Forgot to link to VDH on Friday. The Marvelous One does it again.
"For a suicide bomber like Mohammed Atta, the more he bumped into the West and used its bounties, the more he despised us for his own hypocrisy of enjoying what his culture could not make or allow. There was no law forcing Mr. Atta to go study in Germany or visit the United States or to wear Western clothes and use our technology; he did so on his own free volition — and later despised himself for doing so."
Not sure RC2 agrees that we have nothing to apologize for. A friendly acquaintance, Prof. Grace Cadell, wrote a book about her time in Iran. She has a lovely passage in which she teaches a local mullah the Our Father, which he pronounces "beautiful." She had a quite positive experience in the town where she worked, and found no inherent hatred of Westerners or Christians there. What turned the people in her village were the numerous prissy Western aid-workers who wouldn't embrace friendly children, but turned up their noses and sent them home to wash, and whose solution to every medical problem was pushing birth control on the women. Grace's friends in the village came to hate these rich white women who so obviously looked down their noses at them.
In a little excerpt from the W. Times recently, someone wrote that 20 years ago, people in third world countries watched Little House on the Prairie and thought, "America is successful because her people are good, honest and work hard." Wish I could recall who wrote the article, but the point was that obviously the culture we export tells a very different story now. Even if most Americans are nothing like "Friends," how is anyone supposed to know that?
Still, VDH's larger point is correct --the leaders of the terrorists are not poor people who must be better understood. Like Osama bin Laden, many of them are western-educated and have adopted Western habits (W. Times reported an interesting incident early in the war in Afghanistan. American soldiers came upon a cave that had recently been evacuated--water still warm-- and they knew they were close on Osama's trail. Among the abandoned belongings of Osama's wives were birth control pills. So much for his pure Islamic attitudes.