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Arabs hate us and we don't know why - Bob Paslay

ABC interviews vendors in open markets in Baghdad and they report the No. 1-selling DVD is the beheading of Americans taken from Arab Web sites.

This just further bolsters my belief that the people in Iraq, the people of Saudi Arabia and a number of other Arab nations just don't like us.

They may endure us a little, but deep down like Shakespeare's character Iago, they hate us.

A great deal of it has to do with our unflinching support of Israel, regardless of what Israel does. It was an invention of America, and the Israeli lobby in America is powerful.

But this hatred of America in Arab countries goes deeper than this.

They don't like our ways of life. We are to them, the Ugly Americans. Remember when Saudi Arabia was being saved from the threat of a future invasion by American troops driving Iraq out of Kuwait. Saudi Arabia still enforced all of its rules, like women being veiled and no adult magazines like Playboy allowed in the country for the troops.

Much of the terrorist activity has a Saudi Arabian connection, like Osama bin Laden, who was born there and drew his money from there. Remember the gunning down of the kidnappers by Saudi intelligence. I still suspect they were gunning them down to silence them, more than killing them because they had to.

In the Iraqi prison scandal, I don't think most Americans had any appreciation of how deeply offensive the pictures from that prison were. They offended many of us because no human being should treat another human being that way, leading them around on leashes, stripping them and making them stand in stupid poses. This doesn't include the horrendous treatment that was so bad that Congress wouldn't release the photos, but apparently included sodomizing and killing people.

It offended us on the grounds that Americans shouldn't act that way and no prison official should treat a prisoner in a dehumanizing way, whether it is in Iraq or in our own country.

Arabs were fire-breathing offended because we broke so many of their deeply held rules, like men being seen naked by women. (The military knew this would humiliate the prisoners and that is why they did it. I don't buy the rogue soldiers doing it on their own cover story pushed by the military.)

No proud sovereign people want another country invading their country and telling their people where they can go, what they can do and what they can think.

It was ugly when Germany overran Poland and Czechoslovakia and it is just as ugly from their point of view when the big powerful United States invaded their sovereign nation.

In the past, you got in a squabble with a neighboring country and you invaded. It is only in recent times when you invade on philosophical reasons. Our abortive invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs was like this. Vietnam was like this. Russia's invasion of Afghanistan and our invasion of Iraq were this way. You make up a laundry list against the country and you invade.

Deep down it has offended every Iraqi. Those puppets who we installed as leaders can say otherwise. I have friends in the South who would personally strangle Gen. Sherman if he were alive today because of the humiliation inflicted on Southerners by the invaders. This, even though we were at war at the time, this even though it happened 140 years ago.

Iraqi historians will write the history of the Iraqi invasion for the Iraqi people. They will not paint us in any good light, I believe. When the total number of children, women and other innocent Iraqis who have been killed is finally tallied up, it could be an astounding number. Iraqis who are living with this war know or suspect that innocents are dying and it further fuels their hatred of us.

I don't think this country will ever understand the Arab mind, the Arab point of view. And thus we will never know or even suspect how hated we are in the Arab world. We will never understand why someone is willing to strap bombs to themselves or load their car with them and blow up American troops because we will never understand the depth of their hatred for us. Because we live in this country and are able to move around freely, sleep without any government thugs banging on our doors at night, dream a dream and work to accomplish it and know what nice people we are, what a caring people Americans are, we will never be able to understand why those thousands of miles away think of us as devils.

And because we will never understand these factors we are destined to continue to make mistakes and missteps in the Arab world.

Bob Paslay is assistant managing editor of the News Daily and Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 257.