The forwarded email was titled “Sentencing of Reid”. Democrat that I am, my alarmed brain immediately questioned how Harry could have gotten all the way to sentencing without a huge uproar in the press. Huh? The sentence on the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, was handed down in late January of 2003.
Turns out the original sender wanted to quote the Judge’s comments to Reid after he delivered the sentences. He wrote them out in the email and alluded to Reid’s admission – without including some important details. In a CNN article of January 31, 2003, Reid: ‘I am at war with your country’, the comments Reid made at his sentencing are covered more completely and Judge William Long’s comments follow. Long does make some eloquent statements worth reading. The problem is the Judge was apparently unprepared for Reid’s comments, making his own inadequate to the question many have tried to answer: Why do they hate us?
The standard GOP response is: They hate our freedom. For the terrorists themselves, there is some truth to that; establishing restrictive Islamic theocracies certainly speaks to hating freedom. There is another issue that fuels not only the terrorists’ hatred, but also the hatred of their financial supporters and the nations that harbor them.
Reid’s admission statement contained his version of the problem:
REID: I further admit my allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah. With regards to what you said about killing innocent people, I will say one thing. Your government has killed 2 million children in Iraq. If you want to think about something, against 2 million, I don’t see no comparison.
Your government has sponsored the rape and torture of Muslims in the prisons of Egypt and Turkey and Syria and Jordan with their money and with their weapons. I don’t know, see what I done as being equal to rape and to torture, or to the deaths of the two million children in Iraq.
So, for this reason, I think I ought not apologize for my actions. I am at war with your country. I’m at war with them not for personal reasons but because they have murdered more than, so many children and they have oppressed my religion and they have oppressed people for no reason except that they say we believe in Allah.
This is the only reason that America sponsors Egypt. It’s the only reason they sponsor Turkey. It’s the only reason they back Israel.
As far as the sentence is concerned, it’s in your hand. Only really it is not even in your hand. It’s in Allah’s hand. I put my trust in Allah totally and I know that he will give victory to his religion. And he will give victory to those who believe and he will destroy those who wish to oppress the people because they believe in Allah.
So you can judge and I leave you to judge. And I don’t mind. This is all I have to say. And I bear witness to Muhammad this is Allah’s message.
The tendency to toss this issue off as unimportant, untrue or even grossly exagerated is folly. The point is, it underlies much of the support for terrorism by more moderate Muslims. There is a perception I see especially poor and uneducated people coming to without any difficulty: subtle genocide. The refusal of the US military to keep some kind of accurate count of the civilian deaths does not help in the exageration of the figures. The direct kill figures also would not give any idea of the huge problem of childhood deaths from lack of medical care, electricity, hydration, sanitation, etc. How many planned pregnancies have occurred in Iraq during this war, compared to previous years? How many orphans are there due to the war? How many children severely injured or maimed? Physically and psychologically?
That’s just the children. How about women who bear and care for them? Not to mention fathers who provide housing, food, education, etc.? And what of the country they live and raise children in? How much destruction of mosques,schools, homes, roads, businesses…?
Did you connect the dots? Reid’s sentencing was BEFORE this Iraq war began. My comments above are related to the results of this war on top of the Gulf War casualties. Before Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, secret CIA prisons and a law permiting torture passed by the US Senate.
Democrats have been ridiculed for trying to increase our efforts to work WITH other countries diplomatically and economically to genuinely develop closer relations, mutual respect and effective ways to solve the problems that have grown in the region. We need to put some action with our words. Statements – no matter how factual- are not going to win the minds and hearts of those who have enough reasons to think the US has been a visitor that brings nothing but trouble.
Thanks to the summit plan passed by Congress yesterday in the Defense Appropriations Bill, some of these options might actually be given a chance to mend our relationships with many in the Muslim world.