View Full Version : "Cause" of the Attack. (Long)

09-18-2001, 06:48 PM
I have been thinking long and hard about the attack and wish to share my view .

It seems to me that the cause of the attack can be divided principally into two aspects:




It is evident that religious fanatics justify killing of “Western infidels” as a higher good and even necessary act, as dogma within their religious belief system. This sanctions their members to sacrifice their own lives in this effort. This extreme religious belief even concludes that those who do so will be rewarded in the hereafter!

I don’t think there is much we can do in the way of national security to stop this aspect of cause. For example, we beef up airline security, they blow up a school. We protect every school, they blow up a football game. They are only going to do that which CAN succeed. We cannot defend out country against all forms of terrorism with a “fortress” based national security philosophy.


Our country supported Ferdinand Marcos, the Shaw of Iran, Noriega and other corrupt governments. Why? Because our foreign policy is too often driven by business interests! Even when it is couched as economics (dependence on oil) it still comes back to business interests. We sell weapons. They are used against us. We export technology. It is used by our enemies to invade, attack, and weaken us. Is there a common thread here? Business interests have far too much influence over foreign policy.

(I hope this does not sound anti-American or unpatriotic. I am very proud to be an American and willingly I served my county in the U.S. Army)

There is a connection between these two CAUSE factors.

If my neighbor is 100% opposed to my belief system AND I do nothing about my barking dog or park my car in his driveway, he is more likely to take action against me. In fact, my intervention in his life is the trigger for his action. His belief system helps him justify SEVERE action but the trigger is my intervention in his daily life.

On the other hand, my neighbor may be fundamentally different or even extreme in his beliefs, but if I don’t interject myself in his daily life it is far more likely that we can co-exist in peace.

I believe that we have to change our foreign policy. Why do we spend billions of dollars on the mid-east? Many people died in Bosnia or are dying today in Africa! We are hypocritical too often about freedom and human rights because we selectively provide or withhold our support or involvement, primarily for economic (business) reasons.

It should be fundamental to our foreign policy that our actions are morally right and supportive of freedom AND that these values and decisions transcend economics. I do not think today, that that is the case.

I would pay $8 a gallon for gas in order to reduce or eliminate terrorism for our nation. Lets face it, in some future time and after whatever short term action of “punishment or justice” occurs (at cost to all of us and not just dollars but the lives of our soldiers too), our “preventative security” in the future will cost us big time dollars. So we will pay one way or the other.

I believe that we don’t have good mass transit in our county because of the power of the auto lobby. We need to make fundamental governance decisions about how we advance as a society, on a clear and moral basis. Dependence on oil is ONLY an economic matter. It can be dealt with and solutions may involve sacrifice and change.

Whenever we choose to involve ourselves in the lives of people in other countries, it should be on a basis that is CONSISTENTLY applied AND is NOT primarily based on economics.

I am not an isolationist. We can coexist with other nations AND be a leader of the free world AND we can have intense commerce and business. But, I want America to be even handed with ALL countries and for our foreign policy to be always consistent with the morality of our free society. BUSINESS and ECONOMIC interests must be made much lower in the pecking order of policy making.

Our nation needs to think long and hard about how we involve ourselves in the affairs of other nations. Dealing with extreme religion fanaticism in the defense of our nation is a huge problem. I do NOT know what may ever be the solution to that problem.

However, I do believe that we can and must change our foreign policy. It is fundamental that we do so. That effort will be far more likely to succeed in securing our own peace.

We have to deal with the fact that we have enemies. I suggest that dealing with one of the main causes for the behavior of our enemies is drastically needed.



09-18-2001, 08:14 PM
Cause of the attack?

The attackers were upset and humiliated because their brothers missed the target in 1993. Their small minds led them to believe that the only true way to atone for thier stupidity was to bring the towers down and kill a lot of US citizens. Stop making excuses for these punks. Scumbag Murderers are murderers, nothing more. They left no message other than what we saw. They killed human beings; men, women and children. That's what they must have wanted us to know. They must have wanted to be remembered as killers of innocent human beings. Certainly no religion would tolerate murder for murders sake so religion is out. I say we accomodate them and label them MURDERERS as they ask! After all their BRILLIANT (aha) plan cost them thier lives also. That should not go unrewarded.


09-18-2001, 08:48 PM
I think our foreign policy today is quite different today than it was decades ago when the Cold War was a primary consideration.

Yes, our foreign policy has at times been wrong and has created antagonism, contempt or hatred. However, ANY foreign policy is bound to do that---you can't make everyone in the world happy all the time.

