Much has occurred in the past two days, stemming from an “American-made” anti-Muslim video posted online. The American embassy in Libya was bombed and destroyed, and further attacks and protests have occurred in Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt. Obviously the deaths of U.S. citizens and the American Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens is a tragedy, perpetuated by people with little intelligence and ample anger. The reaction in no way fit the imagined crime and those murdered had nothing to do with the video in question. The violence that occurred was a foolish reaction (or possibly planned action) by barbaric people.
That being said, the overarching reason for this violence lies not only in a video that denigrates Prophet Mohammad, but instead in a populace that stretches beyond the borders of any single country into the entire Muslim world, that is tired of U.S. meddling and occupation. They hunger for any reason to attack Americans. Libya and Yemen both have plenty of reasons to be up in arms over American military involvement over the past two years, and Egypt’s politics have been interfered with via our government for decades.
As Ron Paul bravely stated (t0 much derision from GOP neocons with tunnel vision encased in cataracts), the reason we were attacked on 9/11 was not because of our freedom, but because of our intrusion into the politics and sovereign territories of Muslim countries. Blaming “freedom” is an easy scapegoat, as there is much in the religious views of fundamentalist Muslims that goes against our way of life. However, that alone doesn’t drive people to the type of violence seen on 9/11. There are plenty of closer, easier targets that are awash in capitalist ways that can be attacked, and the attacks would be constant if that were the case. Just as then, these latest riots and attacks are blamed on religion as the easy scapegoat, and that cry is taken up by those rioting, but in reality it’s a rebellion against American foreign policy and presence throughout the world. This is an excuse to attack, not the outright cause.
The U.S. is positioned to make the situation even worse with the deployment of two warships to waters off Libya, which will be stationed there as a “precautionary measure.” What is the possible upside to this? Our embassy is already destroyed and our citizens killed. Are we going to launch missiles at Libya? At the citizens who have attacked us? It isn’t a military force, and the President of Libya has already offered his apologies to the U.S. Our instant reaction to send warships will only acerbate the situation in the region as we flex our military muscle there even more. I would expect the riots and attacks to increase with this new deployment, not decrease.
Naturally, forces already aligned against the U.S. have stepped up to take advantage of the situation, with a cleric associated with the terrorist group, Al Qaeda (which of course Osama Bin Laden was formerly the head of and who admitted the U.S. was attacked because of our bases and not our freedom) calling for all Muslims to mimic the actions taking place in Libya.
The best solution to stem the ongoing violence and aggression towards Americans in Arab nations is to recall our troops abroad and cease our constant meddling in the politics of said nations. We have to have embassies in these countries, and having open and constant dialogue is essential. However military presence is not, and until we limit our armed presence abroad, our non-combat personnel will be at risk.