Thomas Friedman serves up his usual stupid and uninformed homily today, on why Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 innocent people at Fort Hood — he fell victim to “The Narrative“:
The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books — and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes — this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand “American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy” to keep Muslims down.
Yes, after two decades in which U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny — in Bosnia, Darfur, Kuwait, Somalia, Lebanon, Kurdistan, post-earthquake Pakistan, post-tsunami Indonesia, Iraq and Afghanistan — a narrative that says America is dedicated to keeping Muslims down is thriving.
Of course, Friedman’s viewpoint is thoroughly controlled by his own narrative — the one that says Arabs and Muslims should regard the vile and ugly things we have done to them the same way that we do — as minor atolls in a vast ocean of good and wonderful American beneficence:
Have no doubt: we punched a fist into the Arab/Muslim world after 9/11, partly to send a message of deterrence, but primarily to destroy two tyrannical regimes — the Taliban and the Baathists — and to work with Afghans and Iraqis to build a different kind of politics. In the process, we did some stupid and bad things. But for every Abu Ghraib, our soldiers and diplomats perpetrated a million acts of kindness aimed at giving Arabs and Muslims a better chance to succeed with modernity and to elect their own leaders.
The Narrative was concocted by jihadists to obscure that.
Daniel Larison ably confronts this nonsense:
One of the most irritating things I have noticed during the last decade has been the whining from American pundits about how ungrateful the world’s Muslims have been in response to our alleged beneficence on their behalf. The grimly amusing part of this is that the whining pundits accept the assumptions of pan-Islamists, but put them to different, limited use: Muslims everywhere must feel gratitude for any assistance we have ever rendered to a Muslim population. Of course, if our policies have ever adversely affected a Muslim population, Muslims everywhere should not think that they have any particular interest in this, but should instead resist the siren song of pan-Islamism. …
U.S. foreign policy has not been “largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny.” U.S. foreign policy has worked to support the causes of certain Muslim groups, provided they had the “right” enemies (i.e., states that we already opposed or disliked), and to undermine the causes of other Muslim groups that had the “wrong” enemies. The same people who could not rush to the aid of Bosniaks and Albanian Muslims fast enough are perfectly content to see thousands and tens of thousands of Arabs killed by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces. The people who pretend to weep for Chechnya do not even blink at the displacement of entire provinces in Pakistan. The would-be champions of democracy in the Islamic world have happily embraced anti-jihadi dictators in Uzkbekistan and Pakistan as necessary. My point here is not that Washington was right or wrong in backing one group and opposing another, which is an argument for another day, but simply that it would not be hard for Muslims around the world to notice the far more devastating effects of U.S. and U.S.-allied hostility to certain Muslim causes more than they notice the relatively more obscure cases in which Washington backed Muslim causes.
We wrongfully and unjustly bombed Serbia on behalf of Albanian Muslims, and now the Friedmans of the world want Muslims elsewhere to give us credit for taking the “Muslim side” in a conflict that means nothing to them while conveniently ignoring the far more obvious and ongoing support for governments that mistreat or oppress Muslim populations in several countries. …