Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said America shouldn’t be so “full of hubris” not to talk about whether U.S. actions around the world inspire terrorists such as the ones who attacked Paris.
“It is important just to recognize that the individuals who carried out these attacks in Paris were originally radicalized not by ISIS but in coordination against the United States’ invasion and occupation of Iraq,” Murphy told MSNBC last week.
That drew rebukes from some colleagues. “It has nothing to do with our intervention in Iraq, like a Democratic United States Senator suggested that the people in Paris were radicalized because our invasion of Iraq,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox. “People who think that are missing the big picture here.”
Today, Murphy elaborated on his comments to CNN.
“There is never a justification, an excuse, a rationale for these kind of murderous terrorist attacks. The only people to blame for these murders in Paris and other assaults around the world are the individuals who perpetuated them,” the first-term senator said.
“But my point has been simply this. We shouldn’t be full of such hubris here in the United States that we don’t have a conversation about the fact that there are things that we do, there are actions that we take that can create more terrorists, create more threats to the United States, and there are things that we can do, actions that we can create that will create less terrorists across the world.”
Murphy stated “that’s a useful conversation to have.”
“I have argued — and I think many others would agree with me — that the war in Iraq, which became a recruiting tool for Islamic extremists all around the world, made this country less safe, not more safe,” he continued. “I would argue that the way in which we have conducted drone strikes in some parts of the world have become bulletin board recruiting material for many of these terrorist organizations. That doesn’t create a rationale, a justification for anything that has happened, but it just, I think, should create a conversation here in the United States about being careful about conducting a foreign policy in a way that ends up creating more of the very kind of people and organizations that we’re trying to fight.”
The senator added that while he supports the air campaign in Syria and Iraq because “ISIS is so dangerous,” he fears that using ground troops would create more of them.
“That would, I think, tip the balance in terms of what is necessary to protect American national security vs. what is going to, in Donald Rumsfeld’s opinion or the way in which he phrased it, create more of the people that we’re trying to eliminate,” Murphy argued.
He said the flogging of a blogger in Saudi Arabia and the death sentence handed to a Pakistani woman, Asia Bibi, for blasphemy perpetuate “this myth” that there’s “a war between Christianity and Islam, between the East and the West.”
“And, of course, we know that, for years, for decades, the Saudis have been funneling money to Wahhabi clerical organizations that fund the very madrasas that train Islamic jihadists. We certainly know in Pakistan that, at the same time that they have been fighting radical elements, they have also been funding those radical elements, or at least being permissive of them,” Murphy said.
“So, we have got to have some hard conversations with our allies in the coming weeks and days. We have let it go on for far too long. And now that we have realize the reality, the danger, the immediacy of this threat to the United States and to our allies, I think Republicans and Democrats can come together and say, listen, time is up. We need to see some progress or, especially with a country like Pakistan that’s the recipient of major dollars from the United States, there’s going to be some consequences.”