bin Laden's latest message

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The New York Times has posted the full text of bin Laden’s latest statement, as translated by the AP. After mentioning the bombings in Madrid and London, bin Laden threatens that “similar operations” in America “are under preparation” and offers a truce.

When bin Laden writes about words allegedly found in the introduction to the book Rogue State, he gets the right author but the wrong book. The passage to which he refers is indeed by William Blum, but it’s from his article “Why Terrorists Hate America” in the September 2002 issue of Common Ground. (It is also printed on the back cover of Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire.) The entire passage reads as follows:

If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize to all the widows and orphans, the tortured and impoverished, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then I would announce, in all sincerity, to every corner of the world, that America’s global interventions have come to an end, and inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the USA but now -- oddly enough -- a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. There would be more than enough money. One year’s military budget of 330 billion dollars is equal to more than $18,000 an hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born. That’s what I’d do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I’d be assassinated.

I’m sure it galls Blum to have his words used by a terrorist like bin Laden, although it has done wonders for his book sales. Amazon shows an enormous spike in the popularity of his books; one can only hope that they will be read for more than this single paragraph. One could also hope that our foreign policy could be reoriented toward eliminating the threat of terrorism rather than wasting it on justifying military adventurism, but this may require a regime change.

Bin Laden’s accuracy is, however, far better than that of other right-wing cretins such as John Gibson and Scott McClellan. Kos documented Gibson as saying that bin Laden is “talking to America’s far left,” which, Gibson alleges, has been “working for him.” I have no doubt that, from Gibson’s perch at the far right of America’s corporate media, the majority of Americans appear to be on the “far left.” However, Gibson’s myopia is not reality. Gibson also declares that “a bin Laden tape is the far left's worst nightmare because it reminds Americans the war is real,” but this is also false. A bin Laden tape should be the Right’s nightmare, because it represents their continuing failure to neutralize the threat that he embodies. Kos notes that:

every time Bush's minions lie in this manner, it takes away attention from the real problems with the War on Terror and the war in Iraq. Focusing on the lie that the left is somehow conspiring with Al Qaeda deflects attention away from the true shortfalls in our national security.

John Kerry has observed that, “had they put Osama Bin Laden out of business in Afghanistan when our troops wanted to, we wouldn't have to hear this barbarian's voice on tape. That's what we should be talking about in America.” It’s too bad that talking big and smearing liberals are the GOP’s favorite sports, rather than hunting terrorists.

Hughes writes in “How about Today?” about Bush spinmeister Scott McClellan declaring that “We do not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business. The terrorists started this war, and the President made it clear that we will end it at a time and place of our choosing.” Hughes responds that, “Apart from his apparent future as an advertising copywriter, his final statement left me asking: If you can end it whenever you want, why not end it now? Now would be great.”

Bin Laden ends his missive with a warning:

Don't let your strength and modern arms fool you. They win a few battles but lose the war. Patience and steadfastness are much better. We were patient in fighting the Soviet Union with simple weapons for 10 years and we bled their economy and now they are nothing. In that there is a lesson for you.

I think he needs a history lesson. This nation’s founders started out by pledging their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in conflict with the most powerful nation on earth. Our resolve against barbarism is no less complete.

In that, there is a lesson for bin Laden.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on January 22, 2006 9:26 PM.

Thomas Frank: "Taking names: Anti-liberalism in theory and practice" was the previous entry in this blog.

Barnes’ hagiography of Dubya is the next entry in this blog.

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