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a simplified timeline...,
On this week's Bill Maher/Real Time there was a pretty lame replay of the Hitchens-Galloway debate (of which: surely we deserve better, then again, perhaps not),
with a BBC reporter stuck between them that I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for.
Hitchens made some sort of moonbat comment referring to Indonesian public opinion regarding the US
(dis)intervention in East Timor - we sent about 200 troops in with Australian peacekeeping forces,
but more importantly severed our military ties
in 1999 with TNI and its rampaging death squads that was rather more crucial than the peacekeeping force. We stopped intervening before we intervened, you might say.
Hitchens argued, roughly, that Indonesian opinion of the US has declined not because of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq but because of our withdrawal of
support for Indonesian death-squads in East Timor and with them the military dictatorship in Jakarta. Here's a quick look at the numbers
from PEW polling over the years of the world's most populous Muslim country, etc.:
- Favorable view of the US: 75%
- Favorable view of the US: 75%
- Favorable view of the US: 61%
- Favorable view of Americans: 65%
- Favorable view of the US: 15%
- Favorable view of Americans: 56%
- Favorable view of the US: 38%.
- Favorable view of Americans: 46%
That's the thanks you get for spending
hundreds of millions of dollars on
propaganda campaigns. The recovery in 2005 is largely thanks to Tsunami aid,
but even then opinion
continued a devisive trend as the unfavorable view of Americans themselves slid towards the
unfavorable views of US policy, indicating a deepening of what might qualify as actual anti-Americanism. As
the Wall Street Journal reported
in February of 2004 Indonesians are angry about more than just Iraq, but East Timor doesn't register:
This [downward trend] has multiple causes, including the war in Iraq. But among them is a widely held view here that in the aftermath of the Suharto dictatorship -- a time of crisis but also of promise -- the U.S. threw its weight behind its business interests to the detriment of Indonesians. ...
In Indonesia's case, "protecting the interests of major investors and creditors was at the center of the table in everything we did," says Edmund McWilliams, who was chief political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Jakarta from 1996 to 1999. "Concerns about stability made it to the margins. Concerns about human rights, democracy, corruption never made it onto the table at all."
The related concern, so far as terrorist threats to America go, would be if Jemaah Islamiyah target the "far enemy" rather than the "near enemy". And for Indonesia and our own sake we should be concerned that anger at America might channel into enough support for that fundamentalist movement to plunge Southeast Asia into the darkness of religious empire.
When Hitchens the moonbat hawk brings in details like this or, say, his constant repition about Zarqawi's bases in Northern Iraq (as evidence of Al-Qaeda's partnership with Saddam - said bases were in the US protectorate/Kurdish autonomous zone that the US opted to not attack because it would weaken the case for regime change, etc. etc.) he's in no uncertain terms displaying the utmost contempt for his audience by telling them extremely disengenuous lies that he certainly knows are disengenuous lies, presumably with the understanding that his new fanboys are likely to buy it. Happens to be a level of contempt I share, as they happen to buy it.