Advancing a Free Society

Myth and Reality After 9/11

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why did radical Islamic terrorists kill almost 3,000 Americans a decade ago?

Few still believe the old myth that prior U.S. foreign policy or support for Israellogically earned us Osama bin Laden's wrath. After all, the U.S. throughout the 1990s had saved Islamic peoples from Bosnia and Kosovo to Somalia andKuwait. Russia and China, in contrast, had oppressed or killed tens of thousands of their own Muslims without much fear of provoking al Qaeda.

Moreover, thousands of Arabs have been killed recently, but by their own Libyan and Syrian governments, not Israeli Defense Forces. Al Qaeda still issues death threats to Americans even though its original pretexts for going to war -- such as U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia -- were long ago irrelevant.

Instead, on this 10-year anniversary of 9/11, no one has yet refuted the general truth that bin Laden tried to hijack popular Arab discontent over endemic poverty and self-induced misery. In cynical Hitlerian fashion, al Qaeda's propagandists sought to blame the mess of the Arab Middle East on Jews and foreigners, rather than seeking to address homegrown corrupt kleptocracies, inefficient statism, indigenous tribalism, gender apartheid, and religious fundamentalism and intolerance.

Continue reading Victor Davis Hanson...