Bauer is the only one below who has it right. From CNSNews.com, with thanks to Nicolei:
“Americans are asking, ‘why do they hate us?'” Bush said in his Sept. 20, 2001, speech to a joint session of Congress. “They hate what we see right here in this chamber — a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”
During a Sept. 24, 2001, appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” then-Secretary of State Colin Powell echoed Bush’s assessment.
“For reasons that are very complex,” Powell told host Tim Russert, “they hate our value system.”
But Larry Johnson — CEO and co-founder of the Business Exposure Reduction Group and a former State Department expert on Middle Eastern terrorism — disagreed. He said it is not the good, but the bad in American society that drives Islamic extremists.
“It’s not that they hate us because of our freedoms,” Johnson told Cybercast News Service. “They hate us because they think we’re corrupt and evil. We have pornography. We have drug use. We have homosexuality.”
Johnson explained that Muslim extremists fear that what they view as Western immorality will eventually be embraced by their societies. “Understand where these people are coming from,” Johnson warned. “They believe that they are in a fight for their very souls.”
Conservative commentator and former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan wrote of a third factor that motivated the 9/11 hijackers and provokes other Muslims to hate the U.S.
“[The hijackers] didn’t die because we fill their theatres with campy movies or seduce their young with Levis and Big Macs and Britney Spears CDs,” Buchanan stated. “Something else propelled those planes that day, and though we may not like the reasons — or even agree — diminishing the motives of this enemy could prove deadly because millions more share them.
“[Osama bin Laden] said of his home country of Saudi Arabia that the U.S. was ‘plundering its riches, corrupting its people and dictating to its rulers,'” Buchanan concluded. “True or not, that perception now fuels a murderous crusade.”
Michael Scheuer, who formerly headed the CIA operation to capture Osama bin Laden, seemed to incorporate the theories held by Johnson and Buchanan while discounting President Bush’s argument.
“Unfortunately, the politicians are very comfortable with preaching the idea that this is a very small group of people who are opposing us and that they hate us for our freedoms and our liberties,” Scheuer said. “The politicians really are at great fault for not squaring with the American people.
“We’re being attacked for what we do in the Islamic world,” he continued, “not for who we are or what we believe in or how we live.”
In his daily “End of the Day” email newsletter, former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer said those who seek to understand why militant Muslims hate the U.S. are missing the point.
“Here is the point: If George Bush left office today, if the U.S. and England withdrew from Iraq and if we abandoned Israel — the attacks would not stop. The demand of our enemy is one to which we can never agree,” stated Bauer, who now runs the conservative advocacy group American Values.
“They want all U.S. influence gone from the Middle East so that they can ultimately recreate the Muslim Caliphate, ruled by Sha’ria law,” he continued.
“Instead of democracy and freedom, they want an Islamic nation ruled by bin Laden, [Abu Musab al] Zarqawi and the other thugs who attack women and children and behead their enemies while boasting that they ‘love death,'” Bauer concluded. “If they succeed, no one in London or Washington, D.C., or any free place will be able to live in safety.”