Ron Paul was very famously mocked in debates for his views on U.S. foreign policy, in which the wise old Congressman and Presidential Candidate expressed his points about terrorists targeting the U.S. not for our “freedom” but for our actions abroad. One quote of many comes from his 2008 tour:
I don’t see Islam as our enemy,” Paul said. “I see that motivation is occupation and those who hate us and would like to kill us, they are motivated by our invasion of their land, the support of their dictators that they hate.
This point of view is backed by a Pentagon report by the Defense Science Board Task Force in 2004, and also recent (2012) findings from the University of Chicago by Prof. Robert Pape. Pape was quoted in an interview stating:
We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns, … and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100% of the terrorist campaign,
After the tragedy of the Boston Bombings, The Washington Post reported that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cited U.S. wars abroad as his motivation for the attack.
The 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack, according to U.S. officials familiar with the interviews.
This isn’t the first time, or the last time U.S. policy and meddling in the affairs of other countries will cause hardship at home. Osama Bin Laden cited “invasion of the holy land” as his reason for terrorism. Faisal Shahzad, the naturalized American who was stopped from exploding a car bomb in Times Square stated after his arrest that:
..until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan, and stops the occupation of Muslim lands, and stops killing the Muslims, and stops reporting the Muslims to its government, we will be attacking U.S.
It is simply an argument that makes sense from a motivational standpoint. Yes, people can use jealousy as a motivation, as the U.S. enjoys greater social and economic freedoms; or religion due to differences in that regard, but when people are across the world from each other it really is “out of sight, out of mind.” Without constant American presence, overthrowing and seeding governments and invading countries, these terrorists wouldn’t bat an eye at us.
The CATO Institute also has an excellent piece on this, titled “Why They Want To Kill Us.” Give it a read, why don’t you?