Don't ask me to mourn that evil and bloodstained man. But don't expect me to to get into the gutter he inhabited by exulting in his death either, and don't tell me to stop pointing out that it is Western actions, particularly since World War II, that sowed the poisonous seeds from which he sprang.
Like Cadmus we've sown dragon's teeth. It's time to stop sowing. We are not the source of all virtue. Muslims cherish their religion, their families, their homes, and their countries just as we do. They desperately want to put their garden in order. But for as long as we in the West continue to poison the soil with arrogant condescension towards them at best and brutal repression at worst they cannot hope to do so.
It is often truthfully said that Islam is a religion of peace, but it's a bit a complicated than that, real life generally is. Islam is realistic about the prospects of peace in an unjust world. The Muslim world recognises that where there is no justice there there can be no peace. They recognise moreover that where there is gross injustice that inevitably people will become desperate enough to turn to the likes of Zarqawi. It is time for westerners, particularly Americans, to be good neighbours with the Muslim world — and to stop sowing dragons teeth.
Update: I've added Gert's comment to the body of the article.
Gert said ... (Saturday, June 10, 2006 4:38:31 PM) :
One of the problems Americans struggle with is collective short-term memory loss. Iran is a case in point. Americans only remember the hostage crisis, they don't remember IR 655, they don't remember (or vehemently dispute) well documented US support for Saddam's offensive against Iran. Don't go back to 1953: man, that's over half a century ago!
Yet all these events, in particular the CIA-led 1953 coup and its consequences of course, explain perfectly rationally Iran's "historical" hostility to the "Great Satan".
This collective amnesia leaves the great American public wide open to manipulation: it's easy to demonise entire groups of people when it's perceived their "anti-American" stance arose ex nihilo and is somehow innate ("they just hate our way of life" - dixit the Chimperor and Poodlepants).
Conversely, US public support for Israel is equally artificial: prior to 1967 the US had no interest in the beleaguered newcomer in the ME. Israel during the first two decades of its embattled existence was decidedly left-leaning and more the darling of the European Left. Americans didn't even have a great interest in all things Holocaust, after all the Holocaust and preceding centuries of anti-Semitism were a European phenomenon.
It's after 1967 that the US rapidly develops the strategy of Israel as a loyal, stable ME proxy. Propaganda then starts to drum up support for this previously relatively little known country. Even Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon (surprise, surprise!), with a flurry of Holocaust blockbusters.
Today, the US general public remain amongst the most ardent Israel supporters, including the bizarre Judeo-Christian alliance, no matter what. With two decades or more of Israel/Palestine history missing from their collective memory, it's easy to believe Israel's shit really smells like roses and that those evil Arabs are to blame for everything.
I believe Iraq will be part of the US's undoing: way too much "negative" information to ignore, even for the most patriotic of peoples...