Imagine that when Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered in 1994, police had a prime suspect in O.J. Simpson, but they completely ignored the fact that O.J. and Nicole were once married, dismissed previous domestic violence charges against the football star, overlooked the troubles that followed the pair’s divorce, ignored conventional wisdom regarding crimes of passion, and came up with the assertion that Simpson murdered the pair because he was an anti-Semitic misogynist who hated the concept of freedom. Would anyone consider this good or even competent police work?

Welcome to U.S. foreign policy.

Since 9/11, our leaders have given every reason for Islamic terrorism except those which include the hard evidence. As the former head of the CIA unit tracking Osama Bin Laden, Michael Scheuer writes, “On no other foreign policy issue since the Cold War’s end has the truth been so easy to establish on the basis of hard facts but so hard for Americans to see — primarily because their leaders eagerly distort or ignore the truth. At day’s end, each (leader) is ready to intervene abroad to champion abstractions such as democracy rather than U.S. interests, each is ready to spend the lives of soldiers and Marines to do so, and each advances the Islamist cause by failing to see that Muslim hatred is motivated by U.S. interventionism more than any other factor.”

As a 22-year veteran of the most hands-on terrorist-monitoring unit of the CIA, one might think Scheuer would know a thing or two about what motivates radical Islam.

Libertarian commentator Lew Rockwell puts Scheuer’s contention in an everyday context, “It is a normal part of human experience that if you occupy, meddle, bully, and coerce, people who are affected by it all are going to get angry. You don’t have to be Muslim to get the point. The problem is that most of the American people simply have no idea what has been happening in the last 10 years. All during the 1990s, the U.S. attempted to starve the population of Iraq, with the result of hundreds of thousands of deaths. Madeleine Albright said on national television that the deaths of 500,000 children (the UN’s number) was ‘worth it’ in order to achieve our aims, which were ostensibly the elimination of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Yes, that annoyed a few people.”

Rockwell underscores Scheuer’s point. American intervention overseas, from never-ending sanctions on Iraq to permanent military bases on the Arabian Peninsula, is without question the primary cause for 9/11 and the current terrorist threat, a point the 9/11 Commission Report also made perfectly clear.

But this is not the answer Americans are used to hearing. Returning from his 11th trip to Iraq, Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote in the March 25 edition of The Post & Courier, “This war is an ideological struggle between extremism and moderation … The only way to go backwards now is for Congress to undercut what is working. Unfortunately, that is what many in Congress continue to do by pushing withdrawal plans. I hope they fail.”

Americans should hope Graham fails. And John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and anyone else — Republican or Democrat — who refuses to recognize that America’s health and security depends on getting troops out of the Middle East as soon as possible. Temporarily stabilizing the chaos in Iraq with a surge, however successful, does nothing to address the root cause of Islamic terrorism, any more than stopping a prison riot would do anything to address the root cause of crime.

Scheuer’s statement that our current foreign policy “advances the Islamist cause by failing to see that Muslim hatred is motivated by U.S. interventionism” should be easily understood by any fan of Law & Order, where detectives solve crimes by gathering evidence and looking for motives.

America’s detectives, namely men like Scheuer, have gathered the evidence and determined the motive for Islamic terrorism. Our leaders have completely ignored this evidence, claiming instead that terrorists hate our freedom, when in reality they just hate our foreign policy. If the main goal of terrorists was indeed to destroy liberal, Western democracy, then places like Sweden should be their primary target. And yet, they are not, as Swedes don’t have massive armies stationed on Muslim land. Coincidence? Not according to the CIA.

Meanwhile, those candidates who promise to be the toughest on terror are — by ignoring what causes it — the ones most likely to inspire another attack.

Catch Southern Avenger commentaries every Tuesday and Friday at 7:50 a.m. on the “Morning Buzz with Richard Todd” on 1250 AM WTMA.

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