We're also to blame

In your articles about terrorism and religion, the authors omitted critical information to help readers understand the root causes of Middle Eastern hatred of the Western powers. In laying the blame for violence on our evolutionary history or on conflicts in the Middle Ages, we allow ourselves to escape introspection and an analysis of our present foreign policy. Suggesting that European Christianity has matured and outgrown ethnic and religious warfare requires forgetting the 20th century.

Not only do your authors disregard two World Wars and the Holocaust, but they also fail to mention the battles over North African and Middle Eastern oil fields during those wars. They also neglect to mention how America and Europe continued to control the Middle East after World War II through puppet governments, military aid and support of regimes with horrible human rights records (such as Baathist Iraq).

During the decade of sanctions on Iraq between the Gulf War and the present Iraq War, over 500,000 children died there of malnutrition and easily curable diseases. These children were the accepted costs of a policy designed to force the Iraqi population to rise up against Saddam and used their misery as a tool of war.

Terrorists arise out of populations that are oppressed, poor, humiliated, and powerless. Desperate acts are committed by desperate people, no matter what their religion or ethnicity. If we honestly want to know why they kill, we need to ask why they are desperate, and we need to have the courage to acknowledge our own part in creating their desperate conditions.

Gene Fifer