I thought I would never hear that silly argument again. I over-estimated our politicians.
In last night's presidential debate, Anti-war Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul had the gall to suggest that U.S. government military interventions in the Middle East (you know, all the bombing and "collateral damage") helped bring on the hatred that was behind the 9-11 attacks.
This opinion, by the way, is shared by our own Central Intelligence Agency and numerous Middle East experts. It is also supported by history and polls of the people of the Middle East. In a normal setting, such an opionion would be considered reasonable.
But at the debate, reason and logic were not what seized the day.
Rudy Giuliani interrupted and had the following response: "That's really an extraordinary statement. That's really an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of Sept. 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I have ever heard that before and I have heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11. I would ask the congressman withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that."
And the crowd erupted, as if Giuliani had actually made a point by offering an alternate explanation, when all he did was appeal to emotion. In essence he said "I think your opinion, based on the CIA, opinion polling and historical evidence is absurd. Take it back!" That is not exactly an intelligent argument.
Then, later in the broadcast, he gave one of the dumbest, most intellectually lazy explanations for the 9/11 attacks. He said that they attacked us because "we are free" and "women have rights here". That is almost as bad as President Bush once saying that they hate us because we can buy a home" (he really did say that in a speech. In that same speech he also gave the following doozy: "When we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." !!!!)
Ok, now compare the arguments.
Terrorists attack us because we are free and because women can vote and don't have to wear headscarves.
Terrorists attack us because our policies kill their fellow countrymen and fellow Muslims.
Which sounds more plausible, given the evidence?
Remember, this is not a justification for their actions. It is only an explanation.
Without a valid explanation, we cannot defeat the threat and keep Americans secure.