Gilbert Achcar Interviewed by David Barsamian

Gilbert Achcar lived in Lebanon for many years before moving to France where he teaches politics and international relations at the University of Paris. His latest book, published by Monthly Review Press, is The Clash of Barbarisms: September 11 and the Making of the New World Disorder.

Barsamian The official Bush story about explaining what happened, the reasons behind the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, is that the United States was attacked because of its “values” and that it is the “beacon of democracy.”

I think this is one of the most absurd explanations I’ve ever heard. That is, to believe for one second that people would come from their part of the world and commit suicide in another place in order to kill as many people as possible because they don’t like the way the people there live and the kind of values they embody there is something which is completely absurd. It’s much more convenient for the Bush Administration to say that all these people hate us because of the values we cherish, as George W. Bush, puts it. If it is because of that, you have no way of dealing with that except through force, because you won’t surrender the values you cherish. But actually, if you say the truth, that these people hate us because of our policies in their part of the world, because of what the United States is busy doing in the Middle East, then the logical conclusion that follows is, Well, why the hell are we doing that, and why are we putting ourselves in such dangers?

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