Empathy with delusions
Almost as upsetting as the fact that the United States is engaged in a long-term global war against radical Islamists is that a shocking percentage of people seem predisposed against grasping it.Our enemies are religious bigots who hate us because we will not submit to their weird religious beliefs. They hate the delusional too. Unfortunately the delusional are too busy with their delusions to notice. These are people who act on feelings more than reason and believe that empathy will achieve understanding. As a political device it worked for a while for Bill Clinton, but it is had to sustain when reality intrudes.
To the perennially oblivious, we are in a war of choice in Iraq, which, among other "elective" actions, is stoking extremism and provoking retaliatory action against us. If we will just cease and desist these actions and otherwise alter those policies giving rise to grievances among radical Muslims, their rage will subside and they'll quit targeting us for extinction.
Those afflicted with this line of thinking not only believe it is our actions and policies that cause terrorists to hate us, but that many of those actions and policies are indeed objectionable.
That is, many of those who think global jihadists can be pacified uncoincidentally also believe they have legitimate complaints against the United States.
To these critics, America is not a shining city on a hill, not a beacon of freedom, not an exemplar of civil liberties, but, under the evil Bush administration at least, a nation that intermeddles in other nations' civil wars and ethnic disputes, systematically abuses and tortures enemy prisoners, spies on its own innocent citizens, runs roughshod over other nations in dictating its will on the international stage and is inhospitable to illegal immigrants.
The critics are projecting their own complaints about the United States on to the jihadists and choosing to believe, despite the overwhelming weight of the evidence and all common sense, that our enemy can be mollified if we'll just quit being a greedy, imperialistic superpower that seeks to impose its will and values on other peoples and exploit their resources.
Of course, these blame-America-firsters are wrong on their complaints against this country. But they are just as wrong about the appeasability of Muslim terrorists.
The terrorists don't just hate us for certain policies we pursue, such as our "occupation" of Saudi Arabia, our alliance with Israel or our stubborn refusal to withdraw from Iraq's "civil war." They hate us because of who we are and what we represent. We could adopt every America-denigrating policy our domestic critics recommend and we'd not make a dent in the enemy's hatred for us.