Wednesday, August 27, 2008

They Hate Our Freedom

Sometimes I just think I'm in bizarro world. James White provided a link to a transcript between the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, and the judge in his case, William Young. I think White regards Young's comments as profound or something. Here's a quick summary.

Reid: I am at war with America because you killed 2 million Iraqi kids.

Judge Young: Nope. You hate our freedom.

Me: WHAT?!?

What Reid did was wrong. The passengers on the plane that he tried to blow up were not responsible for the sanctions imposed on Iraq. But let's face facts. The U.S. did impose sanctions on Iraq that had the effect of starving a lot of kids. Maybe not 2 million. But it was a lot. Bush prior to the invasion touted the U.N. figures of 5000 children per month dying due to lack of food and medicine as justification for the invasion (which would be a pretty decent reason if not for the fact that the children were dying because the U.S. and Britain imposed the sanctions.) Whether this was the right thing to do in our effort to remove Saddam or not, we have to admit one thing. It is quite naturally going to make some people mad. It won't matter if they are Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, or atheist. Starve lots of kids (at least hundreds of thousands by any measure) and some people will get mad, and maybe even violent.

To pretend that Reid really hates us because we're free is insanity. How can we hope to solve the problem of violence from those in the Middle East when we won't admit the real reasons for their rage, even when they expressly tell us?


HispanicPundit said...

Did you see the Mansions Saddam had built for himself in Iraq?

How many more of those do you need to see before you conclude that it was Saddam who starved the kids...not the embargo.

Saddam clearly had the money even with the embargo...more money would have just meant a richer Saddam.

Jon said...

Saddam starved kids too. I'm not denying that. I'm not even arguing that the sanctions regime was wrong. I understand why we did it, and I know nobody was doing it because they wanted to see kids starve. It was done in hopes that it would bring internal pressure that would topple Saddam's regime. I understand that logic, though I do think that's a poor way to bring about regime change.

My point here is, don't deny Reid's motivations when he tells them to you. Don't act like our actions don't motivate him. He knows his own mind better than Judge Young. He thinks we starved kids, and he's saying that's why he did it. You can argue with him if you want and show that it was really Saddam's fault if you want. But don't tell him that this is not really his reason, and that the reason is really just that he hates freedom.

jason said...

I agree with your point here Jon. Impugning someone's motives often just makes the one doing the impugning look silly. It reminds me of theists asking atheists why they do not believe in god and then rejecting the atheists' response immediately because they know the REAL reason: the atheist just wants to sin.

Or maybe you just hate our freedoms...

Vinny said...


I'm not sure you are giving Judge Young a fair shake. This is not George Bush paying empty lip service to freedom while authorizing torture and arbitrary incarceration. "You hate our freedom" was a little hokey, but I thought Judge Young gave a nice summary of everything that the American system did to assure Reid a fair trial.

Steven Carr said...

The judge is obviously an idiot who does not listen to people who are trying to kill Americans.

'Know thy enemy' is a good rule that the judge should bear in mind.

If somebody is trying to kill you, find out what makes them want to do that.

Assuming you want to stay alive , that is.

But do Americans really care about their security?

Jon said...

Vinny, I agree that good things should be said of our criminal justice system. Reid does have lawyers working aggressively on his behalf, and that's better than a lot of other countries.

My problem is that when someone like him or OBL tells us why he's attacking us we pretend that this is really not his reason.

Again, this is not to say Reid does not deserve punishment. He's obviously a danger to U.S. citizens and most be locked up. But let's acknowledge his reasons and use this knowledge to inform us about our foreign policy decisions. Maybe we should be intervening all over the world like we're doing now. But let's understand the consequences so we can make an informed decision about whether or not we really want to do that.

Vinny said...

You are absolutely right about those deciding foreign policy, but I just wanted to point out that Young was a judge sentencing a criminal. It is in fact part of his job to evaluate the defendant's claimed motive to determine whether it should influence his sentence. If he doesn't buy the defendant's explanation, he has to say so. So while I agree that "they hate our freedom" is jingoistic nonsense and deliberate obsfucation as a part of foreign policy, I think it is harmless puffery as part of a sentencing decision.