the Love of Freedom
By Aden Nak
is a great relief to see, over the past six or seven months,
that both the media and the general public in this nation
are starting to question the unfounded assumptions and proclamations
made by President Bush. While, on a personal level, I find
it highly distressing that it took over two years for the
discourse in this country to recover from the knee-jerk "get
behind our leader" reaction caused by 9/11, I can certainly
And progress is being made. On a political level, it started
with the Democratic primaries, where the early front-runner,
Howard Dean, proved that you can criticize the President and
not suffer political ruin. The media picked up on the fact
that it was acceptable to question the president's figment-oriented
mode of communication once John Kerry's own military service
caused the nation to re-examine George W. Bush's activities
during the Vietnam War.
So, from a liberal standpoint, things are getting better.
But they still aren't quite right. In fact, there is one Bush
theme, repeated consistently and effectively since 9/11, that
qualifies as industrial strength bullshit. Sadly, it's become
accepted as fact by most of the population, perhaps even by
those in this country that consider themselves liberal. It
is a crucial component of Bush's "good vs. evil" rhetoric.
And it all swirls around a simple question.
Why did 9/11 happen? Why did al Qaeda target the United
States of America with one of the most brutal, inhuman acts
of terrorist in modern history? In short, why do "they" hate
us so much? President Bush has made his opinion very clear
on this matter. Obviously, the terrorists attacked us because
they "love terror" and "hate freedom."
Now, I won't dispute the fact that terrorist groups love
terror. I think that's kind of implicit in the word "terrorist,"
don't you? And many terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda, do
have fascist, totalitarian goals in mind, such as the formation
of a fundamentalist Islamic state based on the most warped,
disgusting, perversion of the Muslim faith imaginable. So
yes, terrorists love terror, and many of them have goals that
contradict the basic tenets of a free and just society.
But that still doesn't explain why they attacked the United
States. I mean, are we really the only "free" nation in the
world? The last time I checked, there is a long, healthy list
of democracies and republics spanning the globe. A slew of
western European nations are part of the free, self-governing
world. But self-government isn't limited simply to the United
States and western Europe. Both Canada and Australia are both
self-governing nations, and generally have more "liberal"
social programs and institutions than the United States. Asia
has its fair share of freedom-loving democracies.
There simply has to be more to this issue than our freedom
(or "freeance," as our president might put it). al Qaeda does
not simply attack nations because of the organizing principles
of their government, especially when that nation is halfway
across the world. What al Qaeda has done since its inception
is absolutely abhorrent and unjustifiable. And President Bush
is correct in asserting that they are a devious and murderous
organization. But this absurd notion that they have declared
an unending war on the United States because we love freedom
so much is just plain ridiculous.
The real reason the United States has become the central
target of al Qaeda is because our government has been manipulating
and destabilizing the Middle East for well over thirty years
now. Our involvement in Middle Eastern politics, military
maneuverings, and oil exportation has wrought havoc on the
inhabitants of that entire area of the world.
To them, the United States of America is not a bastion of
freedom and justice. When they think of America, they think
of puppet dictators and militant tyrants. They think of loved
ones who have died for political issues that did not concern
them. They think of an iron hand, strangling their countries
and their way of life from the other side of the globe. And
they hate America for it.
And has the United States of America done these things?
Yes, yes it has. But it was neither the will of the people
nor the desire of those who truly "love freedom" that brought
about these shameful acts. The fact is that the United States
government and those who wield its power have long since broken
the bonds of accountability with the American people. It's
not just a matter of avoiding punishment anymore. Most Americans
no longer understand or realize the damage that our self-serving,
corrupt "leaders" have done to both the stability of the Middle
East and the reputation America once had as a champion of
truth and democracy throughout the world.
Our leaders have done us a great disservice, and have systematically
thrown the Middle East into utter chaos in order to further
their own craven agendas. But from halfway across the world,
the distinction between America and its government is a hazy
one at best. Those that subscribe to terrorism against the
United States are, in effect, taking part in the same knee-jerk
reactionary anger that many Americans are still coming to
But by painting this war as a fight between those who support
freedom and those who support terror, Bush is able to polarize
the issue into that same old cliché "good vs. evil" garbage
that he's been spewing out. It's convenient rhetoric, it fits
nicely into a sound bite, but it's patently untrue and absurdly
It serves to cover up the ugly truth - that while the citizenry
of America is generally in favor of truth and justice, our
government has been betraying us abroad for many, many years.
This is a hard fact for many people to fully come to terms
with. And when the alternative of, "We're good and they're
evil!" is presented, it's very tempting to take that quick
and easy route to absolution. But we need to deal with this
at some point in order to move on as a nation, and in order
to reclaim our nation from this corrupt minority that has
perverted the principles of America and desecrated the spirit
of freedom that Bush so ardently claims he loves.
We need to get past the immature name-calling associated
with this sort of discussion. We need to stop pointing the
haggard finger of "un-American" rhetoric at people the moment
they suggest that the United States of America may have been
in error. At some point, the people of this nation will have
to overcome their own fears of inadequacy and personal loathing,
will have to own up to the fact that they have been used by
those they once trusted, and accept responsibility for our
government's actions in the Middle East.
Terrorism isn't a person that we can assassinate or a nation
that we can destroy. It isn't a place that we can bomb back
to the Stone Age. It's not a physical thing, and it cannot
be entirely a physical battle. For every terrorist that is
killed, for every life that is mourned, one more person will
grow to hate the United States of America. That is a sad reality
of our world, considering the potential and the promise of
this proud, wounded nation.
If we ever hope to achieve victory against terrorism, we
must change the way we behave on the national stage. We must
demand that our government end its support of petty dictators
and political hatchet men. We must insist that our leaders
use the military as a tool of defense, not occupation and
economic insurance. We must force them to bow to our will.
The will of the people.
Only once that is done, can we force each and every last
one of the sick, murderous bastards that had a hand in 9/11
to take responsibility for their deplorable treachery without
behaving like hypocrites in the eyes of the world.