September 5th, 2014
12:21 AM ET

Why they still hate us, 13 years later

By Fareed Zakaria

Watching the gruesome execution videos, I felt some of the same emotions I did after 9/11. Barbarism is designed to provoke anger, and it succeeded. But in September 2001, it also made me ask, “Why do they hate us?” I tried to answer that question in an essay for Newsweek that struck a chord with readers. I reread it to see what I got right and wrong and what I’ve learned in the past 13 years.

It’s not just al-Qaeda. I began by noting that Islamic terrorism is not the isolated behavior of a handful of nihilists. There is a broader culture that has been complicit or at least unwilling to combat it. Things have changed on this front but not nearly enough.

It’s not an Islam problem but an Arab problem. In the early 2000s, Indonesia was our biggest concern because of a series of terrorist attacks there after 9/11. But over the past decade, jihad and even Islamic fundamentalism have not done well in Indonesia — the largest Muslim country in the world, larger in that sense than Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya and the Gulf states put together. Or look at India, which is right next door to Ayman al-Zawahiri’s headquarters in Pakistan, but very few of its 165 million Muslims are members of al-Qaeda. Zawahiri has announced a bold effort to recruit Indian Muslims, but I suspect it will fail.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. George patton

    @4:00. If these animals didn't attact the U.S. on that faithful day, then you wouldn't have anything to be gripping about.
    Please spare us your alligator tears. Go volunteer your time over there. If we are lucky, you will be one of the casualties there. Best way to shut a traitor up!

    September 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
    • George patton

      Hello, Phunnie boy. I see that you're back to vomiting your right-wing manure under my name again. You know better than that!!!

      September 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
      • George patton

        @my troll. What Tea-Party lingo! Please refrain from posting your left-wing propaganda under my s/n.
        Thank you in advance.

        September 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
    • LaBella

      Why do y'all have three different avatars for the same name?

      September 6, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
  2. rupert

    I say we fed-ex him to Afghanistan. See how he feels after a few days.

    September 6, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  3. Mikal Koren

    I know fully well, that OBL came from a rich business family, in Jeddah. What you do not understand, you nitwit, is that OBL saw the truth of the greed and rapacity of the White Man. He saw how they bribe, they cheat, they kill, so that they might profit, and rule the world. He was much smarter than you realize. And he proved it. All you are proving to us, is how ignorant you are. We are in much more trouble now, than we were in September 2001. We have created 1000 OBL's........ fools like you want to live in a false paradise.......... sad..............

    September 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
    • rupert

      If he's so "smart" then why is he dead?
      The only thing OBL proved was that he was a cold blooded killer and a failure, you D-Bag.

      September 6, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
      • Philip

        You have no proof Usama Bin Laden in dead, @Rupert. Try asking his many wives what really went on. Oh, that's right. None are allowed to interview them.for "reasons of national security".
        Anyone who believes major media/radio talking heads are ignorant.

        September 6, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
      • LaBella

        🎶Psycho Killer
        Qu'est-ce que c'est
        fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
        Run run run run run run run away
        Psycho Killer
        Qu'est-ce que c'est
        fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
        Run run run run run run run away

        September 6, 2014 at 11:43 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      @ Mikel Koren:
      You wrote, "the White Man."
      Which one? Me?
      Surely you don't mean, "all white men." That might be called "racist."

      September 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
  4. Joseph McCarthy

    I'll tell you what gets my goat guys. Here you have a wiseguy,this michel guy, mouthing off about the U.S. and NATO going after ISIS and this Mickel clown is against it. ISIS is killing Muslims. And does he care? No. Does he even mention it? No. He just hates America. What twisted logic. Gotta feel sorry for the D-Bag.

    September 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
    • Philip

      Get a clue. "ISIS/ISIL" are Muslim Brotherhood backed by US vs. Egypt and Syria. And are now in Iraq with US made weapons we are supposed to believe they just found in unguarded warehouses.
      Stop believing your lying azz politicians and the media mouthpieces. (Those were not "terrorists" that burned down Germany's Parliament building that terrified citizens into giving up their rights, for example.)

      September 6, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
  5. rupert

    Somebody needs a good waterboarding.

