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Why the World Hates the US

by Open-Publishing - Thursday 26 May 2005

Wars and conflicts International USA Ted Rall

Liberals have their faults, but no one can accuse them of being pigheaded. Two years after left-of-Bush Americans marched against the invasion of Iraq and a year after the Administration admitted it had lied about Saddam’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda, the sprouting of a few protodemocratic weeds in the microscopically-cracked cement of Arab dictatorship has prompted them to wonder whether the neoconservatives maybe did the right thing after all by going into Iraq.

"[Bush] may have had it right," NPR’s Daniel Schorr writes in the Christian Science Monitor. Even Harry Reid, the Democrats’ fiery-as-these-things-go leader in the Senate, is swooning over the image of flag-waving Lebanese demanding a Syrian withdrawal: "Any breakthrough we get there, whether it is in Lebanon or Egypt, is a step in the right direction and I support the president in that regard."

As far as I’m concerned, Bush deserves to be impeached for lying to his employers—us—about Iraq’s WMDs. He should face prosecution at a war crimes tribunal for the murder of the 100,000-plus Iraqis he ordered killed by U.S. troops. He deserves life in prison for ordering the torture, and allowing the murder under torture, of countless innocent Afghans and Iraqis. Nothing, not even if the Iraq war sparked the transformation of the entire Muslim world into peaceful and prosperous Athenian-style democracies, could retroactively justify such murderous perfidy. I’m not convinced a Riyadh spring is about to bloom. It will take a lot more than male-only Saudi municipal elections held in half the country, in which six of the seven winners were illegally promoted by the kingdom’s extremist Wahabbi religious establishment.

Take courage, wobbly self-doubters! Even taking recent events into account, your "no blood for oil" signs will come in handy during the America-hating years ahead.

Never mind the dead, the lies or the cash, say the connies. As Britain’s John Maples, originally a Bush supporter of the Iraq war, wrote: "The real reason for the war, at least in the U.S., was to create a reasonably democratic, free market Iraq to act as both a beacon and a rebuke to other countries in the region." The Project for a New American Century, the neocon think tank that started Cheney, Rumsfeld & Co. along the charred road to American Empire, stated in 1997 that U.S foreign policy leaders should strive "to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests [around the world]." Iraq was the first big test of their approach.

It may be premature to judge Bush’s frat pack by their own standards but it’s also fair. They’ve already declared victory. Ross Terrill, whose editor at The Weekly Standard signed the 1997 PNAC statement of purpose, writes: "Success in Iraq, Bush’s victory on November 2, Arafat’s demise, and the ongoing appeal of economic and political freedom to ordinary folk, all triggered political changes across the globe that lessen the need for massive U.S. military intervention again soon."

Bush’s current foreign policy report card is a mixed bag: a B in Phys Ed and a string of Ds and Fs in more important, heavily weighted subjects.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has eased somewhat, largely thanks to an event that had nothing to do with Bush, Arafat’s death and replacement with Mahmoud Abbas. But even the Palestinian Authority’s own polls show that fewer than half of Palestinians accept recent elections as legitimate, while 84 percent of the population say they live without safety or security in their daily lives. Basic issues, such as Israeli colonies on Arab land, remain unresolved. Peace with Israel? Not in the near future.

Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarek, 76, has finally agreed to allow candidates to run against him for the presidency, but his most formidable challenger, Ayman Nour, was rotting in prison until January. He’s now under virtual house arrest, which makes campaigning a tad inconvenient. Even the deployment of government goons against pro-Nour demonstrators hasn’t reduced the flow of U.S. foreign aid (Egypt comes in second after Israel) or Egyptian anti-Americanism. "[Egyptian-American] relations are going through a seriously bad patch," a diplomat tells the UK Telegraph.

Libya has agreed to suspend its nuclear program and Syria is being pressured to pull its troops out of Lebanon, but neither move — both in strategic backwaters —significantly affects the economic or security prospects of American interests.

On to the big subjects:

Iran has long sought improved relations with the U.S. It is a rare opportunity to form a friendship with an oil-rich, politically influential regional player. North Korea, on the other hand, poses our biggest challenge: a nuclear capable state, led by a paranoid and isolated autocrat who has threatened to incinerate the West Coast. Bush’s charm offensive has been so badly botched that he has been reduced to promising that he has no immediate plans to invade Iran. "I hear all these rumors about military attacks, and it’s just not the truth," he says. But the U.S. is better poised to invade Iran than North Korea (and oil adds to the motivation). Bush has also failed to reassure North Korea. "We have taken a serious measure by increasing nuclear arms in preparation for any invasions by enemies," the North Korean regime said March 22. So long, Seattle.

