Monday, September 14, 2009

Osama Bin Laden Speaks (probably): New Verse; Same Song

Hats off to Osama bin Laden.

Or whoever made the speech that's been attributed to bin Laden.

Demonstrating, perhaps, that he can learn from mistakes, Al Qaeda's leader didn't repeat Ayman al-Zawahri's remark that the president of the United States was a "house slave" or "house negro." (November 21, 2008) The remark was translated both ways.

That crack didn't go over too well, here in America. As I wrote at the time,
"...Woodstock is history, disco is dead, black members of congress make the news because of what they do, not what they look like, and America will very soon swear in its first black president...."
(November 21, 2008)
Not all of America's best and brightest (by their standards) have realized that this isn't the America of 1963: but that's another topic.

Other than that, Bin Laden's message is another verse of the same old song:
"...'To the American people, this is my message to you: a reminder of the reasons behind 9/11 and the wars and the repercussions that followed and the way to resolve it,' the message said.

" 'From the beginning, we have stated many times ... that the cause of our disagreement with you is your support of your allies, the Israelis, who are occupying our land in Palestine. Your stance along with some other grievances are what led us to carry out the events of 9/11.'..."
'And it is the fault of the [scapegoat]' is a common refrain for people who are dissatisfied with reality, and either can't or won't recognize their own deficiencies. When I was growing up, 'it is the fault of the commies' came from one direction, while 'it is the fault of capitalists' came from another. If people who blamed capitalists liked long phrases, they'd say something like 'military-industrial complex.' And, they still do.

Which, again, is another topic.

"House negro" wasn't in the speech, but the idea is still there.
" The message claims that the Obama administration is under the influence of the Republican White House it replaced, pointing out that the president kept Robert Gates as defense secretary -- a holdover from the Bush administration.

" 'Prolong the wars as much as you like. By God, we will never compromise on it (Palestine), ever,' the message continued...."
"...we will never compromise" - that might be well to remember. Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups most likely won't be willing to compromise: on the plight of the poor, poor Palestinians; or much of anything else.

That's an important point to remember.

Even if a magnanimous Caliph of Winnipeg decided to let people wear trousers during winter months (maybe after paying an 'infidel tax'), I don't think that life under what Al Qaeda seems to have in mind would be any more pleasant than Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Of course, it isn't just about trousers: there's the centuries-long development of freedom and individual rights that I think many people in the West would miss. Even the 'sophisticated' ones, who loath and despise America in general and the American military in particular for defending those rights.

As for the assertion that Barack Obama's neck is under the heel of Massa Bush: nonsense. I don't agree with President Obama in many points. But I do think that he's an intelligent, highly articulate man. And I think that he is quite interested, for a mixture of reasons, in having an America around four years from now, for his second term.

On that, we're on the same page. It's very improbable that I'll vote for Obama in the next presidential elections: but I certainly want an America around to hold them.

'Bring the Troops Home?' Not Gonna Happen

Some time ago, I wrote about how nice it would be for all American soldiers to be home with their families. (July 27, 2007) My family knows a family whose father spent a very long time in Iraq - and one of my brothers-in-law will be over there as a (civilian) firefighter for some time. It's rough on the families. I'd much rather have everybody home.

But it's not gonna happen. Like it or not, America is a large, powerful country - and the only one in the world with both the ability and the will to form coalitions against tyranny. We've been conditioned to regard that as "corny," at best. But it's true.

America can 'go it alone:'
  • With over two dozen other nations
    • Operating under a United Nations mandate
  • Remove a brutal dictator
  • Enable local and regional leaders to root out murderous fanatics in their country
  • Stick around for the years - decades - it will take for the country to get back on its feet
America could, hypothetically, pull its military out of every other country; stop exporting products and services; stop importing products and services; pretend that the rest of the world wasn't there.

Not gonna happen. America depends on trade with other countries - like it or not - and we all depend on a large, stable country being around to provide the sort of willing leadership it takes to deal with an imperfect world.

Which isn't the same as "occupying" other countries. If having American soldiers stationed in another country is "occupying" the country - or "oppressing" it, then America has been occupying Germany and Japan for over sixty years. Professor Churchill and some other serious thinkers may see the situation that way: but I doubt that the Japanese and German governments do.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.