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Forum Post: US media angrily marvels at the lack of Muslim gratitude

Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 14, 2012, 3:24 p.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

By Glen Greenwald

One prominent strain shaping American reaction to the protests in the Muslim world is bafflement, and even anger, that those Muslims are not more grateful to the US. After all, goes this thinking, the US bestowed them with the gifts of freedom and democracy – the very rights they are now exercising – so how could they possibly be anything other than thankful? Under this worldview, it is especially confounding that the US, their savior and freedom-provider, would be the target of their rage.

On Wednesday, USA Today published an article with the headline "After attacks in Egypt and Libya, USA Today asks: Why?" The paper appeared to tell its readers that it was the US that freed the Egyptian people from tyranny:

"Attacks in Libya that left four US diplomats dead – including Ambassador Christopher Stevens – and a mob invasion of the US Embassy in Cairo, in which the US flag was torn to shreds, have left many to wonder: How can people the USA helped free from murderous dictators treat it in such a way?"

Did you know that the "USA helped free" Egyptians from their murderous dictator? On Thursday night, NBC News published a nine-minute report on Brian Williams' "Rock Center" program featuring its foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, reporting on the demonstrations in Cairo, which sounded exactly the same theme. Standing in front of protesting Egyptians in Tahrir Square, Engel informed viewers that this was all so very baffling because it was taking place "in Cairo, where the US turned its back on its old friend Hosni Mubarak", and then added:

"It is somewhat ironic with American diplomats inside the embassy who helped to give these demonstrators, these protesters, a voice, and allowed them to actually carry out these anti-American clashes that we're seeing right now."

That it was the US who freed Egyptians and "allowed them" the right to protest would undoubtedly come as a great surprise to many Egyptians. That is the case even beyond the decades of arming, funding and general support from the US for their hated dictator (to his credit, Engel including a snippet of an interview with Tariq Ramadan pointing out that the US long supported the region's dictators).

Beyond the long-term US support for Mubarak, Egyptians would likely find it difficult to reconcile Engel's claim that the US freed them with the "made in USA" logos on the tear gas cannisters used against them by Mubarak's security forces; or with Hillary Clinton's touching 2009 declaration that "I really consider President and Mrs Mubarak to be friends of my family"; or with Obama's support for Mubarak up until the very last minute when his downfall became inevitable; or with the fact that the Obama administration plan was to engineer the ascension of the loathed, US-loyal torturer Omar Suleiman as Mubarak's replacement in the name of "stability".

Given the history of the US in Egypt, both long-term and very recent, it takes an extraordinary degree of self-delusion and propaganda to depict Egyptian anger toward the US as "ironic" on the ground that it was the US who freed them and "allowed" them the right to protest. But that is precisely the theme being propagated by most US media outlets.

Even in Libya, where it's certainly true that many Libyans are happy about the Nato intervention, this bafflement is misplaced. It's always the case that some portion of the populace of an invaded nation will be happy about even the most unjustified invasions: that the Kurds are thrilled by the Iraq war is a fact still cited by Iraq war advocates as proof of the war's justness and wisdom.

But it's also the case that such invasions produce extreme anger, as well: among the families of those killed by the invading forces, or who suffer from the resulting lawlessness and instability. Combine that with the fact that it was repeatedly noted that US involvement in Libya meant that anti-US extremists, including al-Qaida, were being armed and empowered by the US, it is far from mystifying, as Secretary Clinton insisted, that some people in Libya are deeply hostile to the US and want to do it harm.

In the same report, Engel also spent several moments explaining that the primary reason these Muslims have such animosity toward the US is because their heads have been filled for years with crazy conspiracy theories about how the US and Israel are responsible for their woes. These conspiracies, he said, were fed to them by their dictators to distract attention from their own corruption.

Let's leave aside the irony of the American media decrying crazy "conspiracy theories" in other countries, when it is the US that attacked another country based on nonexistent weapons and fabricated secret alliances with al-Qaida. One should acknowledge that there is some truth to Engel's claim that the region's tyrants fueled citizen rage toward the US and Israel as a means of distracting from their own failings and corruption.

But to act as though Muslim anger toward the US and Israel is primarily the by-product of crazy conspiracy theories is itself a crazy conspiracy theory. It's in the world of reality, not conspiracy, where the US and Israel have continuously brought extreme amounts of violence to the Muslim world, routinely killing their innocent men, women and children. Listening to Engel, one would never know about tiny little matters like the bombing of Gaza and Lebanon, the almost five-decade long oppression of Palestinians, the widely hated, child-killing drone campaign, or the attack on Iraq.

And it's in the world of reality, not conspiracy, where the US really has continuously interfered in their countries' governance by propping up and supporting their dictators. Intense Muslim animosity toward the US, including in Egypt, long pre-dates this film, and the reasons aren't hard to discern. That's precisely why the US supported tyranny in these countries for so long: to ensure that the citizens' views, so contrary to US policy, would be suppressed and rendered irrelevant.

It doesn't take a propagandized populace to be angry at the US for such actions. It takes a propagandized populace to be shocked at that anger and to view it with bafflement and resentment on the ground that they should, instead, be grateful because we "freed" them.