    September 6, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
  6. Mikal Koren

    Fareed, you are right, they don't just hate us, after 13 years......... they really really really hate us, after 13 years.......... so what did we achieve???????? We have increased our enemies by maybe 100 times............... many many many more people hate American now, than hated America in September 2001.............. FACT!!!!!!!! Yes, with 1000 OBL's on our hands now, we better not be sleeping at night, we better be watching our backs, we better learn how to pray................. we are so screwed............ and we are BROKE!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 6, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      @ Milka Koren:
      if the USA, which you obviously despise, is in such a disastrous situation, why are you resorting to the abuse of punctuation?

      September 6, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
  7. rupert

    @D-Bag. "Us?" There is no "us" unless you have a frog in your pocket.
    And don't underestimate the hatred that gun carrying Americans have for ISIS and the rest of those renegade rats.

    September 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
  8. rupert

    We are broke because of your daddy G.W. Bush. He gave billions in tax refunds and started the war only because Saddam tried to have his father assassinated, but failed.
    You of all hating America fans should know this.

    September 6, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
  9. rupert

    It almost seems as if your daddy ruined our country on purpose. But no. That's not it. He's just a dumbbell.

    September 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
  10. rupert

    Don't expect Obama to fix this country after the Bush mess. Don't expect the next two presidents to fix it either.

    September 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
  11. George patton

    I wish that CNN would do something about this name thief here. He (or she) keeps on spoiling it for the rest of us who have something to say in these discussions. This individual is getting to be a gigantic bore!!!

    September 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
  12. Mikal Koren

    Yes indeed, OBL was smart. he was very very smart, in fact, because he figured out that if he could bite the 800 lb Gorilla, called USA, in its behind, hard enough........ the 800 lb Gorilla would start to bleed............... and bleed money............ and he was so right!!!!!!!!!! The 800 lb Gorilla is now US $ 20 trillion in debt............... the 800 lb Gorilla is down on its knees.............. even tho' they dare not admit it................. the whole world knows it.............. the Asians are quietly laughing about it.............. because it gave them a chance to become strong............. and stare eye-to-eye at USA.............. and they are thanking OBL.......... as they should................ most Americans have no friggin' clue about what exactly is happening.............. bomb, bomb, bomb............... while China kicks your behind................... losers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 6, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      @Mikal. According to news analysts, your hero Osama calculated that the U.S. would not go in. So no, he was not too smart. He made a major miscalculation.
      I'm sorry to say this, but the only loser here is you because you are incorrect in so many accounts and so emotional.

      September 6, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
    • George patton

      They took care of OBL the way I take care of a big roach. Spray it. Then as it is twitching on the floor, spray it good.
      OBL got a good head shot first. Fell to the ground, was twitching and got more shots until he stopped twitching.
      Lol. He died like the rat he was. Murderer!
      If ever you feel sorry for this rat, go on-line. Look at the Manhattan sky line where the Twin Towers are gone.

      September 6, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        @ George patton,
        That was a beautiful account of a bad man's death.
        Thank you. I shall never forget it.

        September 6, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        I miss the Twin Towers most when flying into La Guardia.
        Next to that, when standing in the Village or SoHo.

        September 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
      • George patton

        You forgot to mention those clowns (Seal Team 6) who murdered Ussama bin Laden in cold blood. Ussama was totally unarmed when those clowns cut him down with their machine guns. They could just as easily have taken him alive but didn't!

        September 6, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Oh, unarmed, was he?
        Good. Better for us.
        I hope they used plenty of bullets on him. I hope it hurt him a lot.

        September 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Good posting, Mikal. Thank you and please ignore the name thief above. He's just trying to get a rise out us as he thinks he's funny.

      September 6, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
  13. Joseph McCarthy

    @Joey. That's right. Marxist thinking is and was a virus.
    @George patton. You are right. This individual is truly annoying. Thank you for your post.

    September 6, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
    • George patton

      Yes Phunnie boy, you are. This I know because the true Joseph McCarthy never says such ignorant things here!

      September 6, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
      • banasy©

        The true Joseph McCarthy is dead.

        September 6, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        "We could use a guy like..."

        September 6, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
  14. dazzle

    I have to agree with whomever the commenter was on the very noticeable gap in the skyline where the towers once stood. Yes I do hate the extremists and they can hate me for whatever reason.

    September 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
  15. Matt Chanthavongsa

    Everybody on here seems to be attacking Mikal Koren. Nobody wants to listen to the truth. How sad is that! Guys, all he is saying is that we are wasting trillions upon trillions of dollars on bombing muslims, while China is building most of the products we buy. With each passing decade, they are becoming stronger, financially, while we are becoming weaker, financially. Who can dispute that fact? Forgive Mikal for his emotions. But see his truth. He is right. He is trying to help us Americans to see our own folly. This is a very hard thing to do, because nobody wants to see their own folly. It is so easy to point to the "enemy" and blame them for everything. Thank you Mikal. God bless you!

