be able to get back to Muslims attacking the newly formed US–a nation that had made no formal contact with Islam at all.

    And no one ever goes back far enough to admit that Islam came out of Arabia with conquest on it’s agenda more than a thousand years ago–without ‘the west’ even existing.

    It’s like the whole Israel/Palestine issue. There were Jews in that area long before there were Muslims……anywhere. Because Judaism predates Islam by at least 2000 years.

    But the ‘long histories’ endlessly cited only extend as far back as something, anything that can be blamed on something, anything except Islam.

    1. But the ‘long histories’ endlessly cited only extend as far back as something, anything that can be blamed on something, anything except Islam.

      Typically that something being America. Because everything bad that happens anywhere in the world is our fault, somehow.

  15. Reason’s coverage of Islam related issues could be plucked straight from HuffPo or Salon. The perpetrators of Islamic violence tell us, constantly, that this is a RELIGIOUS JIHAD, but enlightened white progressives in the West know that the silly little brown people don’t know their own true motivations. Their true motivations are shit that white progressives lose sleep over, like geopolitics. Ignore the fact that Muslims in the Mid East, South East Asia, Central Asia, Russia, Europe, India, Africa, etc. are all participating in religious violence – they must all be tiffed about Gaza…

  16. One would think that Richman would prefer a world where the Ottoman Empire still ruled half the Mediterrean including the Balkan Pennisula and was occasionally besieging Vienna. The history here did not start in 1918 or whenever Richman thinks the Islamic Middle East started getting a raw deal.

    I seem to remember the 2p14 Gaza conflict having something to do with the Has and lobbing missiles indiscriminately at Israel and than their brave fighters hiding behind their civilians skirts

  17. Wahabbism, the ideology followed by Al Qaeda and similar groups, was founded in the late 18th century. Saying they hate us for our freedoms is somewhat accurate, as their ideology hates that we allow things they consider immoral (gays, promiscuity, etc), but doesn’t tell the whole story. What Richman fails to understand is the fundamentalist Islam is a religion AND a political ideology in one. Since the First Caliphate, religious and political authority have been joined together. Have US actions played a part in this situation? Of course. But acting like blowback is the only real reason for Islamist terrorism not only misses the larger context, it is just plain moronic.

    1. In terms of body count, terrorism has pretty much been a failure. The terrorist nations are much more adept at killing their own.

  18. We need to take their claims about their motivations as fact, unless deception, or mental illness can be proven. ISIS claims it is establishing a caliphate in the name of their religion. I tend to believe them. I suspect the Syrian Christian community, Yazidis would have a hard time taking seriously the claim that ISIS is just retaliating against the West for American war crimes.

  19. I don’t think this is very accurate — this is a religious problem. Putting aside the obvious part that all Muslims and Muslim sects are different and the majority of global Muslims probably hold views compatible or at least tolerable of one or more Western democracies, if you’ve remotely studied the history of Islam, it is patently obvious just how important violence is to it (also putting aside that Christianity was quite violent for a long time). The religion was formed and grew based on conquest and forced conversion. The various heirs to Mohammed fought one another violently. That is why there are Sunnis and Shia and why they hate each other. The Ottoman’s were incredibly violent even to their own princes. They kept them locked up and killed them when one was elevated. When the French under Napoleon were in Egypt, their solders would get kidnapped and raped. Many different Islamic constituencies love them some man on man rape. This is not a healthy sign. Much of the (made up) Hadiths justify just about anything. The political branches have accepted violence and support of terrorism into the 21st century. The polls taken of various groups of Muslims in the Middle East anyway, reflect a lot more intolerant and violence-loving view of the world than any other group. I’m sure 12th Century Holy Roman Empire had some similar views if asked but those changed over time. The problem is that there is a big chunk of Islam that isn’t changing.

  20. Kind of busy at home sorry in advance for my haste in reading and replying…. I just want to point out that America and its allies are a helluva lot more benevolent than the countries in the Middle East. I’m not saying America is perfect, but we go WAY out of our way to avoid civilian casualties whereas our enemy uses human beings as human shields. We give aid to enemy combatants, we *attempt* to help the local populace. I don’t want to hear us equivocated to our enemy, because 1) I was there (several times) and 2) I live in a little place called reality. It seems Sheldon has a perpetual axe to grind. For all of America’s missteps, what is going on over there is far worse, and at least we can criticize our government and military.

