Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist David Rohde speaks at Miller Center

Forum on US Policy in Middle East discusses 9/11, terrorism, future foriegn policy

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Rohde and two of his associates were kidnapped in 2008 by members of the Taliban. Rohde and one associate were held in captivity for seven months, the third for eight.

“The young men who kidnapped me were extreme Taliban and were delusional,” Rohde said at a forum hosted by the Miller Center Monday on U.S.-Middle Eastern relations. “They believed 9/11 was staged, that individuals who were coming to the region wanted to forcibly establish Christianity, that women were being used as prostitutes within U.S. military camps.”

Rohde was joined on a panel by Shibley Telhami, author of “The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East,” and visiting Miller Center professor Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Crocker said that the danger of the Taliban and al-Qaida are still very real in the Middle East. “Terror isn’t a nation, it’s not a group, it’s a tactic,” he said. “It will get worse if we disengage, but has also gotten worse because we’ve engaged. We have to be smart about how we fight Afghanistan [and] how we engage.”

Resentment of United States citizens toward the Middle East increased dramatically after Sept. 11, 2001, the panelists agreed. But Crocker said if the American government decides to disengage from the Middle East, serious U.S. security interests will be put at risk.

Telhami countered that U.S. policy in the Middle East is more of a “humanitarian issue,” rather than one about national security.

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