Glenn Greenwald took something of a shit-kicking in Canada in some media quarters last week for his column:
CANADA, AT WAR FOR 13 YEARS, SHOCKED THAT ‘A TERRORIST’ ATTACKED ITS SOLDIERS
Published after two Canadian soldiers were mowed down by car in Quebec on Monday but prior to another being shot at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday, the piece was
misconstrued as a justification of terrorism instead of the explanation for it.
At his talk in Ottawa three days ago, Mr Greenwald points out his explanation is based on a ten year old Pentagon report written for then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Transcript :
"There is this remarkable, remarkable 2004 report that was commissioned by the George Bush Pentagon run by Donald Rumsfeld and it was given to the Defense Task Force. And the question that Donald Rumsfeld commissioned that task force to ask was - What is ultimately the cause of terrorism? Why are there so many people in the world that want to do violence to the United States and you can go online and read it.
It seemed as though what I wrote this week or what I said in interviews was somehow controversial. It isn't - it is self-evident.
The report in 2004 concluded this; this is what it said. It said : "The key cause of terrorism aimed at Americans is quote "American direct intervention in the Muslim world." It then identified three different policies that comprise this direct intervention.
One is support for the region's worst tyrants - giving economic aid and drowning in weapons the regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Secondly was steadfast support for Israel which is viewed as enabling all sorts of aggression in that part of the world.
And third was actual wars and occupations, principally the invasion of Afghanistan.
Canada plays a role in all of those policies.
And what the report concluded - and this is not me saying this, this is an actual quote - it repudiated the US government's statements to its own citizenry in the wake of 9/11 about why the 9/11 attack happened, why terrorism happens.This is what it concluded, quote : "Muslims do not quote hate our freedoms unquote but rather they hate our policies."
It is so tempting, so tempting, to see ourselves as victims, as pure and innocent victims. It is. We all want to see ourselves that way - we get to emancipate ourselves from any kind of responsibility or culpability or guilt. It's really tempting to say when our societies are attacked rather than our societies doing the attacking that the reason it happens is because there's this extremist religion in the world - or an extremist version of a religion - that's just unbearably hateful and irrationally savage and they just want to do violence for its own sake - "they hate us for our freedoms". That just simply isn't the case and I think it is our responsibility as citizens and certainly as journalists to make certain that the dialogue isn't comfortable or flattering. That shouldn't be the goal; the goal should be to make it as rational and fact-based as possible so that we're not actually susceptible to manipulation."
It's appalling - and does not speak well for our various 'freedoms' or our ability to resist being manipulated by our government - that this ten year old Pentagon research report on the causes of terrorism is still considered controversial anywhere in Canada.