From a Muslim perspective, this whole “war on terror” has to look a whole lot like a “war on Muslims.”
We’ve invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Innocent civilian deaths in the Iraq war – and that’s just innocent civilian deaths by themselves – run overall between an estimated 110,000 to over 600,000 lives. Can there be many people over there who haven’t lost a friend or relative to the Iraq war?
Life under Saddam Hussein was actually pretty pleasant for a majority of Iraqis. He was a secular Muslim. The Shia Muslim minority was terribly oppressed. But the Sunni majority had the good life.
We come in and topple Saddam, fire all the Ba’ath party members from the army and civil service positions, kill as many as 600,000 innocent people, install an unpopular puppet government, torture people, lock up people for years and years in Guantanamo without filing any charges or giving them any due process, steal their oil, plunder their economy. Is that the way you make friends and influence people?
To the Iraqis we must come across as a bunch of Nazis.
Afghanistan is the same. It’s a Muslim country. Estimates are around 100,000 people total have died in Afghanistan since we invaded. Here, we toppled the Taliban government – the same Taliban we helped create to fight the Soviets when they occupied the country – and we installed another unpopular puppet government. we tortured people and locked others up in Guantanamo and threw away the key.
And while both wars have officially “ended,” we still have nearly 5,000 troops in Iraq fighting ISIS and about 8,400 in Afghanistan still fighting the Taliban – which hold more territory now than any time since we invaded.
And making things even worse, where the Bush administration had sparingly used drone attacks to kill enemies, the Obama administration has vastly expanded the program and made drones their go-to solution. This is not only in the war zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, but also has spread to Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen – all Muslim countries. Since 2009, drone strikes have killed between 2,372 and 2,581 “combatants” including 4 Americans. The number of innocent civilian collateral deaths is widely debated, with numbers ranging from a low of 64 to a high of over 1,000.
Another accomplishment is that we toppled the longstanding government of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya – a move in which Hillary Clinton figured prominently. The country has since descended into anarchy. I’m sure that’s made us a lot of Muslim friends in Libya.
And then now we have that clown Trump talking about banning Muslims from the US. This echoes reminiscent of Hitler and the Jews.
Then finally, last but not least, we’re fighting ISIS in Syria, yet another Muslim country.
If you’re a Muslim, how the hell else can you take all this except as a personal attack on all Muslims?
The Muslim world, with long memories dating back to the bloody series of crusades from the 10th through the 15th centuries sees our presence over there as just that: the Christian Crusader infidels coming back to the Middle East to “liberate” the holy lands from the Muslims again.
But even discounting a thousand years of contentious history, the American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan was like a lightening rod. It’s a no-brainer: if you invade a country, kill and maim thousands of its citizens, subjugate the population and try to impose an unpopular puppet government, the people will mount an insurgency. That’s just what happens.
Every minute we stay in the Middle East, we’re creating more and more ISIS recruits. Every drone attack, every bombing run alienates even more people. The war on terror is self-perpetuating. As long as we stay in Muslim countries, as long as we keep killing Muslims and stealing their resources, they’ll keep committing terrorist acts against us.
The ONLY way to end the war on terror is to get the hell out of the Middle East and make peace with all Muslims.