Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Osama Bin Bloggin'?

Just a thought, courtesy of Brendan O'Neill

["Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden"] is a collection of every public utterance made by the Al Qaeda leader from 1994 to 2004. According to The Observer’s excitable reviewer, it shows that he is a “charismatic man of action, an eloquent preacher, a teacher of literature and a resilient, cunning, wonderfully briefed politician.” To me, however, there was something irritatingly familiar rather than surprisingly eloquent about his tone and turns of phrase.

Then it struck me: Bin Laden is a blogger. Not literally, of course, but he certainly speaks the language of the blogosphere. He references Robert Fisk and Michael Moore, those darlings of the anti-war Web. His latest statement recommends that people read Rogue State by William Blum, whose e-mail newsletter, Anti-Empire Report, is frequently republished and discussed in the left-wing blogosphere. Bin Laden repeats criticisms of Bush and conspiracy theories about 9/11 that I have read a thousand times on a thousand blogs.

It is often said that the blogging explosion was a by-product of the September 11 attacks, as people launched online diaries to try to make sense of those shocking events. Here’s a thought: Perhaps bin Laden himself turned to the blogosphere after 9/11, in search of theories and arguments with which he might justify his murderous assault.