  21. another article half filled with falsehoods. Note I said half not all but if you want people to take you seriously you have to quite the revisionist lies.

  22. All of the above comments have some validity but none have mentioned that it was the zionists who started all this terrorism in the first place. And now as long as Israel exists it serves as a shining example that terrorism can win. They had the Irgun, The Stern gang and the Haganah long before there ever was any Al-Fattah, Hezbollah or Hamas. Couple this with our foreign policy where we sell weapons to Israel based on their use for defense but then those weapons are used for offense and we say nothing. We sanctioned Pakistan when they developed an Atom bomb but looked the other way when Israel did as well. If Israel can retake arab land based on a thousand year old claim of prior ownership why then could not Iraq retake Kuwait on the same precedent? It is just like the native americans said it was: The white man speak with forked tongue.”

    1. And see? Here is stupidity incarnate.

      Did ‘zionists’ include passages about killing Jews in the Quran?

      What? No? Oh. Then shut the fuck up.

      1. Because Zionist Jews taking over Islamic lands by force has nothing to do with Islamic people wanting to kill the occupying Zionist Jews?!!

        I don’t dispute the violence inherent in the Quran. No one here does. But Zionists are the ones who decided to occupy literally the most hostile place for them on the globe. What the hell did they expect?

        1. Except for the whole “buying the land” thing. You are aware, I hope, that that’s how Jewish people wound up settling Israel.

          Your reasoning here would be something akin to Massachusetts and Vermont attacking New Hampshire if the Free State project were ever to be successful.

          1. Bill It would make sense if New Hampshire was blowing up buildings in order to form their Free State Project. It works like this; A guy comes to you and says” my house has burned down can I stay with you? You say sure I have extra room out back that I can sell you. Then one day you come home from work and find that the guy has decided to claim the room and half your house as his. You go to your neighbor and ask him if he will help you evict this guy and he says OK. Look at the security wall the same way. If your dog kept digging up the neighbors yard and your neighbor says” I am going to put up a fence to keep your dog out of my yard” And then he puts the fence 20 feet on your property. How would you like that? This really isn’t all that hard to understand. If anyone would be doing that sort of thing here in the US he would have a range war on his hands.

            1. Actually, it works a little differently than you’re suggesting. A more apt assessment would be I sold him the land out back and then pulled out a gun to chase him off after he paid me for the land I sold him.

              And then I bitch piss and moan when he beats the shit out of me.

              1. Yes you decide to chase him off after he keeps bombing your house.

                1. No he’s bombing your house because you tried to drive him into the ocean.

                  1. No. That is what the zionists always try to sell you but it was the other way around. Before zionism all the people in the middle east got along with each other fairly well. They would even attend each others festivals. With the advent of the zionists in the late 1890’s friction started to develop between the people because they were pushing for the zionist state. Go study history some more.

      2. So because of a passage in the Quoran everything the zionists did was OK? That is just as stupid as the muslims believing It.

  23. I think it all started when we betrayed the Arabs after WWII. We promised them an Arab state for their help against Hitler. Then when the war was over we gave it to the Jews instead, their mortal enemies. Not only that but we then proceeded to implant dictators so that we could rape their land of it’s natural resources for the next 80 years. I’d be a little pissed too.

    1. How many Arab states did the Arbs need?

      Also, Trans-Jordan was the Arab state in the former Palestinian Mandate.

    2. If we’ve been raping their lands for all these years, why are we paying them for oil?

    3. And, regarding that help against Hitler, you might want to try looking up Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

    4. Some major history derp going on in Albion’s comment

  24. Ah, a Sheldon Richman original, many words to state the point “Look at me, Reason’s token liberal they keep around in order to have something to point at when people accuse them of being too similar to Republicans”

    His projection about the feelings, thoughts, and motives of the “anti-Western terrorism emanating from the Middle East” would be greatly aided by ANY of the groups he’s lumping together actually agreeing with him. I don’t see ISIS demanding the beheading of Westerners or encouraging of lone wolf attacks because of drone operations in Pakistan. Maybe during the murder of civilians at a rock concert they were trying to explain the intricacies of the U.S. drone policy causing tensions in Yemen, but it must have gotten drowned out by the fanatical screaming of “Allahu Akbar”. I’d be stunned if any of the terrorists have ever heard or care at all about the issues Sheldon is saying motivates them.