    September 6, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      I listened to him. Rather, I read what Mikel Koren posted.
      It's not "the truth."
      He said what he thought.
      So did others. Many disagreed.
      Thank goodness, he's not in charge of the USA.

      September 6, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
  16. Matt Chanthavongsa

    So what we should be thinking about is, how do we get our millions of jobs back to the US. All those iGadgets we make over there, in China. All those computers. Just about everything! We have no jobs left over here guys! And all we do is bomb.

    September 6, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      Earl Grey, with bergamot, please.
      I am taxed enough to be kept safe, already, as they say.
      They do say that, don't they?

      September 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
    • George patton

      Well said, Matt. Just ignore this uneducated lemming above as he posts under several different names while vomiting out his own ignorance!!!

      September 6, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
    • Hemant Karve

      Matt has a point. There was an article in Businessweek magazine, recently, that said, over the last 20 years, over 100 million Americans have moved downwards, from the middle-class to the poor-class. This is serious stuff. Nobody is thinking about how to get our jobs back. All we seem capable of these days, is bombing. Even NASA has shutdown!

      September 6, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
  17. Philip

    If "terrorists" really wanted to kill US citizens, "they" would have already disguised themselves as illegal Mexicans and walked right in and poisoned our unguarded city water supplies by now. Easily "they" could do this. Do not deny it.

    September 6, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      Yes, @ Ahkmed. Why don't you begin in Los Angeles, where you were a few years back...or better yet, in Detroit. Yes.
      Tell me when it's safe to return. I'll be at the Connaught.

      September 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
      • dazzle

        @JIF, a man with good taste. The Pierre in The Connaught portfolio is a great place. Have them serve your tea across the street in Central Park. It may never be safe here.

        September 6, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
    • George patton

      Quite true Philip, quite true indeed.

      September 6, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
  18. Thanks Fareed, you are awesome!

    America = out of control 800 lb Gorilla.......... Ha! Ha! Ha!.......... and it's a purdy dumb gorilla at that......... swatting mozzies in the desert, while Asia laughs all the way to the bank........... boink! boink! boink!............ gotta get those mozzies............. boink! boink! boink!........ oooops, run outta cash, never mind that............... boink! boink! boink!............. oh crap, have no jobs, never mind that............ boink! boink! boink!............ oh dear! half our country lives in poverty, never mind that............ boink! boink! boink!.......... sheeesh! half our people are divorced and on drugs, never mind that............ boink! boink! boink!.......... Yes Sir! gotta keep those war mongers rich rich rich.......... boink! boink! boink!........ how sad to see America sunk to this garbage level........................................

    September 6, 2014 at 11:55 pm |
  19. WiseGuy

    Fareed, when you write an article please specify if it's journalism or propaganda. I'll explain.
    1. Don't portray yourself as an American. You're not one and your attempts to fit in are pathetic. You try so hard that your guests see right through it and don't respect you because of it. They see you as a sell out

    2. When you compare Islamic countries to Arab ones and claim terrorism is an Arab problem, you're waging a propaganda war nothing more. You know very well ISIS is US made so Arabs had nothing to do with it.

    3. Why they hate us (it doesn't include you since you're an Arab) is because of our government foreign policy. Its illogical unconditional support of the racist fascist apartheid state Israel is.

    4. President Assad has been fighting ISIS since the beginning of the Syrian war. ISIS is the so called opposition. And from the beginning assad said that terrorism isn't a card you can play and hide whenever you want and it'll come back to haunt its masters. Ironically enough that's exactly what happened. Our government is now freaking out because the organization it created to fight Syria for Israel is out of control.

    So fareed the Arab be objective and be proud of who you are as the world doesn't respect fake and hypocrites who don't have any respect for themselves.

    September 7, 2014 at 10:20 am |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Well said, WiseGuy.

      September 7, 2014 at 10:37 am |
  20. courtnay A

    Disappointed that neither you nor any of your guest commentators saw fit to point out that years ago (and ongoing) NATO violated a gentlemans aggreement to not expand beyond East Germany and this has in fact precipitated the conflict as NATO tries to establish a beach front on the border of Russia.