But to see why exactly such a propagandized populace exists in the US and has been led to believe such myth and conspiracies, simply read that USA Today article or watch the NBC News report on these protests as they convince Americans that gratitude, rather than resentment, should be the sentiment people in that region feel toward the US.

Al-Jazeera program

On Wednesday, I participated in an excellent discussion on al-Jazeera's Inside Story, along with former National Security Council official Hillary Mann Levitt and the Muslim scholar at Georgetown, Jonathan Brown, on many of these issues. Everyone agreed, needless to say, that there is no excuse or justification for attacking American officials based on anger over a film, but the discussion focused on some of the broader issues relating to these protests:




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[-] 5 points by friendlee (5) 10 years ago

Having seen over many years our foreign policy with regard to Middle Eastern peoples, it seems to me that we don't belong in that region of the world. I think we should leave those folks alone, stop shipping arms to them, and mind our own business.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23680) 10 years ago

Well said.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 10 years ago

chomsky on middle east history - "Actually it was expressed rather clearly in the 1950’s by President Eisenhower and his staff. He was holding an internal discussion which has been declassified since. Eisenhower asked his staff why there is, what he called a “campaign of hatred” against us in the Arab world. Not among the governments, which are more or less docile, but among the people. And the National Security Council, which is the major planning body, produced a memorandum on this topic. It said that there is a perception in the Arab world that the United States supports harsh vicious dictators, blocks democracy and development; and we do this because we want to maintain control over their resources - in this case, energy. And went on to say that the perception is fairly accurate and furthermore that, that’s what we should be doing.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

It's really sad that American news and politics now reminds me of this movie

at 2:05 specifically

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 10 years ago


[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23680) 10 years ago

Orientalism still at work. Pure hubris by Americans and Europeans. Yes, almost five decades of oppression of the Palestinian people.

If we don't start focusing on the facts of history to determine how we got to this place we are at, (I'm talking about the United States here), we will never stop meddling in other peoples' business. If we understood the past, we'd show some respect and allow self-determination. Let's face it, democracy is not working so well right here at home so why try spreading it to societies that don't necessarily want it or need it?

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 10 years ago

Didn't the U.S. support 30 years of Mubarak's dictatorship? They might be a little upset by that.

Giving the U.S. credit for what the Egyptians accomplished in Tahrir Square shows how distorted American thinking is.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

I've hear detainment without disclosure was struck down by a US federal judge for US citizens

it should also be struck down for detainment of non-citizens

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago
[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 10 years ago

It's just the old "Why do they hate us?" nonsense 11 years later.

Anti-American fury sweeps Middle East over film

Reuters – 1 hr 7 mins ago


[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

I love this post!

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 10 years ago

Jay Carney-White House Press Secretary-

“This is not a case of protest directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. “It is in response, not to United States policy, not to obviously the administration, not to the American people, but to a video, a film, that we have judged to be reprehensible, disgusting.”


It has nothing to do with centuries of unrest and bullets and American intervention at all folks! The Administration is POSITIVE it's all just about a movie!!

[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Why do you insist on holding "your good ole boys club" up as being the masters of the universe, who can do no wrong, never did any wrong, and are destined to continue to live that lie, and beat and oppress everyone into submission, while cutting their heads off after swallowing that shyt? What law has been handed down that demands that everyone believes it? In other words, what the hell is your major malfunction?

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 10 years ago

My post was sarcasm. I don't believe what the administration is saying. But that IS what they are saying.

[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Then you my friend are worse than a puppet and deserve everything your "PUPPET MASTERS" place upon you.

Personally, I try to follow a more intelligent path.

[-] -1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 10 years ago

You make a great argument that we deserve the attacks!

[+] -5 points by oneandone (-67) 10 years ago

You're over thinking this. The simple exploitation is...we are dealing with stone age savages, who haven't evolved yet.

[-] 3 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 10 years ago

Go fuck yourself

[-] 2 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Huh?? Why so hostile? LOL....

[-] 2 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Yes, but who actually are the savages? The ones perpetrating the attacks, or the one's behind the curtain, pulling the strings... Savages don't always wear loin clothes, or the skins of beasts, you know! This web of lies and deceit is so deep that it might take another 50 years before the "average" American will be able to face the truth of all this!

[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 10 years ago

It may take 50 years...but it has to start somewhere and the curtain IS being pulled as we speak. There are dedicated people doing all they can...many times at great risk... to get "real" history in the hands of regular folk. The obstacle is twofold: Getting folks off the hypnotical couch that sits in front of the idiot box. Secondly, is keeping our internet from censorship.

Sad but true, is that North Americans are...in my view...the single biggest population of globally unknowledgable people. One could argue whether it is intentional or not, but with all that is available on the internet these days...there really is no excuse. This, I'm sure is one of the reasons high on the list, that 'they' are bulldozing legislation to control the internet. It is hard to control an educated population.

[-] 0 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Good points....

[-] 0 points by Renneye (3874) 10 years ago

Thanks. Didn't see you for a few days...glad to see you back.