    “What turns an angry and anguished Muslim into someone willing to kill Americans indiscriminately? That’s a hard question to answer completely.”

    Not really, that first sentence contains the answer to the second. I don’t think there’s much “turning” but rather it’s just that angry, anguished Muslims ARE willing to kill Americans indiscriminately. Pretending it’s more political than religious is ignorant both of politics and religion, and the fact that in most Islamic countries, the divide doesn’t exist. Too snarky to post the definition of “theocracy”?

    1. He’s not the “token liberal”, he’s just representative of Rothbard’s flavor of libertarian thinking. So he gets to write mostly about whatever Rothbard would say to most piss off other libertarian thinkers, which usually meant to blame the US gov’t for everything, including the Cold War & now Islamic terror.

  25. I’m surprised by people drawing equivalence between Islamic empires in the past to today. Yes, there were Islamic empires that sought to increase their territory in past centuries, just as many world powers and empires sought to increase their territories. The Roman Empire anyone? The Mongol Empire? The Spanish and British Empries? But how many countries today that are largely Muslims are interested in increasing their territory? The vast majority of citizens (and their governments) in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Jordan, Qatar, etc. are not interested in spreading Islam militarily throughout the world. This is a problem with terrorist groups that have fantasies of a worldwide caliphate. Drawing parallels between predominantly Muslim countries to Islamic empires centuries ago is nonsensical and bizarre. Again, the problem is the terrorist groups.

    1. True, but ISIS wants to be that old Islamic empire. Further, states that sponsor Islamic terror-Iran and SA-are the primary reason we have this problem.

      1. Right, terrorist groups fantasize about a worldwide caliphate, as I said. I don’t believe the goals of Iran and Saudi Arabia’s governments is to include a worldwide caliphate when they fund radical and terrorist groups, though it does cause serious problems.

        1. Iran certainly favors dominance by a modern Shi’ite incarnation of the Persian Empire. SA’s government is riven with Wahhabist and other evils and I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few liked a global caliphate. But in the main you are right.

  26. The article is obviously not worth reading because the hypothesis held by Richman and his fellow peacenazis is unfalsifiable. Therefore it’s not a hypothesis, it’s a religious belief.

    1. Neocon intervention on the other hand has been a grandiose failure. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that.

      1. Thankfully the dichotomy is false.

  27. Sheldon Richman is the Adam Lanza of Reason. Or to put it succinctly…he’s a dumbfuck.

    1. Sheldon holds a PHD in Dumbfuckedness. True fact.

  28. Some of these comments are actually kind of insightful.

  29. If Mexico started chasing narcos into California, New Mexico and Texas with drones but was bombing weddings and playgrounds instead, I wonder how many conservatives would be quick to chalk that up to collateral damage, as they so readily do when we do it in Pakistan. ?\_(?)_/?

    1. Very stupid comment. No surprise. Mexico’s slaughter comes from within, but if it didn’t and bombing America were necessary to protect the rights of its citizens, then I’d totes put that up to collateral damage. I’m not even a conservative.

  30. Just had to stop in to check. Yes, Richman’s still an idiot, but at least that seems to be generally recognized.

  31. The young people involved in ISIS or the Arab Spring were born close to the 90’s. The Iranian revolution and western imperialism is but a distant memory.

    They hate us because of radical Islam’s influence and perennial instability of the ME. It’s that simple. Asians are notorious for holding historical grudges against the west (and China and Japan) and global conflict laid waste to their lands, but they do not turn to terrorism. Most of them opened their eyes to the modern world decades ago and produced at least semi functioning governments that addresses the bare necessities of their people. We have no need send drones in that region or worry about terrorist psuedo nation states taking roots there.

    Why did Jihadists kill Charlie Hebdo artists? Because they resented the French headdress ban? No, because the magazine caricatured Mohammed. That’s all they need. I keep saying this here, but radical Islam is not a direct result of specific policy. If a random redneck ran over refugees with his truck, they’ll declare that “this is war against Islam”. Their objective is global caliphate and islamization of the world.

