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"They hate our freedom"

I'm a little surprised I haven't seen this old canard trotted out to explain the sometimes violent protests in the Middle East aimed at the United States because of a film (made by Egyptians in the US) which virtually no one stateside saw or cared for.  The outrage halfway across the world certainly shows a lack of understanding of western culture and a general distrust of it--a distrust which, let's face it, is both understandable and historically justified, particularly in the case where a western government might be involved.

Perhaps more importantly, we are seeing the results of a nascent republicanism amongst a poor, underemployed populations who have been and have felt put upon by their governments and the world.  These events and circumstances are obviously beyond our ability to control, but I wonder if we could not influence them in a finer way than we have in most of our dealings with that region. Perhaps a new Marshal Plan is called for.  Any attempt at convincing 'the Arab Street' that the government of the United States does not support something which it allows to exist will fail so long as those we are trying to persuade see it as antithetical to their own experience.

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