RIFA, I know you don't like me, or my opinions, but I'm going to take the high road here and say I appreciate your long and detailed response and I'll answer a few of those points you brought up here, even though I'm sure it won't make any difference to you or change your mind.
bin Laden's words on why he has declared war specifically against the United States:
“The call to wage war against America was made because America has spearheaded the crusade against the Islamic nation, sending tens of thousands of its troops to the land of the two Holy Mosques (Saudi Arabia) over and above its meddling in its affairs and its politics, and its support of the oppressive, corrupt and tyrannical regime that is in control. These are the reasons behind the singling out of America as a target” (Pape 2005 p. 119).
Of course there has been terrorism in the past for centuries. But I'm speaking of suicide terrorism in particular, and that of radical Islamic terrorism against the United States. Yes, these terrorists have a religious ideology that states that western civilization isn't compatible to their view of religion, and that they do not belong on their holy sites in the Middle East. Religion does play a factor there. But again, specific to Islamic fundamentalism, they declared no war against the West and no suicide attacks against them until the United States began a heavy military presence in the region. From what I read, you don't deny this, but you basically state that we the empire (the U.S) have a right to expand our power around the world? And no where have I ever stated that al-Qaeda and its attacks are legitimate. Of course killing innocent people isn't legitimate in any circumstance. I'm just giving you the motivating factors to why seemingly ordinary people (and yes, many of them are very ordinary before they join the movement, just like the Boston bombers were very much ordinary before becoming radicalized) would strap bombs to themselves against a country thousands of miles away.
You stated that I should not ignore the history of al-Qaeda and how it formed...I haven't, I have written about it, but for obvious reasons, I didn't want to post my entire 40 page paper here, but here is an excerpt about the formation of al-Qaeda:
The group’s origins trace back to the jihad against Soviet invasion in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Famously, the United States intervened in this conflict as well, siding with the “mujahideen,” also commonly referred to as “the freedom fighters.” The jihad against Soviet occupation was successful, and even though the United States offered a hand in their victory, mainly through the transfer of arms and financial resources, the jihad against the United States was soon to follow.
Al-Qaeda’s rise can be traced back to the Afghan war of the 1980s, and the Muslim fighters that coalesced to ward off an occupying force in the Soviet Union. The United States did arm and financially assist these fighters against Soviet invasion. So in many respects, the United States’ intervention led to what many refer to as “blowback,” or unintended consequences. However, in this particular instance, intervention in that conflict didn’t necessarily create Al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri did indeed create Al-Qaeda during the conflict, but these fighters did not simply defeat the Soviets and then “pivot and aim its U.S.-provided training and material at its former infidel benefactors” (Pape 2010 p. 102). Instead, the terrorist organization had deeply invested roots in an Islamic social movement, and the Arab faction formed with imported members of the Islamic jihad of Egypt, many of which were not even a part of the fight against the Soviets. So in short, the Afghan freedom fighters and their movement merely helped to provide the ability for bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to meet and form the terrorist organization known as Al Qaeda.
However, it would take something highly significant to mobilize this group and recruit new and passionate fighters. This is where the foreign occupation of the United States and the beginning of a highly strategic terrorist campaign would collide. According to former CIA Operations Officer Marc Sageman, “The 1990-1991 Gulf War brought U.S. troops to the Arabian Peninsula. The movement that became the global Salafi jihad might have faded but for the continued presence of these troops. The Salafi mujahedin interpreted this presence as an infidel invasion of the Land of the Two Holy Places. It became the focus of Salafi resentment against the West and breathed new life into the movement” (Sageman 2004). This statement from a highly decorated former CIA officer is eye-opening and reasserts the theory that foreign occupation drives terrorism. His first-hand experience working closely with the mujahedin from 1987 to 1989 makes his statement even more credible and reliable.
Let's look at Michael Scheuer, who was the head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, who hunted bin Laden for years and knows him as well as probably anyone in the world who wasn't directly affiliated with him. Scheuer states, with 100% certainty that, American experts will mislead their audience by claiming that religion has emerged as the predominant impetus for terrorist attacks rather than acknowledging that U.S. foreign policy, from the perspective of millions of Muslims it directly affects, is interpreted as an attack on Islam and Muslims and is drawing an armed response as a matter of self-defense and scriptural requirement.....The motivation for attacking America comes directly from the mouth of the perpetrators, the belief that U.S. policy threatens Islam’s survival. This makes “America’s Islamist enemies infinitely more lethal, patient, and enduring than a foe who is motivated simply by hate for elections, R-rated movies, and gender equality” (Scheuer 2007 p. 296).
You preemptively state that my information is misleading or half-truths yet you still can't point out one mistake I've made, you just make general statements. I pointed out a specific instance in the 80's with Hezbollah that gives the demographic information of the suicide terrorists, and that information dispels any notion that they are motivated by religious animosity. Christians were among the suicide terrorists, as were 71% of those who identified with communism. Only 1 in 5 identified with Islam. Nothing about those statistics is misleading.
My argument has always been that their recruitment of individuals and their main objective has been to inflict pain on America because of their continued presence in the Middle East and their bombings that have resulted in innocent civilians. It's not about disagreeing with our way of life (even though in their view the two aren't compatible), because that's not enough for them to recruit tens of thousands of indivduals to strap bombs to themselves. That's fine if you disagree with me and the data sets that I provide (which you still won't refute or attempt to prove how they're wrong, you'll just say they are and move on), but do you know more than the head of the CIA's bin Laden unit? He agrees with my view on the subject.
So RIFA, it's unlikely that either of us is going to change the others opinion on the matter, and I welcome you challenging specific data and numbers that I've supplied if you think they're inaccurate or purposely misleading, but for the sake of this thread, it's probably better that the two of us squash our banter with each other.