Perhaps the massive bomb blast on the Indonesian island of Bali will cause some second thoughts -- or perhaps first thoughts -- by those who blamed the United States for having provoked the September 11th attacks by its actions and policies in the Middle East. Very few of those killed in Bali were Americans. What had all the Australians, Swedes, etc., done in the Middle East to provoke such terrorism against innocent tourists?
Recently Pakistani Christians were killed in a terrorist attack in Pakistan. What did Pakistani Christians have the power to do, even in Pakistan, much less in the Middle East?
In this era of non-judgmental mush, too many Americans have become incapable of facing the brutal reality of unprovoked hatred, based on envy, resentment and ultimately on a vicious urge to lash out against others for the pain of one's own insignificance. That has been a common thread in things as disparate as ghetto riots, two world wars, and now Islamic terrorism.
There are always rationalizations, ranging from a need for "living space" (Nazi Germany), natural resources (imperial Japan) to other reasonable-sounding excuses for age-old human evils. Today there are more Germans living -- prosperously -- in less space than in Hitler's time, and Japan has been able to buy natural resources far more cheaply than financing wars of conquest.
Langston Hughes, writing about a riot in his beloved Harlem back in the 1940s, was honest enough to have one of the characters in his story explain his resentment at a white-owned store when he had to "look at that window and say, 'It ain't mine! Bam-mmmm-mm-m!' and kick it out."
Langston Hughes did not blame this on any grievances or sufferings, though there were plenty of both, but on the mindless lashing out against others for one's own lack of fulfillment.
Someone has pointed out that most of the wars going on in the world today involve Islamic countries. Anyone familiar with history, or who has seen such things as the great mosque at Cordoba, knows that Islam was once one of the world's great civilizations -- as pre-eminent in science and scholarship as in military power and political hegemony over others.
But that time is now long gone. When do you hear about the Middle East these days, except when people are talking about oil or violence? What great scientific, medical, or other breakthroughs have come out of Islamic countries anywhere in recent times?