Economics is one force that doesn't care much about right and wrong. We can choose whatever we want to try to do, but in the end, economic forces will prevail. You can't just decide to make economic priorities much lower in policy-making; economic realities won't budge much, it's sort of like trying to legislate growth instead of a recession, or trying to force communism down people's throats. We can do a few little things like environmental regulations (very important) but trying to stifle economic interests can't work for very long--there will always be someone to fill a need for the right price.

IMO one of the main reasons for much of the Islamic/Western rift is that the Islamic world is behind the times by quite a number of decades in many ways--in their infrastructures, education, etc.. Hopefully the coming decades will see an opening and more open-mindedness on the part of young Muslims in the Middle East. Part of the reason is also the entwinement of religion with governmental rule in these countries: I don't think I need to point out that most religions are often anything but logical. Ruling a country on religious grounds virtually ensures that many laws and customs will have little practical value, and that many laws will probably make almost no sense at all or be counterproductive, such as the Taliban's forbidding women to become educated or to drive cars. Imagine what shape we would be in if Jerry Falwell were president, and that's putting it very mildly.

09-18-2001, 08:55 PM
All the criticisms I have read of U.S. foreign policy refer to quite a few years or decades ago. I'm not saying we didn't support some bad rulers. But are we doing so today? I am not aware of it if we are; hence, I think our foreign policy has already taken a turn for the better (primarily due to the evaporation of the Red threat).

09-18-2001, 09:35 PM
These points seem almost intuitively sensible, but I'm struck at how often they appear in places like this and not on CBS, NPR and the newspapers.

Many Americans are asking "why" in response to the attacks and logically concluding that there's at least some connection to U.S. foreign policy. The same connection in the mainstream media, however, seems to be verbotin except when we hear high school students, people on the street, and listeners calling in. I'm referring to Americans as opposed to their leaders, and not the rare criticism from foreign scholars, clerics and others.

I haven't read everything, of course, so I'm sure I've missed something and that the topic isn't entirely blacked out, but I don't recall seeing anything about the price of intervention and the likelihood of terrorist violence in response to using military force. Nor have I seen anything about the problems of the U.S.'s unilateralism on so many things military, such as the number and magnitude of interventions and covert actions abroad; nuclear weapons proliferation and testing; chemical and biological weapons production; and missile defense (although the obvious relevance of the theory, as opposed to the loneliness of our position here, hasn't escaped attention); and particularly our actions in the middle east, such as warships in the gulf, military bases in muslim countries, sanctions against Iraq, no-fly zones in Iraq, or material support for Israel's occupation of the occupied territories.

Most of the discussion by pundits and officials carefully avoids this topic and instead focuses and even assumes, when discussing remedies and prevention to terrorism, on the need for an even more interventionist foreign policy, more covert action and the need for "greater domestic security" (i.e., fewer domestic liberties).

If this observation is valid, I can think of three reasons for it, one which I think is transparently invalid. The other two are fairly disturbing if we hope to preserve a democracy that's free from unacceptable levels of terrorism. They are:

1. The recent attacks have no connection with U.S. foreign policy that's worth discussing, and are nearly random acts of insane, evil people, like the Nazis. This seems to be a majority if not unitary viewpoint in the media.

This might make more sense if the proposed scope of our response were limited to those responsible for this most recent attack, or other specific attacks, if we could define our problem like we could define the Nazis. It's already a given, however, that the target of our wrath will be much broader, if presently impossible to define. It also ignores that the most likely culprit -- bin Laden and his cohorts -- appear to have specific problems with U.S. policy, and that their objections if not their methods are widely shared by millions and perhaps billions of people.

2. Despite the unprecendented, horrifying magnitude of the crime, it was still not sufficient to overcome an institutional reluctance to reassess U.S. foreign policy in the mainstream media. This is scary but probably true.

I suppose part of this is motivated by a reluctance to give the impression of "giving in" to terrorists. However, if instead of killing thousands by destroying the WTC and part of the Pentagon, terrorists had killed millions by destroying all of NYC and Washington with nuclear weapons, one would expect at least some reconsideration of foreign and military policy. Perhaps not. But one can just as easily argue that refusing to reconsider our actions abroad invites more terrorism, and I haven't heard any official raise this issue even once.

