It is a little odd that after seven years since 9/11, it is the US that is now trying to ‘fix’ the
relationship with the Muslim world, rather than the other way around. This falls right into Muslim expectations of apologies from others even when it is they themselves who are caught red-handed terrorizing the West. The Muslim world has always fostered a culture of hatred and violent jihad, which in turn produced the 19 terrorists. Not one Muslim leader apologized for 9/11, but many Muslim officials and religious leaders blamed it on an Israeli conspiracy. To this day no one has apologized to Israelis for such an outrageous lie.
The West has reinforced Muslim expectations, abandoned logic and sacrificed some of its basic values when dealing with the volatile Muslim world. With kid-glove care, President Obama apologized on behalf of America for Iraq as an ‘optional war’ and for the so- called ‘torture’ of alive and well Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
In Obama’s speech, every word was carefully measured to be sure not to expose glaring realities and offend those who curse, flog, stone, behead and terrorize. Obama gave the impression that prior to his administration, America was arrogant and wrong in its relationship with the Muslim world and that he is now the image of a new and more compassionate America, a black president with a Muslim father who understands and sympathizes with the Muslim world.
Some say that it is the Iraq war that caused Muslim hatred to America, but that is not true. One of the highest points in anti-American sentiments by Muslims was before 9/11. Anti-American propaganda was at its highest in Arab media when I visited Egypt in the summer of 2001. 9/11 did not come out of nowhere and actually came after 8 years of treating Muslims most delicately and dealing with Muslim terror as a police matter.
When America liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein, President Bush senior was quite popular in some areas of the Arab world and it is he who refused to listen to Western media criticism of him for not finishing the job by going in to take out Saddam. All through the Clinton administration, Bush senior was never given full credit for the Gulf war because he did not go in and take out Saddam.
But miraculously, when George W. Bush went in and took out Saddam in 2003, Western media reversed itself. Why was it OK to take out Saddam in 91 but not OK in 2003? They now hate the idea of taking out Saddam and told the world Bush was a liar and a warmonger. For 8 years Western media hammered the world with vilifying Bush while refusing to use the term “Islamic terrorism.” We told the world to hate us and now we need to fix it. Such Western political games are never without a high cost to America’s security.
With the Iraq war propaganda, Muslim brewing hatred needed for jihad has now found an excuse. The West gave ammunition to the Muslim world to conduct their jihad, excuse themselves from responsibility, and even defend actions of terror groups such as Hamas, the Muslim brotherhood and Hezbollah. The Arab street and media, which never gave a damn about oppression and torture of Iraqis under Saddam, are now being told by Western media that Bush is killing Iraqi civilians and babies. Suddenly the Arab street cares about the Iraqi people. The mess in the Muslim world regarding America today is partially the result of unintended consequence of Western political dynamics. That was a great gift to excuse and empower radical Islam.
And now, Bush is out and Obama is in. Time to quickly fix 8 years of propaganda against America to the world. But that will not be as easy. Arab countries will not reciprocate the self-criticism of Obama to his country. What Obama accomplished by his speech is love for Obama but not love for America. Arabs do not consider such self-criticism a virtue to emulate, but a sign of weakness. However, it will reinforce Muslim beliefs that they were right all along. Obama’s speech might score some temporary positive reaction, but in the long run, it has empowered Islam and reinforced their unrealistic expectations of America. An Egyptian girl said after Obama’s speech “words are good, but let us see the action”. What more can America give?