Larry Elder
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We "need to understand the mind of a terrorist," goes the refrain. No, we do not need to understand the mind of a terrorist so much as we need to understand the mind of an Arab Islamic "terrorist-victicrat." Following the bombings of two American embassies in Africa, Time magazine interviewed Osama bin Laden. Time asked, "What can the U.S. expect from you now?" Bin Laden said, "Any thief or criminal or robber who enters another country in order to steal should expect to be exposed to murder at any time. For the American forces to expect anything from me, personally, reflects a very narrow perception. Muslims are angry. The Americans should expect reactions from the Muslim world that are proportionate to the injustice they inflict." Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, a man bin Laden admits knowing, serves a life sentence for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Before his sentencing, Yousef told the court, "The government in its summations and opening said that I was a terrorist. Yes, I am a terrorist, and I am proud of it. And I support terrorism so long as it was against the United States Government and against Israel, because you are more than terrorists; you are the ones who invented terrorism and use it every day. You are butchers, liars and hypocrites." This angry, historically warped worldview spells one thing: victim. The West, according to bin Laden, assumed its military, financial and cultural dominance through cheating, lying, "exploiting" the less privileged, corruption, stealth and brutality. Does the United States come to the table with completely clean hands? Of course not. Name a country that can. The 4,000 years of recorded human history show conquest, invasion, commerce, religious conversion and war. The Middle East is no exception. In "Conquests and Cultures," part of a trilogy on the history and culture of the world, author Thomas Sowell says, "The Ottoman Turks became Moslems after conquering Islamic nations, as the Slavs became Christians after invading Christian Europe, as the Manchus adopted Chinese culture wholesale even before conquering China, and as the ancient Romans absorbed the culture of the Greeks whom they conquered." Osama bin Laden and his followers call America "the great Satan." But, according to Sowell, "By the time the Europeans discovered the Western Hemisphere at the end of the 15th century, Moslem merchants already dominated the slave trade in West Africa, as they did in East Africa and North Africa. The Islamic jihads of the 18th and 19th centuries created new Moslem states in West Africa, which in turn promoted enslavement on a larger scale. Altogether, between 1650 and 1850, at least 5 million slaves were shipped from West Africa alone." And while slavery ended in the West, says Sowell, "In some Islamic countries in Africa and the Middle East, slavery lasted even longer. Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Sudan continued to hold slaves past the middle of the 20th century." Bin Laden's followers speak of American imperialism, the bombs we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the enslavement of blacks, American support of Israel, and our support, for national security reasons, of unpopular regimes in the Middle East. But from the end of the Second World War until several years later, America stood in sole possession of the mightiest, most destructive weapon known to humankind -- the atomic bomb. Did America use it to conquer and dominate its neighbors? No. Despite anticipated hostilities with the Soviet Union, did Harry Truman decide to "get it over with" by attacking that country? No. The gap between America and the world's second mightiest country is the widest in history. Yet America gives more aid, provides more humanitarian relief, gives more "debt relief," and continuously demonstrates a restraint of power historically unique. Osama bin Laden considers himself in the Muslim world a victim of an unclean, unjust super-power. But, as Sowell points out, "Morally reprehensible behavior has been all too widespread among all branches of the human race, rather than being localized in those who happened to achieve greater success in conquest or in economic activities ... Once again, the mundane reality is that productivity creates wealth, so that trade with and investment in more productive countries is a far more important source of wealth than 'exploitation' of the Third World, however that elusive term might be defined." So as we learn more about the mind of a "terrorist-victicrat," let us demand that they learn more about the real reasons for the West's dominance: respect for private property, the rule of law, individual rights, no state-sponsored religion, a Constitution that limits the power of the government, free markets and international trade. Anger, bitterness and a warped and unbalanced view of history constitutes the mindset of a "terrorist-victicrat." Can one reason with that kind of worldview? Only a fool sits around waiting for the answer.
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Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.