By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
With millions of dollars, the best brains in the world, and corporate structures of gigantic proportions, the American administration cannot find a cure to anti-Americanism and typically spends tax dollars on meaningless ventures such as new television and radio channels to change the image of America. In addition, it has budget set aside for not-so-overboard campaigns around the world; these range from well-paid tours by “scholars”, artists, and journalists. In worst case scenarios, Americans try to “balance” anti-Americanism with positive publicity about America through well-connected sources whose “impact factor” is calculated in advance. But none of this has helped build a better image of America, which—despite all the anti-Americanism—remains the dream destination of millions of young men and women from around the world.
Anti-Americanism is a global phenomenon, not a typical Muslim obsession. While it is true that all super powers have had their share of antipathy toward their dominance throughout the history, Anti-Americanism is unique for a “super” power which can never be satiated with its “superness. This is so because America is unique in the global hatred it invokes; perhaps because it is really a strange kind of superpower: its mighty military, vast economic, and political power has no comparison to anything that has preceded: today American fighter jets can pound targets anywhere in the world; they can create havoc in the heart of a crowded city like Baghdad, and strike terror in the hearts of innocent children playing at a wedding party in a remote mountainous region of Afghanistan; none of this was possible before; no super power ever had this kind of global reach. The slow-moving armies of previous superpowers did create havoc in the lands through which they passed, but neither the Romans, nor the Persians, or the Arabs ever had capacity to strike at will specific targets in the rugged mountains, deserts, and oceans. Even the pre-Second World War great powers had nothing comparable.
Perhaps a key to understand anti-Americanism can be found in this unprecedented power of America. This power has been attained by America on the strength of a military industrial complex that is fed by academic research carried out at otherwise reputable institutions such as the MIT and CALTECH; men and women with professorial ranks and badges of honor have spent their lives to feed into this extensive structure which parcels out so-called research dollars by splitting large, goal oriented research into smaller parts so that no one but a handful of people have the total picture in view and no one is ultimately held responsible for the devastating machine that is built at the end of the process: B-52 is a case in point.
B-52 is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber which was designed and built by Boeing company which
received a contract from the US Air Force on 5 June 1946. Boeing sub-contracted research to many academic scientists and technologists who worked in fields like physics, mechanics, and aeronautics. Finally when the planes started to roll out, they were handed over to the US Air Force in 1955. The bombers flew under the Strategic Air Command until it was disestablished in 1992, later the aircrafts were absorbed into the Air Combat Command (ACC), which, in turn, was absorbed in February 2010 into the recently established Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).
During the Operation Desert Storm, B-52s flew about 1,620 sorties, and delivered 40% of the weapons dropped by coalition forces while suffering only one non-combat aircraft loss, with several receiving minor damage. On 16 February 1991, a flight of B-52Gs flew from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, refueled in the air en route, struck targets in Iraq, and returned home – a journey of 35 hours and 14,000 miles round trip. It set a record for longest-distance combat mission. B-52Gs operating from bases at Jeddah, RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom, Moron hpw AB, Spain; and the island of Diego Garcia flew killed thousands of men, women, and children in Iraq and the irony of this indiscrete bombing is that when the lights were turned out in Baghdad, there was not a human soul who came forward and said: I feel sick in my stomach because that small part I developed for the devastating power of Being B-52 today killed a baby in her mother’s woman.
Such is the inhuman nature of the American industrial-military complex; such is the facelessness of this superpower which is hated around the world. Because the American power is soulless and faceless, it has no compassion for human suffering and hence when images flash on TV screens, depicting devastation of villages in Afghanistan or when newspapers report the terror this power struck in the hearts of people of Falluja through its radioactive ammunition, millions of real human beings around the world have no one to whom they can turn and vent out their anger; they, instead harbor the so-called Anti-Americanism in their hearts which swells and becomes infected and in times, pours out.
If there are any human beings left in the faceless machinery which runs this sole superpower of the world, they must undergo a basic, back to humanity therapy and return to the fold of humanity; only then Americans can find a true cure for anti-Americanism, because then they will be able to see the face of suffering and feel in their newly revived hearts at least a small amount of compassion which is part of being human.
Until America does this, it will remain the most powerful, but also the most hated superpower that ever existed. Until there is some humanity returned to this superpower, the world will remain a constant arena of suffering and there will remain this perplexing blindness to the real cause of anti-Americanism which does not let those who are making decisions about how to find an antidote to Anti-Americanism even understand the problem, let alone find a solution.
Muzaffar Iqbal is the founder-president of Center for Islam and Science (www.cis-ca.org), Canada, and editor of
Islam & Science, a semi-annual journal of Islamic perspectives on science and civilization. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry (University of Saskatchewan, Canada, 1983), and then left the field of experimental science to fully devote himself to study Islam, its spiritual, intellectual and scientific traditions.
Born in Lahore, Pakistan, he has lived in Canada since 1979. He has held academic and research positions at University of Saskatchewan (1979-1984), University of Wisconsin-Madison (1984-85), and McGill University (1986). During 1990-1999, he pursued his research and study on various aspects of Islam in Pakistan, where he also worked as Director, Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) between 1991-96 and as Director, Pakistan Academy of Sciences (1998-99).
During 1999-2001, Dr. Iqbal was Program Director (Muslim World) for the Science-Religion Course Program of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS), Berkeley, USA.
Dr. Iqbal has published books and papers on the relationship between Islam and science, Islam and the West, the contemporary situation of Muslims, and the history of Islamic science.
His publications include Islam and Science, God, Life and the Cosmos: Christian and Islamic Perspectives , Science and Islam, Dawn in Madinah: A Pilgrim’s Passage , The Making of Islamic Science (IBT, 2009) and a few more titles.
He is the General Editor of the forthcoming seven-volume Integrated Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, the first English language reference work on the Qur’an based on fourteen centuries of Muslim reflection and scholarship. He is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.