If you have some time, check out this thread that started by quoting Meg. I have commented extensively at the bottom (will some say I commented too much?). If you don't read anything else about a reasonable, Middle-Eastern and specifically Palestinian view of the US, read this from raaka (he has some links in the hypertext version. I'll just grab his text for below):
• If you’ve got some time on your hands and an understanding of Islam, read Bin Laden’s Declaration of War. He spells out from a fundamentalist’s perspective reasons to attack “infidels”.
(I don’t agree with him at all, but understanding other people’s perspectives is very important.)
That page also has an intro on Laden. He made his millions ($300m, apparently) at his family’s construction company.
• Laden was hand-picked by the CIA to funnel American resources into Afghanistan during Russia’s decade long invasion. More than likely, he learned a lot about clandestine actions under CIA tutelage.
• Sadam Hussein and his family are not popular. He is comparable to Stalin and Hitler, occasionally purging his lieutenants, murdering his own people and forcing strict allegiance. Upper-class homes in Baghdad display portraits of Sadam. Often, not by choice.
Hussein recieved massive foreign aid during the Iran-Iraq War from the US. During the height of Sadam’s atrocities against Kurds and Shiites he continued to get US aid. After invading Kuwait, the atrocities were used by Bush Sr. as a reason to attack Iraq. This conflict wasn’t pointed out by the mainstream press.
A popular uprising intent on deposing Hussein asked the US for access to captured Iraqi weaponry. The Bush Sr. Administration made motions that any popular uprising would get help. This turned out not to be true, and the uprising was quelled.
This makes it look further that the US supports evil dictators, but has it in for Arab people.
• Ten years after “liberating Kuwait” the US stands nearly alone in the international arena on continued sanctions against Iraq. Britain has publicly stated that the sanctions have gone on long enough, but continue to give tepid military support for them. The sanctions are a near perfect way of giving Hussein an iron-clasp on his country. Since Iraqis were impoverished during life without sanctions, they are living day-to-day with them. If someone has trouble finding food, they certainly aren’t going to have energy to fight a revolution.
• The US gives billions a year to Israel ($3b slated for 2001: $1.98b for military, $840m for “economic assistance”). This doesn’t include add-on packages and low-interest military loans.
• Palestinians live under a brutally oppressive government. The human rights violations include assasinations, collective punishment and torture. Which isn’t to say the actions Israel takes in retaliation to suicide bombings and the like aren’t warranted, only that they are looked upon — throughout the world, except in the US — as grossly excessive.
• Arafat, as leader of the PLO, is pretty much considered a crook by a significant portion of Palestinians. Last year, Middle Eastern leaders refused to give him access to a billion-dollar trust fund earmarked for Palestinian relief efforts due to his misuse of funds in the past. PLO elites build sea-side mansions while the people they supposedly represent live in squalor. The US only negotiates with Arafat and the PLO, which further alienates Palestinians.
• Palestinians have been without the right to self-determination for fifty years. Every peace plan the US has constructed in the last 30 does not include that right — which Americans consider birthright — despite unanimous international support for it. Only the US and Israel fight to keep Palestinians under Israeli rule.
• The US bombed Libya, Sudan and Afghanistan. The military called these attacks “retribution” and “pre-emptive strikes to guard against future attacks.” Countries other than the US that make pre-emptive strikes to guard against future attacks are branded “terrorists” and called “evil”.
Consider the US has a ten-year-old “contingency” base in Saudi Arabia to enforce sanctions against Iraq.
Consider Israel lays claim to religious areas also holy to Muslims.
Consider, possibly unwittingly, US foreign policy consistently aligns against Arab Muslims.
Consider extremist Arab Muslims are blamed for the Beriut, Kenya, Tanzania, WTC ‘93, USS Cole and WTC/DC attacks.
Now, why would any extremist Muslim consider America a target?
The attack against New York and Washington was directed at civilians and is completely indefensible. Those responsible should be brought out and punished for their crimes. After that task is completed, we, as citizens, must make our leaders accountable for the international climate they create. Otherwise, sure as the sun, we will be attacked again.