There are a multitude of reasons why Islamic terrorists seek to kill Americans. Foremost among them is the one the Texas congressman highlights: our longstanding and heavy military presence in the Middle East. A quarter-century of military actions, even justified military actions, takes its toll. The many, many military interventions weren’t all good. They weren’t all bad. Rational people can judge their worth to America’s just interests on a case-by-case basis. But that’s not the way enraged nationalists/religious fundamentalists in that part of the world analyze the bombings, the invasions, and the peacekeeping missions.
The argument that “They hate us because we’re free” has always struck me as obtuse and self-serving. It’s a way of avoiding the question of why many Muslims hate us and at the same time giving ourselves a pat on the back. The more important point is to understand that they do hate us. But it shouldn’t be forbidden to ask why. Support for Israel, wars with Islamic nations, our ubiquitous culture, government leaders using the U.S. as a scapegoat for domestic problems, and resentment over our success are a few of the causes for Islamic hatred of the United States. The most cogent and concise answer to the why-do-they-hate-us question comes from Samuel Huntington. In The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, the Harvard professor writes: “The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is not the CIA or the U.S. Department of Defense. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world. These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between Islam and the West.”
Call for an unpoliced border, for tax funding of infanticide, for an unconstitutional repeal of the Second Amendment, or for limits on political speech through reforms of campaign finance laws, and you will remain in the good graces of GOP insiders. Dare to suggest that invading Iraq was a mistake, or that decades of military interventions in Islamic lands has catalyzed Islamic hatred of America, and you become anathema. This myopia in large part explains why the GOP became anathema to voters last fall.
Group-think and untouchable ideologies are the realm of the left, not of Conservatism.