Even the stirrings of electioneering in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the Muslim world cold. Both contests, held amid pervasive fraud, violence and corruption in active war zones where millions are too afraid to venture outdoors, are interpreted as ersatz democracy imposed upon puppet regimes created by a hostile occupation force. And the stooges are disorganized. Iraq’s fractious parties haven’t been able to form a government; Afghanistan’s elections have been delayed until the fall owing to the continuing war with the Taliban. A BBC poll taken in Turkey, a staunch American ally and the model secular state in the Islamic world, finds that 82 percent of Turks consider the United States under George W. Bush to be the greatest threat to world peace.

Is this a world "favorable to American principles and interests"? Clapping your hands is fun, but it doesn’t change jack.

Forum posts

  • You started your article saying "Liberals have their faults..." implying what ?? That Bill Clinton was better than Bush?
    As much as I loathe Chenney and Rumsfeld it is an undeniable fact that Bill Clinton murdered MORE people and hurt even more countries. Only with a kind of telegenic charm that hypnotised the liberal trendies into a state of mental and moral disconnect. As John Pilger has said "when it comes to death and destruction Bill Clinton wins hands down!"
    Howard S Marks
    Manchester UK

  • This is one of the stupidest opinion pages I have ever heard. I think you should rethink your first statement because you are saying some of the most pompous things I have heard come out of a human mouth.
    First of all, in response to the fact that Bush should be impeached for lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. It was not his fault. The CIA, FBI, and the DEMOCRATIC LED Senate investigation team all determined the same thing, faulty intelligence. All current intelligence, intelligence collected by the US, the UN and Interpol said that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction still not accounted for and he had yet to comply with UN regulations. After having UN inspectors hassled at every turn for a year, Bush decided that the threat was too great for the possibility of a vicious dictator that has already used WMDs on his on people to have the capabilities to attack another country. Also, Bush can’t be convicted in a war crimes tribunal because the only current one is the ICC, which the US hasn’t ratified yet, so keep up on your current events. Even if he could be tried, it would be unanimously decided that he was innocent. He never ordered the torture of any of the prisoners. To suggest so is so incredibly close to my definition of sedition that I would be very suspicious of your motives. Secondly, none of the people tortured by US soldiers could be called innocent by any means. They were caught in the act of suicide bombings in public places. Thirdly, every person involved in the Abu Gharib prison scandals was court-martialed, convicted, and punished. The US doesn’t tolerate torture by anyone, and Bush showed that.
    Second of all, you really need to keep up on your current events. The one thing you did get right was the Saudi Elections. The UN wouldn’t allow US election monitors into Saudi Arabia, so yes the elections were quite slanted. However, this is still progress from a monarchy. Although the elections can be called free by no means, they were still elections, and even the US started off with all-male elections. Democracy has taken hold in Saudi Arabia, we just need to wait until it flourishes. Now Iraq, which had election turnouts of both sexes surpassing 60%, which beats even the US and France. The reason liberals have said that perhaps Bush was right is not because they were selling out, but because they see the success. They weren’t bitter about their mistakes, Bush apologized for his, so the only one not yet admitting they are wrong is you. Libya suspended its nuclear program because the US pushed for it, the UN voted not to sanction Libya. Evidently you haven’t read the newspaper in the last month because Syria pulled out of Lebanon almost that long ago. Changes are happening in the Middle East, and closing your eyes because a conservative president helped do it isn’t going to make it go away.
    Lastly, the only thing that can be said bad about Bush’s foreign policy stance toward the Middle East is that it doesn’t go far enough. Abbas is screaming for US support in the region, which we are slowly relenting to. Hussein of Jordan is pursuing an active campaign to get the US to resolve conflicts around the West Bank. Israel has agreed to pull back settlement camps in surrounding Palestinian territory after being pushed by the US. Bush’s report card isn’t as bad as you claim it is, and not everthing he does exudes the bumbling-idiot persona. It’s time you got your head out of the liberal circulations you spend your life in and look around. Democracy is taking hold in the Middle East, and at least part of it is because of Bush.

