High-Level American Intelligence and Counterterror Officials: Islamic Terror Is Motivated by U.S. Support for Tyrants in the Middle East and U.S. Support for Israel

“Only a Fool Wouldn’t Know that Our Relationship with Israel Causes Us War with Muslims”

In the classic 6th Century B.C. Chinese military strategy treatise – The Art of War -the brilliant military commander Sun Tzu wrote:

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

In other words, knowing your enemy is key to destroying them.

Former high-level CIA officer Michael Scheuer – a 22-year CIA veteran who was the head of the CIA unit tasked with capturing or killing Bin Laden, the Chief of the Sunni Militant Unit, and served in both the Directorate of Intelligence and the Directorate of Operations (and Georgetown University professor at the Center for Security Studies) – had to know his jihadi enemies in order to track and defeat them.

Scheuer testified to the House Homeland Security Committee on October 9, 2013 on the real causes of Islamic jihad:

Scheuer told the committee:

Our allies in the middle east are mostly totalitarian, sir. And they have been for 50 years.

He noted:

Only a fool wouldn’t know that our relationship with Israel causes us war with Muslims.

And he ranked the causes of Islamic jihad against the United States:

CONGRESSMAN STEWART: I would like you to explain very quickly if you can what you think the primary motivators are for Islamic jihadism?

SCHEUER: First, our support for the Israelis.

STEWART: Okay, that is your number—-

SCHEUER: No, there are six.

STEWART: Okay. Put them in order if you could.

SCHEUER: Our support for tyranny for over 50 years in the Muslim world, okay.

As a trigger, our presence on the Arab peninsula.

Third, I would put the Israelis rising.

Fourth, our ability for a long time to get oil at prices that were very much below the market level.

Fifth, our presence, military presence in other countries in the Muslim world.

Sixth, our abiding willingness to identify as terrorists any Muslim population that one of our allies dislikes, whether it is the Russians or the Chinese.

Those six things, sir.

STEWART: It is astounding to me that you don’t put in the top six what I know to be true, and that is they are motivated–many of them are motivated by their absolute hatred of the United States and what we represent, whether it is freedom, whether it is democracy, whether it is women’s rights.
There are many of them who are absolutely motivated by that.  I know that. I have talked with them.

SCHEUER: They hate them, sir.

STEWART: I can’t imagine that you would not put that in somewhere—-

SCHEUER: They are not going to die for that, sir.

STEWART: Oh, they absolutely have.

SCHEUER: They have not, sir. This war is not–they wouldn’t have anything we have in this country ….

STEWART: Professor, you are turning a blind eye to history for you to say that they will not die for that.

SCHEUER: Bullshit, sir…. The reality is no one has blown themselves up because this young lady is in this place.

Indeed, the U.S. has inserted itself into the middle of a Muslim religious war by backing the brutal regimes in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

Scheuer – as a patriotic American – says that the U.S. can choose to back the Saudis, Israelis and other unpopular regimes in the Middle East if it wants.  But the people should be informed of this trade-off, and we have to understand that there will be tremendous costs – including monetary costs and future terrorist attacks – if we do so.

Similarly, Ray McGovern – a 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their vice presidents, secretaries of state, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials – wrote in 2012:

The drafters of [the 9/11 Commission] report apparently went as far as their masters would allow, in gingerly introducing a major elephant into the room: “America’s policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world.” (p. 376)

When asked later about the flabby way that last sentence ended, former Rep. Lee Hamilton, Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission, explained that there had been a Donnybrook over whether that paragraph could be included at all.

The drafters also squeezed in the reason given by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as to why he “masterminded” the attacks on 9/11: “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed … from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

Would you believe that former Vice President Dick Cheney has also pointed to U.S. support for Israel as one of the “true sources of resentment”? This unique piece of honesty crept into his speech to the American Enterprise Institute on May 21, 2009.


People in the Middle East already know how Palestinians have been mistreated for decades; how Washington has propped up Arab dictatorships; how Muslims have been locked away at Guantanamo without charges; how the U.S. military has killed civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; how U.S. mercenaries have escaped punishment for slaughtering innocents.

The purpose of U.S. “public diplomacy” appears more designed to shield Americans from this unpleasant reality, offering instead feel-good palliatives about the beneficence of U.S. actions. Most American journalists and politicians go along with the charade out of fear that otherwise they would be accused of lacking patriotism or sympathizing with “the enemy.”

Commentators who are neither naïve nor afraid are simply shut out of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM).


Greenwald recently called attention to a little-noticed Associated Press report on the possible motives of the 23-year-old Nigerian Abdulmutallab. The report quoted his Yemeni friends to the effect that the he was “not overtly extremist.” But they noted that he was open about his sympathies toward the Palestinians and his anger over Israel’s actions in Gaza. (Emphasis added)


I continue to be amazed at how otherwise informed folks express total surprise when I refer them to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s statement about his motivation for attacking the United States, as cited on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report: “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”


An unusually candid view of the dangers accruing from the U.S. identification with Israel’s policies appeared five years ago in an unclassified study published by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board on Sept. 23, 2004. Contradicting President George W. Bush, the board stated:

“Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.

“Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”


When the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda announced that they were uniting into “al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula,” their combined rhetoric railed against the Israeli attack on Gaza.

And former FBI director Robert Mueller just agreed:

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller warned that the current violence in Gaza will inflame anti-U.S. sentiment in the region and exacerbate an increasingly dangerous terror threat to the U.S.

“We cannot forget that what’s happening in Gaza today will feed and fuel the desire for many more to join radical groups” …. “You may well see as a result of what’s happening between Israel and Hamas in Gaza an increase in the months ahead of those that are willing to go and join such groups.”

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