[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

: )

[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Is that over there, or here on these shores?

I can recall a lot of things that have yet to stop in America...such as...oh hell look at America's violence and think long and hard about what point you are really trying to prove. You are either not thinking at all or living in a delusional world where you still believe in some superior type of purity and greatness in some particular type of people. As if! Good Lord!

[-] 0 points by alva (-442) 10 years ago

they're past the stone age, they live in the 7th century, when islam was invented.

[+] -5 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

No one can co-exists with Muslim extremeist.

[-] 3 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

Just like christian extremists,. . or zionist ones.

[-] -2 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

The only diff. Is the extremes left are scared to call the Muslim ones like they do they others

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

cool story bro,. .

[-] 1 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

I'm just saying the other 2 (Christian and Jewish) are openly challenged and rightly so , it just seems its not that way Muslim extremists . And it should be..

[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Yah, yah, sure sure....so what the f* were the Crusades all about?

Good Grief, talk about calling the kettle black!!! Literally!!!

[-] 1 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

Wow really that's what you got you he to that far back? That's an old outdated excuse.

[-] 2 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

So is your use of the Kings' English...

What the hell are you trying to say anyhow? Who began the first challenges of the "alleged" Muslim (Moslem) extremists, is my point.. Learn your history idiot, then you might come across as knowing what the F* you are talking about. So, if you start there, then I can bring you up to date to the Bush Administration. Got it? As of now, your emotional level outweighs any true facts you pretend to present on here!

[-] 0 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

Lol you get so worked up with your stupidity....you morons are easily flustered. You love to blame others for your shity life you are a weak mix of self hate stupidity lol blame the. Ish admin for all your troubles when it's your own stupidity you should work on

[-] 0 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Buddy, you ain't seen flustered! All anyone would have to do is make a call on your asses. So stop acting as if you truly know what is going on in that make believe world of yours.
Do you actually think any ones opinion on here coincides with the underlying truth and realities of the world around us? Puh...Leeze!

Speak of flustered! How is it that you have no ability to comprehend? Insulting me instead of giving, showing, or relating to facts? Now, that, my friend is someone showing stupidity and ignorance. So, do you fit into any of those categories?

[-] 0 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

You are right about one thing acting like a know it all moron hasn't worked well for you so it probably wouldn't for me either. Just because you are a psycho Doesn't mean your an intelligent psycho, you are just crazy, Batshit crazy.

[-] 0 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

Make a call on my ass? I suggest you elaborate on that

[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

[-] 1 points by podman73 (11) 4 minutes ago

Are you impaired in some way I'm not aware of? I would like your words not a link is that too hard to grasp? I care because we are having a conversation an how can I say I disagree with you if I don't listen to you (you may want to try it sometime) ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

Where is your reply link? We are not having a conversation! You are posting insults, derogatory remarks, innuendos, and all manner of response stating "do as I say, not as I do bull shyt. First of all...slavery is over, second of all you aren't my employer and I don't owe you any explanations, third of all...WE ARE EQUALS...fourth of all....I don't like your attitude, and last but not least.


[-] -1 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

You rant like a lunatic, unable to calmly state your position. Go sell crazy somewhere else im all full up

[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Well, finally you realize that you do have a problem.....

[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Scuse you....You really aren't that important. Don't you get it?

Your problems stems from the fact that your bamboozled brain cells are bursting at the seams. You see, your world was not all that you believed it to be so you take your frustration out on me.

I do truly feel so very, very, very sorry for you and 'YOUR KIND'


I really don't have time for your childish jibberish... Go back to school!

[-] 0 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

Yea I thought you would change your tune. You mare nothing more than a mouthy bigot.

[-] 1 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

Change my tune....Are you out of your F*in mind?
Let me repeat...."All anyone would have to do is make a call on your asses."

You instigate the following..."Make a call on my ass? I suggest you elaborate on that"

Here ya go!!!


So keep on keeping on haters!

After all you all ain't that damn important in the scheme of life!


[-] 0 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

Are you to scared to be specific on what make a call means? If you are I understand, being pathetic is nothing new to you I'm sure . Funny you talk about life you don't seem to have much of one

[-] 0 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

[-] 1 points by podman73 (11) 2 minutes ago Are you to scared to be specific on what make a call means? If you are I understand, being pathetic is nothing new to you I'm sure . Funny you talk about life you don't seem to have much of one>

Really? now how long did it take me to respond to your crap in the beginning? 5 days? Are you scared to have me reply to you? Lookee here.... I do have much better things to do... This forum is like playing checkers....most don't realize they have been jumped.

But anyway....read the information in the link... It will tell you everything you want to know. Besides, what makes you care what I think?

Me put a call on you? I wouldn't waste my time..Are you paranoid? Even now, I feel as if I am reading the Sunday Funny pages with these posts


[-] 1 points by podman73 (-652) 10 years ago

Are you impaired in some way I'm not aware of? I would like your words not a link is that too hard to grasp? I care because we are having a conversation an how can I say I disagree with you if I don't listen to you (you may want to try it sometime)