Saturday, February 25, 2006


A reaction to the Dubai port sale from those in favor of it is to blame the crowd that is alarmed by the sale as affected by Islamaphobia. And I tend to agree.

But why has so much of America become afflicted by Islamaphobia? The gut answer is 9/11, but my feeling is that it is deeper than that. It is our reaction to 9/11, or at least the reaction by the Bush Administration to 9/11.

Certainly we needed to become more aware of the dangers of Al Qaeda type terrorism and defend against it. One of those ways was suppose to be Homeland Security. HSD was supposed to improve or defenses to terrorism. Yet here we are full circle. We are alarmed that Dubai is purchasing many ports on the East Coast. The 9/11 Commission gave our port security a grade of a D- and that was mostly because we only check about 10% of the containers coming into the country. That percent hasn't changed, so the alarm of an Islamic country taking control of the port business again points out the lack of improvement in port security. It really doesn't matter who owns the ports, but whether we have made progress in security, which we haven't.

Understandably one reaction to 9/11 was to go after Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, most people in this country had no objection to the Afghanistan War. But Iraq? There is still only the small excuse that Iraq was somehow part of a broad War on Terrorism. Now a few years into the Iraq War, most Americans still don't understand the Middle East, Islam, the difference between Shiites and Sunnis, to the point that the recent events of the destruction of the Mosque outside of Baghdad means little to the uninformed American except that somehow the Islamic people are nuts.

George Bush pushed us into the Iraq War and had to get enough Americans to believe that the Middle East needed America to set some things straight. To do that Bush had to play on the inner emotions of Americans using various means. To some he used the noble cause of promoting democracy. To some it was the use of fear of Islamic fundementalism. To some (like me) there was no argument that was believable coming from Bush. But the result of Bush's efforts a few years down the road is that many Americans have tilted toward an Islamaphobia, a fear of anything Islamic.

Phobias toward countries that we are at war with has occured often in our history. The best examples were the Japs and Krauts from World War II. Phobias of Japanese and Germans was rampant to the point that we had interment camps for Americans of those descents. Phobia toward Islam is evident in Guantanemo Bay where we have a prison camp holding Arabs that for the most part have nothing to do with some war on terrorism. Most Americans hide their head in the sand and ignore Guantanemo Bay, ignore the holding of people without trials.

Yes, America is afflicted by Islamaphobia. There probably will be no healing of that phobia until we withdraw from Iraq. We have to get most Americans back to doing what they do best, ignoring the rest of the world. Having the daily Iraq War footage only intensifies the phobia.


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