Watching Fox News’s recent coverage of the Islamic State’s Twitter-hack left me shaking my head in disbelief, as usual. The latest act alleged to have been carried out by IS is the group’s takeover of several Twitter accounts belonging to the wives of US military servicemen. Among the threatening tweets issued by IS through the hacked accounts were comments like: “You think you’re safe but you’re not,” “IS is already here,” and “We’re watching you” (issued specifically to Michelle Obama).
The IS tweet receiving the least attention from American media outlets appears to be the most substantive: “While your president and your husband are killing our brothers in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan we’re coming for you.” In fact, it is the only tweet in this series including content beyond ambiguous threats. Despicable as it is to those of us who abhor violence, the comment is revealing and deserves the close attention of American policymakers. Yet, it got no such attention from the American government or media. They preferred to speculate on whether IS really might be around the corner.
The tweet is crucial in that it reveals one of the Islamic State’s main motivations — their desire to drive American military forces from their positions in nearly every Arab country. It’s the latest in a long line of such declarations from various Islamic factions offering the same rationale.
Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit, said about bin Laden: “[he] is remarkably eager for Americans to know why he doesn’t like us, what he intends to do about it and then following up and doing something about it in terms of military actions.” Bin Laden laid out his motivations directly to the American public in a letter. He cited, among other reasons for fighting, the US government’s continuing support of Israel’s ethnic cleansing in Palestine, the US government’s wars in Muslim lands like Somalia and Iraq, and the US government’s repression of Muslims via Middle East puppet regimes. Notice a recurring theme here? Bin Laden’s grievances were with the US government.
Yes, bin Laden does attribute some responsibility to American taxpayers for making “their” government’s actions possible. This should not come as a shocking revelation. In any government war, the enemy’s source of funding is a primary target. For this very reason, the US government has made it a crime to provide financial support to those it deems terrorists. So it should come as no surprise that al Qaeda or IS would play by the same rules of war, declaring the US government’s piggy bank fair game. Disturbing, yes. Surprising, no.
There is no denying that the American way of life also motivates the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and their brethren. In bin Laden’s letter, he also cites western culture’s repugnance to his perverted brand of Islam as a motivating factor. Unfortunately, in an effort to avoid blame, the US government and its mouthpiece media present only this factor. It is absolutely taboo to mention the murder and mayhem committed by US forces in Muslim lands as a contributing factor. As Scheuer said, trying to do so is like “yelling into a closet. The American people, God bless ‘em, are just so badly educated and unaware of how duplicitous their leaders are …” Time to listen and learn.
Chad Nelson, contributing author at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org), is an attorney based out of Providence, Rhode Island and is one of the world’s biggest Pearl Jam fans, despite their blind obedience to the Obama administration. Follow him on Twitter @cnels43.