    September 7, 2014 at 11:17 am |
  21. You are wrong

    You can't be more wrong again. It is an Islam problem. You are still defending the muslim Brotherhood ignoring the link between them and Hamas and other terrorists groups. I am astonished how far we are in the West misunderstanding and underestimating the power of religion brain washing in the Middle East.

    September 7, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Shoshana Rubin

      You are absolutely right!

      September 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
  22. edgar dee

    Arab political stagnation. Why? Is usa politically stagnant? Many americans are now ISIS members. You mean more and more americans are now dissatisfied. You really believe tgat the us has nothing to with these?

    September 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
  23. Shoshana Rubin

    Fareed is in Denial. Terrorism in the ME today is not an Arab problem. If it were, there would be Jewish and Christian Arabs who are terrorists.

    No, Fareed. Today's terror threats from the ME are definitely an Islamic problem whether those Muslims who are Islamic killers are Arab, white, black, Latino or what have you. The problem is Islam.

    September 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
    • WiseGuy

      Euuuh you're kidding right? Israel personifies terrorism. So if it's a religious problem, the number one religion behind terrorism would be Judaism in that case. and what about terrorism done by Christians? From the Oklahoma bombing to the Connecticut mmassacre of 20 children to columbine shooting to the movie theater shooting etc etc etc. These terrorists were not Muslims so. ..

      September 13, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
  24. Philip

    Huh? Why did they hate US? Why did they love US 13 years after The Secx and Drug Revolution to be free like US, rather.
    Free to commit political and corporate felonies without going to prison. Free to become obese. Free to hump on anything that wiggles and plan *that* parenthood out in advance. Free to preemptive warring on human fetus.

    September 7, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
  25. Philip

    Don't listen to them, Fareed. They simply do not understand that until you have had at least one federal gag order handed down on you, you simply are not a journalist.
    For example, Connie Chung went missing in March of '03. #BoilingFrogs

    September 7, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
    • LaBella

      Connie Chung must be with your very much alive ObL.

      September 8, 2014 at 11:25 am |
  26. You are wrong

    Fareed, I understand that as a Muslim, you have a vested interest in showing that it is an Arab issue and not Islamic issue . Lot of my Muslim friends are struggling with the same issue. They are trying to blame it on anything else except their religion. However, I was expecting that an intellectual person like yourself will be above these personal subjective superficial defensive arguments. Ask yourself two questions:
    1) if it is an Arab problem, why we don't see Arab Christian terrorists?
    2) if it is not Islam problem, why there are lot of Pakistani , Indian, Somali Muslim terrorists? As Indian, do you consider yourself an Arab?
    Denying that these terrorists acts has roots in the Islamic religion ( whether perceived, true or misinterpreted ) is preventing you from finding the right answer to our question " why they hate us"?

    September 7, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
    • WiseGuy

      Ok so according to your logic Timothy McVeigh's actions has something to do with Christianity. The acts of the Connecticut school shooter killing 20 kids means his terrorism is a Christian problem. Would you agree?

      September 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
  27. Eddie Fonseca

    When we think of America the greatest country in the world that supports the right's of many races from Hispanic Americans to Arab Americans, that want to live the American Dream of supporting their family's with a great job they landed after they graduated after college and buying that house with the two cars in the driveway. A famous New York Jazz artist named Bob Baldwin who wrote God Bless America, that song describes the best parts of America a nation which cares for right's of it's citizens and let's freedom prevail not just in America but across the world as well. There will be many terrorists cells that hate America but most Muslim Americans denounce the terrorist attacks on September 9/11 and stand with many Americans and in one voice say to the world America will not be a nation which stands for injustice and killing's of innocent Americans and people across the world, we will unite as a nation and bring those responsible for the 9/11 attacks to justice so they brave men and women who put their lives on the line those family's will have the comfort knowing justice has been served it's the least we can do to honor those who have died so we can live peace without another 9/11 attack happening on American soil again. In small towns and big city's across America the though of September 11 is attacks on New York is still fresh in every American minds thirteen years when most people can remember where they were on that dark day in our great nations history. So here is a question America will be a nation which struggles to come to grip the dreaded past of the September 11 attacks, or will move forward as a nation and write a new chapter in America's history books of a nation which can overcome any attacks domestic and international for years to come.

    September 12, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
    • WiseGuy

      Wow great comment. So why do you think terrorists hate our country?

      September 13, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
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