'Muslim Opinion' Be Damned

In an astute new op-ed for the Ayn Rand Institute, Alex Epstein writes:

To listen to most of our foreign-policy commentators, the biggest problem facing America today–four years after Sept. 11th–is the fact that many Muslims are mad at us.
â??Whatever one’s views on the [Iraq] war,â? writes a New York Times columnist, â??thoughtful Americans need to consider . . . the bitter anger that it has provoked among Muslims around the world.â? In response to Abu Ghraib, Ted Kennedy lamented, â??We have become the most hated nation in the world, as a result of this disastrous policy in the prisons.â? Muslim anger over Americaâ??s support of Israel, we are told, is a major cause of anti-American terrorism.
We face, these commentators say, a crisis of â??Muslim opinion.â? We must, they say, win the â??hearts and mindsâ? of angry Muslims by heaping public affection on Islam, by shutting down Guantanamo, by being more â??evenhandedâ? between free Israel and the terrorist Palestinian Authority–and certainly by avoiding any new military action in the Muslim world. If we fail to win over â??Muslim opinion,â? we are told, we will drive even more to become terrorists.
All of this evades one blatant truth: the hatred being heaped on America is irrational and undeserved. Consider the issue of treatment of POWs. Many Muslims are up in arms about the treatment of prisoners of war in Iraq and at Guantanamo–many of whom were captured on battlefields trying to kill Americans. Yet these same Muslims are silent about the summary convictions and torture–real torture, with electric drills and vats of acid–that are official policy and daily practice throughout the Middle East.
Or consider â??Muslim opinionâ? over the U.S. handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which the United States is accused of not being â??hard enoughâ? on Israel–a free nation with laws that protect all citizens, Jew and Arab alike–for Israelâ??s supposed mistreatment of Palestinians. Yet â??Muslim opinionâ? reveres the Palestinian Authority, a brutal dictatorship that deprives Palestinians of every basic freedom, keeps them in unspeakable poverty, and routinely tortures and executes peaceful dissenters.

See the full article for more.