Joe Scarborough said on Monday that Muslims and Arabs protesting in the Middle East "hate" America in part "because of their religion" and "culture."
Demonstrations, some of them violent, have swept across the region in the wake of an anti-Islamic video that was posted on YouTube, though many have said that the video itself was a mere catalyst for broader political anger, rather than the real focal point of the protests.
Scarborough, though, dismissed the idea that anything besides broad cultural values was behind the unrest.
"You know why they hate us?" he said. "They hate us because of their religion, they hate us because of their culture, and they hate us because of peer pressure. And you talk to any intelligence person, they will tell you that's the same thing, and all those people who think we're going to go over there and change them are just naive."
Scarborough said that there had been "unrestrained savagery" throughout the Middle East. "One intelligence person told me, if you scratch the surface, and if you gave every street vendor, from street vendor to prime minister in that region a chance to throw a rock at the U.S. embassy, they would," he continued.
Scarborough then went through many policies that are deeply unpopular throughout the Muslim world, saying that none of them could have played a part in the protests.
"They hate us because of waterboarding? No they don't," he said. "They hate us because they hate us. They hate us because of Obama's drone attacks? No they don't. They hate us because they hate us."
Panelist Andrea Mitchell cautioned Scarborough against painting with such a broad brush. "They're different from country to country," she said, noting that there is quite a bit of pro-American sentiment in Libya, for instance. She added that the U.S. is "not perceived as the liberator" in many countries.
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