Fear of appearing irresolute or weak, moreover, cannot fully explain why the rationale for our foreign policy isn't being discussed, unless merely raising the topic creates certain problems. In other words, if discussing the history and grounds for intervention abroad were likely to reinforce instead of undermine support for these efforts, one would expect the public's anxious curiosity to be satiated with articles and stories akin to the "why we fight" stuff that was common during WWI and WWII.

3. Those who are most responsible for mainstream media discussion share the same attitudes regarding U.S. foreign policy as those that make U.S. foreign policy, and these attitudes differ from those of many, perhap most, Americans, and they prefer not to suggest the obvious conclusion: the public is being held hostage to policies dictated by special interests. If this is true, our republic and the rest of the world potentially face a much larger threat than terrorism.

09-19-2001, 03:18 AM
"Certainly no religion would tolerate murder for murders sake so religion is out."

Well, certainly no religion of which you would approve would tolerate or encourage murder. The fact that you or I disapprove of a religious belief does not make it irreligious. Moreover, the fact that some religious beliefs inspire acts of evil does not make the beliefs irreligious.

That said, I'm sure that even the terrorists' religious belief system does not advocate murder for murders sake. They kill to glorify God, to resist the enemies of Islam, etc. The fact that other Moslems disagree with the beliefs of these Islamic fundamentalists does not make those beliefs irreligious.


09-19-2001, 05:51 AM
IMO this your points about the news media is standard operating procedure for them. It certainly wouldn't be the case for NPR (which I don't listen to) but for many I suspect it has something to do with ratings.

One thing that hasn't been discussed very much is the responses that the USA has had to previous acts of terrorism directed it's way. I mean I agree that our foreign policy has to be scrutinized but our response to terrorist acts have been weak IMO and possibly the weak responses have encouraged more terrorist activity.

09-19-2001, 05:57 AM
I am very glad I read some of the things I read here. Very good post Mr. Alger.

I believe the reason our foriegn policy or revisions to it hasn't been addressed is because this might be intrepretted as

,"negotiating w/terrorists." I have heard the reason why were attacked is because others of envious of our power and wealth, which is not the reason at all.

I feel I have only reiterated what you have already said, but I felt compelled to reply.

09-19-2001, 09:35 AM
"The fact that other Moslems disagree with the beliefs of these Islamic fundamentalists "

Which Islamic fundamentalists would that be? The scumbag killers were just scumbag killers as far as I know. The ones on the plaes are dead. Now it our job to find and prosecute any accomplices and or supporters. For they are murderers also. Their religious beliefs are meaningless. Who cares what they believed?


09-19-2001, 11:50 AM
While I am generally uninterested in peoples' religious beliefs, I am interested in their motivations for doing me harm. There is a lot of stuff out there now that talks about the fundamentalist aspects of certain Islamic groups. These groups see western civilization as evil. Check out the link to the Atlantic Rick N. provided. Check out the New York Times or Salon.com maybe. There is a lot out there that talks of the hatred of the west among these terror groups. I want to know the basis for their hatred even if there is nothing we can do to change it. But the more information we have the better. Because I suspect there's more where they came from.

09-19-2001, 01:04 PM
It is sad that interpretation of a religion may cause huge groups to hate other groups. There's not much we can do about it, either.

Sorry to say it, but such aspects of religion/interpretations of religion are STUPID, whether endorsed by Muslims, Christians, or others. For that matter, many aspects of organized religion are stupid as well. This is not to say that there aren't some very valuable kernels at the core of religion, but rather that many dogmas and customs of many religions are pointless and often harmful. And generally speaking, the more strictly a group of religious people interprets and practices their holy texts, the stupider their actions tend to become.

I'm all for freedom of religion. I believe that religion ceases being good and becomes harmful when it promotes intolerance, hatered and violence, however.

Among the eternally unanswerable questions: Why does God allow stupidity, intolerance and cruelty in the name of religion? (rhetorical question).

09-20-2001, 12:08 AM
After I made my post, I got a little worried that some woud take it wrong. Yours was a well reasoned response.

The most notable comment you made IMO is the following:

"Those who are most responsible for mainstream media discussion share the same attitudes regarding U.S. foreign policy as those that make U.S. foreign policy, and these attitudes differ from those of many, perhap most, Americans, and they prefer not to suggest the obvious conclusion: the public is being held hostage to policies dictated by special interests. If this is true, our republic and the rest of the world potentially face a much larger threat than terrorism."

A lot of incite in the above. It really is true that media analysis of the cause is soley focussed on fanatics. I wish I could see an overview of our foreign policy as it relates to our impact on the lives of mid-east people and why and how some hate us so much. Why?