  32. Richman is trying to exculpate murderers. Even if some of what he says, namely, that this is all “blowback,’ were true, mowing down a bunch of civilians in Paris and California just cannot be justified. These were indiscriminate massacres and those who perpetrated them are barbarians, without any sense of morality. But when you are in the grip of a phony ideology I supposed such niceties are of no consequence.

    1. There’s no justification going on. Explanation is not justification. Sheldon is not saying he’s cool with terrorism. He’s looking at a way of making it stop. Senseless interventions in affairs that are none of the West’s business is a good start.

      1. He’s looking at a way of making it stop shoehorning his bullshit narrative into it.

        ” Senseless interventions in affairs that are none of the West’s business is a good start.”

        True. We need sensible interventions. Ending state sponsors of terrorism would be a good start and finish.

  33. “…far more political than religious…”
    Which is understandable since Islam is more of a Socio-Political System operating beneath a veneer of religion, not too dissimilar from Marxism-Leninism.

  34. Sheldon’s changing the facts to fit the theory.

  35. I don’t give a shit why they hate us. The goal shouldn’t be to make a bunch of death cult barbarians love us. Fuck them! Our citizens* and our government** simply can’t tell the difference between the good ones and bad ones, so sorry good ones (who believe the same fucked up shit as the bad ones but just don’t decapitate people), you can’t come in either. Get your own shit together, get civilized and then we’ll talk. Until then, we’ll do what is in our interests.

    *Ask the people in San Bernardino who threw those killers a baby shower if they can tell the difference. Oops. You can’t. They’re fucking dead. Ask the ticket agents and airport security who let the 9-11 hijackers on those planes. Ask people who knew the Tsarnaev brothers.

    **Ask the government officials who allowed all of these fucking terrorists into our country. Oh, wait. They won’t talk since they got their promotions.

  36. Islam is a totalitarian ideology, cloaked in robes of religion to present itself as honorable to an unsuspecting world. We have heard imams (Muslim clerics) who describe Islam as: “The Religion of Peace.” Islam is in truth a demonically influenced regime of warlords, whose goal is world dominance.

    The word Islam means submission. In this article I will take passages straight from the Qur’an which clearly show that Islam has nothing to do with peace. It has everything to do with beheading, raping, pillaging, and dominating the entire world. To those who practice Islam and are jihadists (the Qur’an commands this) their god Allah promises great rewards awaiting those who give their lives while fighting infidels.

    Who are the infidels? This term means anyone who does not believe the words of their prophet, Muhammad. In fact, the Muslims in name only are hated by the Muslims who are obedient to the words in the Qur’an. Are you beginning to understand why the so-called moderate Muslims do not speak out against the terror? They are fearful for their own lives!

    1. Here is an example of a command from their false god:

      Quran (2:191-193) ? “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing?but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun [the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.].”

      Muslim jihadists must obey the words of their book. They fear for their own lives if they do not live as terrorists, because Allah has told them in their book that they should be killed for not obeying. In fact, doubting Allah in the mind of a Muslim is terrible thing. We wonder how they can be so brutal and merciless. It’s because they must show their god that they believe him, and that they will bring terror against all infidels and slay them if they do not convert to Islam.

      1. Quran (2:216) ? “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” (Here we see Allah proclaiming to his subjects that violence is virtuous. It even states that some may find it repulsive, but they must know that their god knows what is good for them.)

        I believe that Allah is actually Satan. He fights primarily against Jews and Christians. He commands submission from his followers. Jesus is spoken of in the Qur’an, but it’s not the Jesus we know from the Word of God. Jesus ? called Isa, is merely a prophet. It is emphasized that He is not the Son of God. On the roof of the mosque on the Temple Mount are inscribed these Arabic words: “God has no son.” That sounds demonic to me.

        Quran (3:56) ? “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

        1. The Quran is a poorly written piece of bad fiction with a legion of cult fans. Go see the play ‘The Book of Mormon.’ Same story. Different place.
          Islam like every religion reinvents itself continuously. If believers wanna believe let them. They’ll change or become obsolete.

  37. Radical Islam is a much tinier threat than it is being made out to be. The IRA eventually died. The Weather Underground. Etc.
    globalization is handing Radical Islam its ass.
    It would die off sooner, if we paid less attention to it. I personally give no thought to being killed by a terrorist on any given day. It’s a seriously minuscule problem for me.

