Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bin Laden's America

Bin Laden's latest single is fascinating reading. Anyone who really cares about the War on Islamist Terrorism ought to read it all.

There's very little Arabic poetry in it. And a whole lot of insight into how he sees us. People who are commenting on it often miss something: They apply bin Laden's words to the reality on the ground, and they try to guess what game he's trying to play. But bin Laden lives in a bubble more impermeable than anything you can imagine around Bush.

I don't think bin Laden is playing to the Arab street or making points against his rivals. I think this is his sincere bid to play another card in his game against America. And I think he believes this is going to get him closer to victory. He knows he won't win on a battlefield but by waiting for us to lose the will to keep fighting him on the fields of his choice, and be overcome by our own internal dissents and by fear of the unknown he can visit upon us.

This is bin Laden's America.

But I plan to speak about the repeated errors your President Bush has committed in comments on the results of your polls that show an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. But he (Bush) has opposed this wish and said that withdrawing troops sends the wrong message to opponents, that it is better to fight them (bin Laden's followers) on their land than their fighting us (Americans) on our land.

... And what deepens the doubt over the White House's information is the fact that it targets the media reporting the truth from the ground. And it has appeared lately, supported by documents, that the butcher of freedom in the world (Bush) had decided to bomb the headquarters of the Al-Jazeera in Qatar after bombing its offices in Kabul and Baghdad.

... Declaring this defeat is just a matter of time, depending partly on how much the American people know of the size of this tragedy. The sensible people realize that Bush does not have a plan to make his alleged victory in Iraq come true.

Clearly, he's paying attention. He uses phrases that seem to have been lifted directly from the headlines and makes repeated references to poll results. These are the essential foundations of the America he is addressing. What America is that?

Or from the speeches of Cindy Sheehan and her ilk:

... Pentagon figures show the number of your dead and wounded is increasing not to mention the massive material losses, the destruction of the soldiers' morale there and the rise in cases of suicide among them. So you can imagine the state of psychological breakdown that afflicts a soldier as he gathers the remains of his colleagues after they stepped on land mines that tore them apart. After this situation the soldier is caught between two hard options. He either refuses to leave his military camp on patrols and is therefore dogged by ruthless punishments enacted by the Vietnam Butcher (U.S. army) or he gets destroyed by the mines. This puts him under psychological pressure, fear and humiliation while his nation is ignorant of that (what is going on). The soldier has no solution except to commit suicide. That is a strong message to you, written by his soul, blood and pain, to save what can be saved from this hell. The solution is in your hands if you care about them (the soldiers).

Or Michael Moore:

And if you compare the small number of dead on the day that Bush announced the end of major operations in that fake, ridiculous show aboard the aircraft carrier with the tenfold number of dead and wounded who were killed in the smaller operations, you would know the truth of what I say. This is that Bush and his administration do not have the will or the ability to get out of Iraq for their own private, suspect reasons.

Bin Laden believes he can influence domestic politics in America, or at least exploit the weakness in the domestic body politic. He believes that America consists of the power bloc in the White House, and the vast majority, which is represented by Sheehan, Moore, Chomsky, et al.

If he understood that these were marginal voices among us, fighting to persuade the majority to at least listen to their view, he wouldn't be fondling their talking points with his bloody fingers. He lives in a world where what he says here is obvious truth to most Americans. What America is that?

... I say that results of polls please those who are sensible, and Bush's opposition to them is a mistake. ... Based on what has been said, this shows the errors of Bush's statement β€” the one that slipped from him β€” which is at the heart of polls calling for withdrawing the troops.

He's even got a reading list now, though it's limited to one book. And it's a favorite of the anti-war fringe left, but he seems to think we'd all enjoy it.

And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book "Rogue State," which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all."

Much has been made in the news accounts of this passage:

We don't mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America who have supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars β€” which lets us understand the insistence by Bush and his gang to carry on with war.

It's a slap in the face. Once again, bin Laden is banking on our ignorance and pusillanimity. As he sees us, we the people would be persuaded by the offer of a truce. We only want to get out of the wars, and he teases us with this possibility.

In one of the most consistent principles of Islamic Sacred Law, "truce" means a peace treaty with those hostile to Islam, involving a cessation of fighting for a specified period, whether for payment or something else. A truce is a matter of the gravest consequence to a Muslim because it entails the nonperformance of the sacred duty of jihad. Consequently, there must be some interest served to the Muslims in making a truce other than mere preservation of the status quo. It only can be done in the expectation that it will give the Muslims a long-term advantage and ultimate victory.

Bin Laden knows that his Islamist followers will be smart enough to read the code, and he is confident we won't. He's banking on our ignorance.

Bin Laden closes with a surge of bluster, a confident statement that his side will never surrender, even in defeat.

Finally, I say that war will go either in our favor or yours. If it is the former, it means your loss and your shame forever, and it is headed in this course. If it is the latter, read history! We are people who do not stand for injustice and we will seek revenge all our lives. The nights and days will not pass without us taking vengeance like on Sept. 11, God permitting. Your minds will be troubled and your lives embittered. As for us, we have nothing to lose. A swimmer in the ocean does not fear the rain. You have occupied our lands, offended our honor and dignity and let out our blood and stolen our money and destroyed our houses and played with our security and we will give you the same treatment.

You have tried to prevent us from leading a dignified life, but you will not be able to prevent us from a dignified death. Failing to carry out jihad, which is called for in our religion, is a sin. The best death to us is under the shadows of swords. 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.

And there is bin Laden's America for you. It is a place full of people eager to end the war, eager to see no more deaths, fully convinced that the president lied and deceived the people. A people seeking peace, and afraid of war. What does bin Laden know of America? What he sees on the worldwide news broadcasts. Bin Laden sees America through the lense of CNN.

Bin Laden is a bubble boy. He sees the America of the mainstream media, and senses its weaknesses and faults as the editors and producers of the news programs suggest them. He really thinks this speech will drive more wedges into America. Thoughtful Americans will only be more repulsed by the lunatic anti-war fringe after seeing their rhetoric embraced by the mastermind of 9/11.

He doesn't parrot Sheehan and Moore because he believes as they do. He does so because he thinks we believe as they do. How can it not be so? In bin Laden's caliphate, or in any Arab nation he has experience of, such capring dissidents would never be tolerated to live, unless the powers lived in fear of their hold on the masses. And don't the media reports and the poll results seem to confirm him in this?

He thinks this is who we are. Our own media taught him this. Poor Sam; all he knows is what he reads in the papers or sees on CNN. These days, that's a terrible way to get a grip on realities.

Like Stalin and Hitler before him, bin Laden he is certain that the West -- and the U.S. in particular -- can never hold together long enough to win a war against him.

Like Stalin and Hitler before him, bin Laden trusts that the inherent nature of the West is weak and decadent and impatient, ruled by perversions and Jews.

Like Stalin and Hitler before him, bin Laden knows how to hit hard, confident that his mighty fist can crumble the West's will to resist. And like them, he also knows when to be patient and bide his time while the West's own poisons work on its system.

And from time to time, he thinks he can give it a nudge. He believes he can play this game, and he believes he can win. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hitler was jubilant. "There's no way we can lose the war now!" he exclaimed.

Like Stalin and Hitler before him, bin Laden hasn't a clue what he is up against.