WASHINGTON - Anti-Americanism is at record levels thanks to US policies such as the war in Iraq, and Washington's perceived hypocrisy in abiding by its own democratic values, US lawmakers said Wednesday.
US soldiers prepare to enter a residence during a night raid in a suspected neighborhood, in the west side of the Muslim Sunni northern restive city of Mosul, in 2005. Anti-Americanism is at record levels thanks to US policies such as the Iraq war, and Washington's perceived hypocrisy in abiding by its own democratic values, US lawmakers said Wednesday. [Agencies]
A House of Representatives committee report based on expert testimony and polling data reveals US approval ratings have fallen to record lows across the world since 2002, particularly in Muslim countries and Latin America.
It says the problem arises not from a rejection of US culture, values and power but primarily from its policies, such as backing authoritarian regimes while promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
"Our physical strength has come to be seen not as a solace but as a threat, not as a guarantee of stability and order but as a source of intimidation, violence and torture," said Bill Delahunt, chairman of the subcommittee on international organizations, human rights and oversight.
"We have dangerously depleted what (former president Ulysses S.) Grant... identified as our greatest source of international power -- our reputation for what he called conscience. I would substitute the phrase 'moral authority'," Delahunt added.
The report blames specific policies for falling approval ratings, notably the war in Iraq, support for some repressive governments, a perception of bias in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the "torture and abuse of prisoners" in violation of treaty obligations.
It says "disappointment and bitterness" has grown from the perception that much-vaunted US values "have been selectively ignored by successive administrations" for national security or economic ends.
The committee also says unilateralism, particularly in military action, has led to "anger and a fear of attack that are transforming disagreements with US policy into a broadening and deepening anti-Americanism."
These factors, as well as visa and immigration issues, have helped create a "growing belief in the Islamic world that the United States is using the 'war on terror' as a cover for its attempts to destroy Islam," the report concludes.