If you listen to the outraged wails of leftists and Muslims, you might reasonably be under the impression that the United States is in the business of persecuting Muslims. The reality is radically different. If anything American policies should have made us the Muslims' best friends.
Until 9/11, the United States had never invaded and occupied a single sovereign Muslim country. The closest it came was the First Barbary War in 1801, in response to piracy against American vessels and the liberation of North Africa from Hitler's Vichy allies in WW2. And of course the misguided attempt at participating in a peacekeeping force in Beirut.
Not only that, America had developed much of the oil wealth that would keep the Gulf States in gold, skyscrapers and slave labor. And when the leaders of the Gulf States seized American oil companies, the United States government did not fight a war, as England did when Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, instead the US government paid oil companies to take the loss... out of taxpayer money.
The fear of a Communist takeover helped turn America into one of the biggest patrons of Muslim countries, from the Middle East to Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan. America willingly closed its eyes to Indonesia's genocide in East Timor, and even supplied them with weapons. America provided the weapons and funding that Pakistan would channel into the Taliban. And naturally we ignored Turkey's pesky little genocide of the Armenians and avoided ever discussing the issue.
So by 9/11, not only had America repeatedly sent soldiers to fight and die for Muslims in two wars... but it had robbed its own taxpayers rather than challenge them over the nationalization of the assets of American companies, and had proved willing to aid and even overlook the genocides of Muslim regimes. So naturally by the warped logic of leftists and Muslims... American foreign policy was "oppressive" to Muslims.
The root of the leftist critique of American foreign policy typically rests on two planks. The first blames America for supporting dictators in Muslim countries. This would be a more legitimate critique if there were any free and democratic Muslim countries around. As it was, America simply supported whoever was in power and wasn't allied with the USSR. This might have been an immoral policy, but during the Cold War it was a continuation of the same kind of thinking that caused the US to ally with the USSR against Nazi Germany.
The left's implication was always that by supporting dictators in Muslim countries, the United States was preventing the rise of more legitimate governments. It is not clear where these legitimate governments were or how they were ever supposed to arise. Syria is a dictatorship without us ever supporting Assad. Egypt was a dictatorship when it was allied with the USSR under Nasser. It is still a dictatorship now that it is allied with us under Mubarak. When the Shah of Iran was overthrown, the left wing appeasement corps working for Jimmy Carter decided not to interfere. The result was not a democratic government or even a leftist one, but a radical Islamist one under the Ayatollahs.
The second plank is of course Israel. The United States did decide to finally cultivate Israel as an ally back under JFK in the 60's. This was in sharp contrast to far longer US ties with the House of Saud or the Eisenhower Administration's willingness to destroy England's economy in order to protect Egypt's nationalization of the Suez Canal. And the United States has provided Israel with billions in aid. As well as providing billions in aid to Egypt and Jordan. Not to mention the aid given to Turkey and Pakistan. Or the cost of the first Gulf War undertaken to liberate Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein.
As a matter of fact the US relationship with the Saudis has been far more uncritical and generous than with Israel. At no point in time has the US tried to force the Saudis to stop treating half their population like cattle, end their dependence on Southeast Asian slave labor... or even done much of anything for US citizens who find themselves in Saudi jails on trumped up charges.
There is of course no doubt that US arms sales to Israel have angered Muslim nations, just as US arms sales to Taiwan have angered China. But at the same time there is also no doubt that the same general sense of hostility would exist in both cases, even if the US is able to sell out Israel as successfully as it sold out Taiwan.
In any case, to argue that American support for Israel oppresses Muslims, is to argue that American support for any country that Muslims have a grievance against-- which at latest count includes a sizable portion of the globe, oppresses Muslims. As such the United States would not be allowed to have any allies that have not first been approved by Muslims. Which would turn over American foreign policy to Islam.
If America is forbidden from allying with both Muslim countries and non-Muslim countries, that Muslims oppose, then American foreign policy would be in the hands of Muslims. Which is exactly what Muslims and their American spokesmen accuse Jews of.
