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It’s the Occupation, Stupid

U.S. military occupations are causing terrorism

Glenn Greenwald, citing the work of University of Chicago scholar Robert Pape, describes how it is the United States’ occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as America’s support for tyrannies in the Middle East that have led to an upsurge of terrorism. This flies in the face of the proclamations made by pseudo-scholar Robert Spencer and co., who endlessly claim that terrorism is due to Muslim fanatics following Islamic texts and teachings. The obvious evidence staring these bigots in the face is apparently not enough, even when a Muslim extremist, like Faisal Shahzad, says things like “Muslims must defend themselves from ‘foreign infidel forces,'” who have invaded their countries. No, it is much easier (and profitable) to just blame a whole religion for the acts of a few of its misguided followers.

They hate us for our occupations (Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald)

In 2004, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld commissioned a task force to study what causes Terrorism, and it concluded that “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies”:  specifically,“American direct intervention in the Muslim world” through our “one sided support in favor of Israel”; support for Islamic tyrannies in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia; and, most of all, “the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan” (the full report is here).  Now, a new, comprehensive study from Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor and former Air Force lecturer, substantiates what is (a) already bleedingly obvious and (b) known to the U.S. Government for many years:  namely, that the prime cause of suicide bombings is not Hatred of Our Freedoms or Inherent Violence in Islamic Culture or a Desire for Worldwide Sharia Rule by Caliphate, but rather.  . . . foreign military occupations.  As summarized by Politico‘s Laura Rozen:

Pape. . . will present findings on Capitol Hill Tuesday that argue that the majority of suicide terrorism around the world since 1980 has had a common cause: military occupation.

Pape and his team of researchers draw on data produced by a six-year study of suicide terrorist attacks around the world that was partially funded by the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. They have compiled the terrorism statistics in a publicly available database comprised of some 10,000 records on some 2,200 suicide terrorism attacks, dating back to the first suicide terrorism attack of modern times – the 1983 truck bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 U.S. Marines.

“We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns, … and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100% of the terrorist campaign,” Pape said in an interview last week on his findings.

Pape said there has been a dramatic spike in suicide bombings in Afghanistan since U.S. forces began to expand their presence to the south and east of the country in 2006. . . . Deaths due to suicide attacks in Afghanistan have gone up by a third in the year since President Obama added another 30,000 U.S. troops. “It is not making it any better,” Pape said.

Pape believes his findings have important implications even for countries where the U.S. does not have a significant direct military presence, but is perceived by the population to be indirectly occupying.

For instance, across the border from Afghanistan, suicide terrorism exploded in Pakistan in 2006 as the U.S. put pressure on then Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf “to divert 100,000 Pakistani army troops from their [perceived] main threat [India] to western Pakistan,” Pape said.

Imagine that.  Isn’t Muslim culture just so bizarre, primitive, and inscrutable?  As strange as it is, they actually seem to dislike it when foreign militaries bomb, invade and occupy their countries, and Western powers interfere in their internal affairs by overthrowing and covertly manipulating their governments,imposing sanctions that kill hundreds of thousands of Muslim children, and arming their enemies.  Therefore (of course), the solution to Terrorism is to interfere more in their countries by continuing to occupy, bomb, invade, assassinate, lawlessly imprison and control them, because that’s the only way we can Stay Safe.  There are people over there who are angry at us for what we’re doing in their world, so we need to do much more of it to eradicate the anger.  That’s the core logic of the War on Terror.  How is that working out?

* * * * *

Akbar Ahmed, the Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, was onBloggingheads TV yesterday with Robert Wright discussing convicted attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and said this:

Take the case of Faisal Shahzad.  He seems to be, if you put him in a category . . .  he grows up with the reputation of being a party guy, a party boy in the tribal areas [in Pakistan]. . . . He then comes to America and all the pictures are of a modern young man. . . . He changes, but he changes, again, for interesting reasons. The media would have us believe that it’s the violence in the Koran and the religion of Islam.  But hear what he’s saying.  He’s in fact saying:  I am taking revenge for the drone strikes in the tribal areas.  So he’s acting more like a tribesman whose involvement in Pashtun values . . .  one of the primary features of that is revenge, rather then saying I’m going to have a jihad or I’ve been trained by literalists . . . .