    1. We need to import more of these death cultists. The threat is no where near big enough.

    2. “It would die off sooner, if we paid less attention to it. ”

      Hope projected as fact.

      “Radical Islam is a much tinier threat than it is being made out to be. The IRA eventually died. ”

      False equivalence between ideological movement with millions of backers to a nationalistic terror organization.

      1. Meanwhile, we voluntarists are caught between Billions of worldwide supporters of institutionalized violence, i.e., govt., statists who want to sacrifice us, themselves, and everyone for the “common good”.

      2. That is actually……..really, really accurate.

  38. Maybe we should just give them back Al-Andalus as reparations.

  39. I wonder if Richman has ever read the Koran and the Hadiths that have been used as justification to kill millions upon millions long before there was a USA or even a modern day Europe. Islam is a cult, founded by a pedophile, which is doing nothing different than they have done since “The Prophet” got on his magic carpet and flew through the sky. It is, and has always been, the antithesis of anything taken for granted by Westerners like Richman.
    Luckily for Richman, brave people in 732 stood up and ended the conquering hordes in France, otherwise he would not be able to write such nonsense.
    i suggest he go and walk down the main street in Mecca and talk about his ideas. Oh, wait. He can’t go since he has not submitted to Allah.

    1. “Luckily for Richman, brave people in 732 stood up and ended the conquering hordes in France, otherwise he would not be able to write such nonsense.”

      Those ‘conquering hordes’ were actually much more civilized than the scum that stopped them at Tours.

    2. Before the hordes came to Europe, the hordes of Crusaders went on a murder/looting rampage for centuries. After the royal coffers were filled with heretic loot and the populace weakened by war, the blowback began. “Brave people” fought the invaders of their homeland because their backs were against the wall, not for free speech, or Christen values. There is no “good guys – bad guys” in all these conflicts, just bad guys fighting bad guys, e.g., no side that supported or even had a concept of rights.

      1. you might want to study some history before you post such nonsense. The Crusades came centuries after the Arabs invaded Spain and southern France and were a response to continued attempts to invade Europe from the East.

  40. I agree that 911 was a false flag. But I find it hard to believe all terrorist attacks are false flags. Also, I find it hard to understand why there are not many more attacks after all the decades the US Empire + allies have murdered, destroyed infrastructure, and supported dictators. If a person has lost everything dear to them, is it so hard to imagine them striking back with whatever they have left?

    The mystery is not Why?, but why not more? Only those who are not honest enough to accept responsibility for the actions of the govt. they support are blind to the blowback.

  41. As much as I love reading reason and appreciate that there are a lot of really interesting takes that make me consider and sometimes adjust my opinion, Richman just drags the site down. It’s like having Chuck Johnson published in The New Yorker.

    Sure Sheldon, American meddling in Arab affairs completely explains why they hate us. Just like it explains the Madrid train bombings. Bali too.

    And the constant US bombing of morocco is driving second generation French immigrants to shoot up night clubs.

    It’s just a lazy, dashed off column that does nothing but reinforce the opinion of folks who, by default, think that U.S. actions have a direct and exact cause/effect with respect to all Mid East violence.

    I never fail to regret reading one of his columns.

  42. They hate us primarily out of jealousy of our wealth and freedoms (they call it ‘hedonism of the infidel’) but I agree, we manipulate that hatred and meddle in their affairs, which only makes it worse. It’s like two kids fighting in the back seat complaining “he started it! no she started it!” Any attempt to get to the bottom of it will be pointless. You just have to stop it and get the kids focused on something more constructive. Also from what little I’ve seen of Richman, he’s a real pot-stirrer.

    1. If you stir the pot too much, the good THC crystals flake off.

    2. No they don’t. The San Bernadino killers had a better life than probably 70% of most Americans. And many terrorists are middle class or rich.

      They don’t want our lifestyle. They want an Islamic one and they want to force that Islamic lifestyle on the rest of the world.

  43. Sheldon I hope you read my screed and reconsider a few of your positions. This will be a multi post as I will address many of your points. For the tl;dr crowd: Sheldon is wrong, is a master of projection, is ignorant of what he is writing about , and basically believes the world was created 3-400 years ago.

