|Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
[source: NY Daily News]
If there’s one thing that so many conservatives just can’t abide, it’s any notion that the US is anything less than the shining light of sanctity and righteousness in the world and that it just might be responsible for bad things every now and then. Here’s the latest example of the right-wing cranking up the outrage machine over someone daring to speak the plain and unadorned truth about the US’s less-than-pristine track record regarding its influence in the Middle-East. From Jason Mattera at conservative blog Human Events:
New audio has surfaced of the imam behind the controversial mosque near Ground Zero allegedly telling an audience overseas that the United States has been far more deadly than al-Qaeda. "We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non Muslims," Feisal Abdul Rauf said at a 2005 lecture sponsored by the University of South Australia. After discussing the U.S.-led sanctions against Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Rauf went on to argue that America is to blame for its testy relationship with Islamic countries.
"What complicates the discussion, intra-Islamically, is the fact that the West has not been cognizant and has not addressed the issues of its own contribution to much injustice in the Arab and Muslim world." The audio was uncovered by blogger Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs.
Note the one thing that Mattera fails to include in his piece: any semblance of context, any evidence to try and refute Imam Rauf’s statements. He can’t, because everything Rauf said is completely and undeniably true. He didn’t say that the US is “worse than al-Qaeda” in the sinister sense that Mattera would have you believe, but simply that the United States – at least, the US government – has an enormous amount of Muslim blood on its hands. As Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars explains:
Add up all of the people killed in every terrorist attack by Muslim extremists in the world and they don't come close to the number of innocent Iraqis killed during two wars, numbers that easily reach into the hundreds of thousands (not to mention those who died as a result of the humanitarian and refugee crisis precipitated by both wars).
Add to that the number of Iraqi, Iranians and Kurds killed by Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons -- which we gave him. Add to that the number of people killed and oppressed by dictators we supported in the Muslim world, from Shah Reza Pahlevi in Iran to Suharto in Indonesia (a genocidal maniac himself responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in East Timor and Aceh).
Trying to claim otherwise, that the US is somehow innocent in all this, is foolish as it demonstrates a profound ignorance of the country’s history. The US government is as with nearly any other entity in that it is driven by money, and whenever an unholy alliance can be formed that can send a welcome flow of assets flowing their way, even with some of the more notorious and monstrous figures out there, you can be sure that some shady union will be formed, usually without the general public knowing about it – at least originally.
Of course, the same is true of practically every single government in the world, so it’s not as if the US is really any better or worse than others in general. But anyone who starts spluttering and going red in the face at the mere thought of their country engaging in immoral or unrighteous business is either ignorant or delusional.