That is confirmed by mountains of evidence not only about what motivated Shahzad but most anti-American Terrorists as well:  severe anger over the violence and interference the U.S. brings to their part of the world.  The only caveat I’d add to Professor Ahmed’s remarks is that a desire to exact vengeance for foreign killings on your soil is hardly a unique attribute of Pashtun culture.  It’s fairly universal.  See, for instance, the furious American response to the one-day attack on 9/11 — still going strong even after 9 years.  As Professor Pape documents:  “when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns . . . and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100% of the terrorist campaign.”  It hardly takes a genius to figure out the most effective way of reducing anti-American Terrorism; the only question is whether that’s the actual goal of those in power.

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  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32) Warning Contains Irony

    NassirH
    It’s the denial of reality achieved by giving someone lots of money .
    If someone was paying me such money to talk and write I am sure I could do a better job of it than Sponge Bob.
    I wonder if his sponcers think they get value for money? After all his website must have huge overheads .
    BMD
    You are welcome:-)

  • NassirH

    Do you side with Khushboo and BMD that hand chopping and stoning are perfect are not in need of re-interpretation?

    Spencer has clearly said Islam cannot be “reformed”–take it up with him if you’re so concerned about Halal meat and/or Cambell soup.

    (I have to admit, I always feel pretty disgusted at the arrogance that bigoted people show when they tell me to change my religion.)

    I think the majority of Muslims who support the establishment of an Islamic theocracy speaks pretty well for Muslims.

    If you’re concerned about Islamic states then take it up with the American government–they created two new ones relatively recently.

    “Do you deny that Muslims are being oppressed in various ways?”

    No, I don’t deny that Christians are being oppressed all over the world

    ???

    Must make sense to JihadBob.

  • Beautiful Muslim Doll

    “I don’t see how cutting hands means that Muslims want to take over the world–but it must make sense for JihadBob.”

    Priceless Nasir 🙂

    I think JihadBob is better at a source of amusement than to waste time refuting. Remember he is paid to lie.

  • Beautiful Muslim Doll

    LOL

    Sir David, thanks for the laugh 🙂

  • NassirH

    Perhaps JihadBob can sum this latest masterpiece up best:

    tendency to write long winded screeds with actually very little research

    So what does JihadBob have to say now?

    I join you in joining me in condemning the passage in the Koran calling for the hand chopping of thieves and where the Koran mentions killing apostates in honor killings before they actually become apostates.

    He will join you in joining him?

    Another impressive written failure on the part of JihadBob.

    Anyways, the fact that he is forced to reject the evidence that completely affirms what the article and US government have explained says alot.

    I don’t see how cutting hands means that Muslims want to take over the world–but it must make sense for JihadBob.

  • Dawood

    JihadBob: If you can actually be bothered listening to an academic lecture at a conference entitled “Rethinking Jihad: Ideas, Politics and Conflict in the Arab World & Beyond” held by the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World at the University of Edinburgh in 2009, then you will see that Qaradawi, for a start, does not accept the theory of abrogation that you assert above, and has actually published a text arguing against the extremist interpretations drawn from this type of textual reading. I’m surprised you don’t have it on your bookshelf already as it is a substantial text.

    For those interested: listen to Prof. Sherman Jackson’s keynote lecture titled “Re-Thinking Principles: Sh. Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Ayat al-Sayf.” here. [MP3, approx 70mb and 40mins] It’s slightly long, but very interesting.

    Khushboo and Dawood brought up Islamic fundamentalism and requested that I provide links to my claim

    I simply stated that I was unaware of the fact and asked for proof. I did not indicate that it had any relevance to the discussion at hand.

    I stated: “And by the way, you have now changed your tune from discussing orthodox opinion through the use of texts and religious scholars to now raising the opinion of the masses to prove your point. Which is it? When the `ulama’ have been shown to be against violence and terrorism, and indeed as stating that it is against the essence of Islamic teachings, you now move on to the mindless rabble?”