    1. First, I want to give credit to whoever linked that fantastic Intel brief by the marines in another thread. Using that and my own knowledge from 8 years in Caesar’s legions I can definitively say that Sheldon has no clue what he is talking about. His theories fail to explain why thousands of people have joined the jihadis from places the US has never bombed or colonized and neither has Europe. His theory can’t explain why they are so internally focused and attack us as a secondary target.

      1. If his theory were true then why does Isis want to destroy the Kaaba and the shia strain of Islam. Why is Isis symbolically retracing Mohammed’s steps when Mohamed never was at war with the west? Isis wasn’t formed in response to us incursions into the middle east. It was formed before the second Iraq War and evolved to what it is now. Their stated goals are clear and no amount of projection can change them.

        1. They don’t want your 9-5 job and a white picket fence. You may not understand this but money and wealth and our sense of stability are not universal values beloved by everyone. We are attacked to poke us in the eye and for PR points. It’s a way to say “Ha, look at how strong we are. We can attack the US and they can’t stop us”. It helps them recruit.

          I will concede that we do help them recruit by our actions but that doesn’t explain the thousands that join from Europe and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, etc.

          The world didn’t start with imperialism Sheldon. People have been conquering and plundering since we learned how. The Muslim’s are no exception.

          1. Why do the Arabs not hate the turks if we believe they seek revenge for past harm? The Turk has oppressed the Arab far worse than we have. Yet they join forces. Why attack France which hasn’t ruled over them for half a century and didn’t join us in Iraq?

            Your theory is weak Mr richman and needs to be rethought with less emotion, more critical thinking and you need to learn geology so you know the earth is older than the 17th century.

            1. I might add that while you are so worried about figuring out why you are hated perhaps you could ponder this tidbit.

              Perhaps you are hated because you are not a Muslim. By your own admission, Allah is not real, Mohammed is not a prophet and never spoke to Gabriel. None of that is real and is all Hocus pocus superstition. You think their entire belief is bullhorn or obviously you would be a Muslim too. Think of that the next time you are worried about offending them or why they hate you

        2. For the same reasons protestants tried to exterminate catholics and vice-versa? And for the same reasons protestants, catholics and mohammedans have tried to exterminate all jews?

  44. I think the best rebuttal to Mr. Ritchmans hypothesis that Western Foreign Policy is to blame for radical Islamism is Sam Harris, this link to the unedited Salon interview lays out his case against Islam:


  45. “We” are not “The Government” and have not been in all my lifetime (60 years). Our government does not ask our opinion, or even inform us, before they unseat a foreign leader or otherwise destabilize a government. We usually find these things out long after the fact, if at all. So before you throw it in our face that “we deserve it” I need to ask you: who’s side are you on?
    The American people are not screwing the Muslims, we certainly don’t deserve to be punished for the actions of our rouge government. Our government abuses their own people almost as much.
    My warning to Muslims: if you keep attacking innocent Americans, we will demand our government extract revenge in blood, and if they won’t do it, the American people have a history of taking matters into their on hands. And it won’t be pretty.
    Note: Do to the ammunition shortage, there will be no warning shots.

    1. I’m gonna haveta go with Mr Constitution on this one. It appears to me US government meddling brought most of this on “us”. The Milwaukee Journal of 12/21/1927 reports a Syrian woman died in childbirth because Mohammedans forbad male doctors to treat her (and also forbad female doctors). This is so much like the Tea Party prohibitionists and birth-forcer Republicans that I am thankful American televangelists and mohammedan saracens don’t join forces to behead and blow us all up. I don’t really care what they’re fighting about, but am awfully damn glad they are fighting each other.

  46. Yeah, there sure are lots of Serbian terorist attacks in retaliation for the US bombing campaign under Clinton. And the North Vietnamese are notorious for suicide bombings because the UD dropped napalm on them a couple of generations ago. Don’t get me started on the Japanese paramilitary attacks, shouting “the emperor is great!” (“Emperoru akbaru” or something) because the US dropped atomic bombs on them and put their ethnic brothers in concentration camps. /sarcasm
    It’s as if the only group doing these things is grasping for past grievances and justifications to satisfy its bloodlust and dreams of world conquest.

