Israel, American cultural imperialism, American physical imperialism - those are three reasons our Middle Eastern adversaries often cite for their opposition to the U.S. Are all three excuses to cover up Islamic weakness?
Sure, Israel is a thorn in their side, but it shouldn't be: If Middle Eastern governments worked together with entrepreneurial Israelis the whole region could prosper. The problem, though, is that Muslim governments traditionally accept Jews (and Christians) only if they are subservient. (See the scholarly research of historian Bat Ye'Or.) An independent Israel is a daily reminder of Muslim weakness.
Sure, American sexual mores - too much flesh displayed by day and adultery at night - also rub Muslim traditionalists the wrong way - but they could ignore life within "the Great Satan" if so many of their people did not find American culture appealing. That they are tantalized is another sign of weakness within a religion that does not acknowledge original sin.
Sure, European imperialists messed with the Middle East early in the 20th century - but the United States has liberated countries, not enslaved them. (Remember Colin Powell's statement concerning US action in World Wars I and 2: We only took the ground needed to bury our dead.)
By saying all three of these are "excuses," I don't want to minimize the anger our enemies feel about Israel taking "their" land and America flaunting its freedom. But take away those complaints and we would still have to face the prospect of war, for the real reason for conflict is that the United States is rich and Muslim countries (although not their rulers) are poor.
Poor people normally have two choices. They can work hard so their children will have better lives. Or, they can overthrow their rulers and take their wealth (but even if it is spread out it doesn't go very far). The second choice often becomes prime when leaders define covetousness as justice.
In response to such covetousness Americans have three choices. We can make ourselves poor so others won't be jealous. We can ostentatiously kiss up to those who covet, giving awards with the goal of buying off the most militant. Or, we can do what we can to help other societies become rich themselves.