Furthermore, the countries hostile to Israel are the very same Arab dictatorships that we are being hypocritically assailed for supporting. Which means that this plank also resolves itself into one of those arguments that we can't win. If we support existing Muslim governments, we're oppressing Muslims. If we interfere with them, we're oppressing Muslims. If we support non-Muslim governments in countries that have Muslim minorities... you guessed it, we're oppressing Muslims.
When the tide of logic passes, it becomes quite clear that both these planks are hollow and rotten. They represent Catch 22 arguments in which America loses no matter what it does. If we support Arab countries, then we're upholding their tyrannical regimes. If we fail to support them, then we're hostile to the Muslim world. If we create a Palestinian Arab state, then we're to blame because it's not big enough. If we wash our hands of the whole affair, then we're isolationists.
The bottom line is that there is absolutely nothing that we can do that will not lead to accusations that we are oppressing Muslims, followed by terrorist attacks.
But the fact of the matter is that the United States has done more for the Muslim world than anyone else. When Afghanistan was invaded by the USSR, no Arab country stepped forth in their defense. Instead they all remained silent because of their own Soviet ties. Instead it was the United States that sent arms and advisors to the Mujahadeen.
After the overthrow of the Shah, the United States could have provided legitimacy to any one of a number of factions, instead Carter decided to legitimate the Ayatollah Khomeni. The result was the first Shiite Islamist regime in the world. And it would not have happened had the United States not undermined the Shah and then treated Khomeni as Iran's future under the Green Belt Strategy.
When Saddam invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia, it was the United States that led a coalition to liberate Kuwait and back Saddam down. When Yugoslavia tried to preserve itself against Kosovar Albanian Muslim terror, it was the United States that bombed Yugoslavia, and handed the Muslim Albanians their victory. And after decades of Soviet backed terrorism by Arafat had failed to destroy Israel, it was the United States that stepped in and muscled Israel into providing him with a state.
Indeed the rise of Islamism can be credited to American foreign policy. While the USSR tried to back Arab Socialist states such as Saddam's Iraq, or Assad's Syria or Nasser's Egypt-- the United States embraced Islamist tyrannies such as the House of Saud and General Zia-ul-Haq in Pakistan. We backed the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan over the Soviet puppet regime. We continued funding Arafat's Fatah, even as it became one of the world's leading innovators in suicide bombings and martyrdom. With Kosovo, we helped create the first Muslim state in Europe, and a direct route for smuggling slaves and drugs into Western Europe, as we fought on the same side as Al Queda and Iran... against our former Serbian allies.
If anything the Muslims of the world should be getting down on their knees and thrusting their asses into the air five times a day to thank us, not Allah. Allah did not provide the Stingers with which to shoot down Russian aircraft, or fund the ISI's terrorist factories and back a regime which all but legalized the rape of women. Allah did not send thousands of aircraft to bomb Serbian civilians until they finally gave in and signed on to the Muslim rape of Kosovo. Nor did Allah's tanks protect Mecca and more importantly Riyadh from coming under the jurisdiction of Uday and Qusay Hussein.
Finally America provided a hospitable home for Muslim immigrants, giving them profitable employment, letting them bring along their entire clans and not asking too many questions about the money they sent to "charities" back home. And for all this, we were repaid with 3000 dead in a single day. Nor for this alone, but also because we had helped liberate Afghanistan and protect Saudi Arabia. For all the countless billions spent and the lives lost protecting Muslims, for being an open people willing to take in the stranger and ask no questions, four of our planes were hijacked (a feat previously held by Arafat's goons, who had already received a state from us) and aimed at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the White House.
Just as we're doing right now. Over and over again. When a Muslim screaming Allah Akbar opens fire, we assure ourselves that most Muslims are good people. By contrast when a Muslim gets a flat tire, he blames the CIA. Despite everything that America has done for Muslims-- our only reward has been hatred and ingratitude. Maybe instead of thinking of what America owes them, it's time that Muslims everywhere thought about what they owe America.