  47. Sheldon: Long history of western imperialism? News flash … they hated the west long before the “long history of western imperialism”. By comparison, the long history of western imperialism actually looks pretty brief by comparison. Muhammad was born in 570, and by 732 invading armies were stopped in France. Invading armies from another direction first reached the gates of Vienna in 1529.

    The only thing I can agree with Sheldon Richman is that it is [partly] political, but only under the unified political / ideological banner where Islam has been trying to wrestle control of Europe for the last 1500 years. The past few centuries are nothing but anecdotal to the origins of “Why they Hate Us”. I agree with Sheldon that the reason is not a mystery, but will not be found in the relationship with the west since the military decline of Islam for [only] the last few centuries. The non-mysterios reason is because they are ideologically TAUGHT to hate non-believers, especially Christians and Jews (which have been the recipient of special teachings since the actual days of Muhammad).

    1. A more pertinent question is “why has the jihad re-emerged in relatively recent times?” A non-military resurgence of the Islamic world in just the last 100 years has been fueled by fossil fuel wealth. Immigration spreading demographic influence have expanded Islam in modern times better than the sword. The Arab Spring is a recognition by the Islamic World that Islam today has the potential to eventually fulfill the goal of the past 15 centuries from within. The caliphate is re-emerging again (suspended only in 1925) as it is expected to eventually welcome all the nations that it had failed to conqueror militarily.

      So the pertinent question remains, “why has the jihad re-emerged”? Why bother if the results are already destined via demographic trends? Most all European nations are already targetted to have Muslim majorities within the coming century (some within the current generation). I don’t have the answer. It may simply be that some are impatient. I think it poses significant risk should it cross a line that causes other nations to defend against demographic creep.

      I’m not smart enough to know the answer, but I am smart enough to know that the answer isn’t in the last couple centuries as Sheldon Richman seems to think.

      1. Because the West has started hating itself, that’s why. For the last 50 years we’ve been doing nothing but self-loathing

        At one time much of the Muslim world wanted to be like the West. Why? Because were seen to be strong. We had won WW1, we had all sorts of new technology and so forth.

        But starting in the 1960s with the rise of the left, the West started hating itself.

  48. Really? I mean I see no mention of the fact that they blow themselves up to kill innocent people or that the two cultures are polar opposites.

    Their treatment of Women, gays, adulterers, blasphemers or apostates should give maybe make you realize this…

  49. As a libertarian, I find the thought of being included in a “we” that includes Sheldon problematic. But I get the impression he can at least rattle off the names of a few wars that did not kill “many” noncombatants. Lessee… there’s LBJ’s War on Poverty… and… er… um… somebody help out here…

  50. I remember encountering a joke in a Reader’s Digest many decades ago about a couple of siblings who were fighting. When their mother asked them what happened, one of the kids said, “It all started when he hit me back”.

    Sums up most world history pretty well, I think.

  51. Richman is a buffoon.

    Richman obviously has zero understanding of the inherently violent and oppressive nature of Islam and it’s global totalitarian ambition, yet thinks he can comment on its motivations.

    Typical Leftist.

  52. We’ve been at war with Islam for 1,400 years, and they started it. Why this fact escapes many libertarians is a mystery. In any case, as long as muslims are being killed, I don’t see a problem.

  53. Like a good Prog, Richman simply projects Prog grievances on cultures around the world. He can’t quite conceive that muslims might have motivations that aren’t all about us, or that are identical to his own.

    Sure, the Ummah has been rather ticked off about western imperialism, but only because it stifled Islamic imperialism. They’ve been imperialists for a thousand years before the US existed. They hate anyone not under their thumb, and will likely continue to do so for a long, long time.

    1. “or that are aren’t identical to his own”

  54. If you don’t think most Muslims are bastards, check out these stats:
    Pew 2003 – 59% of Indonesians/56% Jordanians/54% Nigerian Muslims/ support Osama bin Laden
    Gallup – 51% of Pakistanis were grieved bin Laden’s death
    al Jazzera 2015 – 81% of Respondents support ISIS
    ICM Mirror Poll – 1.5M British Muslims support ISIS *about 50%*
    World Public Opinion Organization – 88% of Egypt supports Al Queda end goals

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