    Ben Denissen

    • Funny, the "Downing Street Meeting Minutes" of a meeting between the top english intelligence agent and Tony Blair says that Bush already had his policy and that the intelligence and facts were being fixed around those policies. Further the memo states that Bush and England both knew that Iraq had no weapons of mass distruction. This memo was from 8 months before the United States unprovoked attack on a helpless country. The CIA, FBI and Senate all lied in order to support our going into this war. Even if you don’t believe the Downing Street Meeting Minutes, the way we just skipped past the areas during the invasion that supposedly contained all these WMD and didn’t check them out for months afterwards is a smoking gun that they knew there was no evidence in those locations and wanted to delay the discover of these inconvient facts for as long as possible. Our top weapons inspector said that there were no weapsons of mass destruction.

      Bush lied. People died.

      Bush lied. People died.

      Bush lied. People died.

  • Americans prefer to live in a fantasy world. We like our Hollywood version of America better than the real one. Our way of dealing with this is to "buy" all of the fabricated fantasy the propaganda machine can pump out to us and convince ourselves that that is America, the land of the "FREE" the home of the "Brave".....we don’t want to know about how we’re being used by the military industrial complex and the power hungry neo-cons and that they have co-opted the religious fanatics that dominate our culture here to accomplish their agenda.

    We like to think of America as heros that go around the world rescuing the oppressed citizens every where on the earth. We like to think or imagine we have the highest standards of living, and the most educated population, and the strongest largest economy. And as a clincher, we like knowing that we have armageddon in the silos just in case God calls on us to defend "Christian" values against the infidels. That is the real America, but don’t tell any Americans, even if they know it they certainly do not want you to bring it up and pop their bubble.

  • To make it clear: nobody hates American citizens. But we don’t like the American government which looks more and more like a dictatorship.

  • The title of the article "Why the World Hates the US" is really of an indictment of the human condition. Too bad Rall didn’t write an article titled "Why the World Hates". Examining the haters’ hate is more important than examining the subject of their hate. If I hate a certain minority, would you join me in exposing that group’s weaknesses or challenge me as to what drives my hate?


  • Face it, Anti-American sentiment is basically self-hatred and anger misplaced. Focusing and indulging in anti-americanism is an expression of your powerlessness and failure. Governments, instead of making their civilians productive try to stop them from focusing on their ineptitude and failure by anti-americanism. America with all its excesses and imperfections dominate the lives of non-citizens around the world and make it obvious how little they have. That’s why they hate America and Bush.

    • Your comment is beneath contempt. To suggest that a hatred for the way America does things is just self-hatred is as ludicrous as one has come to expect from the insular, moronic, bleating voices of the right.
      You sir, are a fool. The US is not in itself hated. The way your government rampages around the world like a cowboy on crack is what we hate - and rightly so. Next time you want to play policeman to line the pockets of your corporate suits and their whores in high office just remember nobody - and I mean nobody - asks you to do it. Sod off and stay home.

    • Nice One. Concurring with above that it’s not the US that is ’hated’ ie not the country or it’s people -it’s like Iraq -a meglomaniacal twat with a load of yes men with greedy backers.

      However, I think the rest of the world are starting to be disappointed with the US populace for their perceived apathy towards their genocidal leader(s).

    • "...nobody - and I mean nobody - asks you to do it..."

      Kuwait asked for US help when Saddam invaded in 1990.


    • Madeleine Albright, in 1989 told Saddam ’’We have no problem with your territorial dispute with Kuwait’’. Give him the green light to invade and then Wham !

      Kuwait was part of Iraq until carved up by the West in the 1920’s for oil theft. Puppet masters placed in charge of the big petrol station Q8.

      If Iraq had annexed part the US for f***ing pretzels or whatever, I expect there would be a movement to reclaim the territory ?

    • I’m glad to read all this discussing and argumenting going on. It’s nice to see Americans of so many different opinions. It is however true that we all hate you and rest assured, we will also kill you all. Let me first say that these are not threats, these are statements of truth.
      Your armies are weak, losing and scattered, your people are lazy, fat and sick and your country has no money. It is only a matter of time before you collapse.
      At that point, many, many angry and rather aggressive individuals, among which I include myself, will come to your country and show you what your undisciplined troops have been doing to the world while you thought they were ensuring this elusive concept of ’democracy’.
      We will show you what happens to the women of a country that loses a war and it is safe to say that your children will be better off dead as well.
      You see, none of us really care whether you are for or against Bush. We don’t even care about your whole republican-democrat system and its differences of interest, policy or expression.
      Frankly, we do not care about any of the reasons you might accredit for the sheer repulsion we feel for your nation.
      We just want to brutalize and kill each and every last one of you, and we will.

      Kind regards to you and yours,