    You have still not addressed this, and instead are deflecting by changing the subject now to what Muslims in a specific nation state may or may not believe. Again: what relevance does this have to the article at hand, which states effectively that it is continued occupation by military forces which is leading to an increase in violent attacks? I do not understand how what Pakistani’s may or may not believe can somehow be weaved in to your refutation of this point?

    You initially countered by implying that “terrorism” was implicit within Islam itself – as your first comment on this thread states – and after I showed that a majority of senior `ulama’ from across the Muslim world reached a near-consensus on the issues presented in the Amman Message – including that terrorism is against the essence of Islam itself – you then shifted goalposts from discussing the “Islamic tradition” to discussing Pakistanis. So for you to then reply to me saying “Odd question“, I find rather disingenuous considering you are the one shifting goalposts and topics like wildfire in order to defend your position.

    Instead of answering my question you try to deflect it; I guess that tells us all we need to know. Mob rule is not how any religious tradition works, and definitely not Islam.

    And I like how you add the ad-hominem at the end, we all know what that means about the logic and state of the argument; my personal opinion is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

  • JihadBob

    how ironic that
    a) Sponge Bob admits to being Robert Spencer. Who would lie making such a claim and why? Its like admitting in writing to being illiterate

    I agree, someone with poor reading comprehension can be very ironic.

    No argument there, just waiting for the passage where I said ‘I’m Robert Spencer’.

    Take your time.

    Let me get this straight. Because a poll says most Pakistanis support laws present in the Bible… Muslims want to take over the world? Makes sense–if you’re JihadBob.

    Khushboo and Dawood brought up Islamic fundamentalism and requested that I provide links to my claim that a majority of Pakistanis support barbaric, seventh century laws straight out of the prophetic Sunnah and Koran.

    I join you in joining me in condemning the passage in the Koran calling for the hand chopping of thieves and where the Koran mentions killing apostates in honor killings before they actually become apostates.

    Why wouldn’t your post make it through? The only reason something wouldn’t is if it contained more than one link which means it is caught by the comment filter.

    Sometimes when I post more than three times in a row, my posts no longer go through the system.

    Now, you haven’t given me your guesstimate.

    How many Muslims, educated in their religion, share the beliefs of Qaradawi, the Blind Shiek, Azzam and al-Awlaki?

    Come on Dawood, what’s your guesstimate? What percentage support terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians?

    Martyrdom by blood?

    Islamic supremacism?

    The beleif that the Koran’s militant passages abrogate the peaceful ones?
    I need a percentage here.

    Who defines the mainstream teachings of the Islamic religious tradition?

    Odd question.

    What does that have to do with the fact that 80% of Pakistanis support hand chopping, stoning and killing for blasphemy and apostasy???

    Do you side with Khushboo and BMD that hand chopping and stoning are perfect are not in need of re-interpretation?

  • NassirH

    Damn JB. If you are Spencer then you dug yourself into an amazingly deep shithole.

    …tendency to write long winded screeds with actually very little research – ie., the author, Zameel, quote mines (plagiarises)…

    Good old Bobby, ironic and hypocritical as always.

  • Dawood

    Haha!

  • NassirH

    Nice to know that Robert regularly contributes to a site exposing him.

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32)

    Whoops that should read others not other

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32)

    How ironic that
    a) Sponge Bob admits to being Robert Spencer. Who would lie making such a claim and why? Its like admitting in writing to being illiterate
    b) This web site has shown him to be guilty of the same crimes he accuses other of.
    If you are new to this site Danios has written many articles taking Robert apart use the search engine above to view.

  • JihadBob

    I found this refutation of Robert Spencer (on Jihad) on some random Muslim blog. It’s actually pretty legit–well researched, and with sources and everything. If anyone’s interested they can take a peek at it.

    Err, actually I’ve interacted with the author of that article on previous occassions – he has a tendency to write long winded screeds with actually very little research – ie., the author, Zameel, quote mines (plagiarises) from other authors and usually carries over their same errors from the authors he quote mines from.

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