Hate is a harsh word. As the counterpoint to love, hate reigns supreme among those emotions that the faith traditions seek to expunge from the human heart.
Hate we're told is the face of evil seen in plumes of smoke and ash on 911. Yet hate also serves a purpose for those adept at catalyzing conflicts.
In the aftermath of that horrific event, hate we're assured is a desired emotional state. Yet induced hate led us into two unwinnable wars. Hate may yet take us into Iran. Or Pakistan.
That hate is also bankrupting us both financially and psychologically.
This 4-part series identifies those who induce us to hate—and describes how.
As the "how" of hate mongering becomes transparent, its common source will become apparent. With transparency comes accountability. That's when you can watch for hate to emerge yet again to shield those who hide behind the toxic charge of "anti-Semitism."
With the shared knowledge of how hate is evoked and sustained, those provoked to hate can say with confidence "Never Again" to those complicit in inducing this evil.
Timing is Everything
Hate can be personal or geopolitical. Those who induced us to war in the Middle East made it personal. The murderous provocation of 911 was emotionally wrenching and intensely personal. As a people, our gut reaction ensured that support for the war would become widespread.
In the aftermath of that mass murder on U.S. soil, Martin Peretz, editor of The New Republic, summed up the situation: "We are all Israelis now."
So now we can all be persuaded to hate Muslims—even if we've never met one.
The shared mental environment was flooded with what then seemed like plausible justifications for the invasion of Iraq: Iraqi WMD; Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda; Iraqi meetings with Al Qaeda in Prague; Iraqi mobile biological weapons laboratories; Iraqi purchases of yellowcake uranium from Niger.
We now know that all those rationales were fixed around a preset agenda. Yet a critical mass of false beliefs sufficed to take us to war. For those skilled at inducing hate, consensus beliefs need not be true, they need only be credible—and only for a limited time.
With a corrupt consensus ruling the day, anyone offering proof that Iraq was not a threat was dismissed as unpatriotic or soft on terrorism.
This 911-prompted hate fest started with Iraq, a former ally, as a U.S.-led invasion kicked off The Clash of Civilizations. The bravado of "bring 'em on" quickly became "shock and awe" as a vicious invasion was pursued with a relaxed "Aw Shucks" attitude supported with a media campaign comprised of photo ops of a commander-in-chief nonchalantly clearing brush at his home in Crawford, Texas.
Brand America became "We're still the world's biggest and baddest in the war-waging business. Just you watch."
And watch us go broke as America led an Atlantic coalition that, like Israel, alienated much of the Muslim world.
An Invalid War
Plus there's another strategic problem: our reason for invading Iraq was "invalid." That's the assessment of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He should know. After the invasion, the invalid storyline quickly shifted to "Saddam the Evil Doer" as our rationale.
How can the rationale be invalid? If we're all Israelis now, surely that entitles us to invade lands belonging to Muslims, kill them, transform them into refugees and, with impunity, create widespread outrage among the broader Muslim population.
Let's fast-forward to nine years after a high-profile slaughter in Manhattan and survey our success in the stark light of hindsight. Are we more secure? Are we more prosperous? Are Americans facing a brighter future? Are our children proud of the outcome?
Israel has occupied Palestinian land for more than six decades. The September 13th issue of Time magazine captured the Israeli sentiment: "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace."
Israelis are too busy prospering to care. Outraged Muslims are a nuisance but they're now largely marginalized and, for the most part, manageable. Is that what happened to us? Have Americans become Israelis?
Not long ago an internal poll of friendly foreign intelligence agencies ranked our best and worst allies—those who behave as friends to the U.S. versus those who are clearly foes. Israel ranked dead last as a reliable ally. Though their brazen theft of technical and industrial secrets is well known among those in the know, the broader U.S. public remains deceived or in denial.
Most Americans still see Israel as an ally. The facts confirm that's a dangerous delusion.