why perceptions matter

Via a roundabout ego-search, I came back across the article by James Fallows in the Atlantic Monthly about the investigation into who shot Mohammed al-Dura, a Palestinian boy whose death was caught on tape during a firefight with the IDF. What struck me, however, was the relevance of the concluding paragraph to the larger designs upon the Middle East that our present Administration is pursuing:

In its engagement with the Arab world the United States has assumed that what it believes are noble motives will be perceived as such around the world. We mean the best for the people under our control; stability, democracy, prosperity, are our goals; why else would we have risked so much to help an oppressed people achieve them? The case of Mohammed al-Dura suggests the need for much more modest assumptions about the way other cultures�in particular today's embattled Islam�will perceive our truths.

I think that the torture at Abu Ghuraib is notable in that it gave the conspiracy theorists their first crack at actual evidence for their theories.

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