Archive for September 9th, 2007


Bin Laden Thinks We’ll Do Ourselves In

September 9, 2007

There’s been a lot of buzz (and spin) on the blogs about the latest bin Laden video, so I might as well add my thoughts on it. 

Like many people, I wondered if bin Laden was still alive, so I’m going to go ahead and assume that this appearance proves that he is (although I suppose that it is possible that it’s a hoax).  I only saw a portion of it, so I’ll base my comments from here on in on the transcript.

Bin Laden is all over the board with this.  He mentions everything from Chomsky to global warming to capitalism to Iraq to Jesus and Mary.  I was three pages in and I was a bit unsure if it was really making any sense.  It started out as veiled gloating and evolved into what could best be described as…um…advice.   Eventually, I think I got it, however.

What’s remarkably absent, I guess, is any talk of future attacks.   The point I think he’s attempting to make here is that they don’t need to.   He’s appears to be saying that 9/11 was a catalyst that prompted a course of action that will lead to our downfall.   According to bin Laden,  because of our flawed capitalist system combined with our stubborn and arrogant leadership (who do the bidding of the corporations), we will bankrupt ourselves…and the only thing that will save us is Islam.

While reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder what the heck he’d have to say if we hadn’t invaded Iraq.  Who knows?  Maybe he wouldn’t be saying anything.  Maybe he’d be dead or captured by now.

Another thing worth mentioning is the question of whether any of this is really what he believes.  This propagandistic speech is directed at us Americans, and it would be irresponsible to dismiss the notion that he’s just messing with us.  In other words, the speech itself is less a genuine piece of advise and more of an instrument of sociological warfare.  In fact, Jason Stark over at mvdg proposes exactly that:

If I am right about Osama’s plan, then he must be very happy. Actually, he must be very happy regardless of whether he planned it. The response from far right and far left are predictable and to Osama’s benefit. Rather than focusing on how to best fight bin Laden, both the far left and the far right are spending all their energy on each other. The only winner from this obsessive internal political demonization that has become the sum total of American political culture? Osama bin Laden.

Maybe we’re both right.  Perhaps the message kills 2 birds with one stone.  He gets to gloat and inspire and stick his grubby fingers in our political discourse at the same time. 

I feel kind of guilty even posting about this now.  After all, we’re allowing a bearded nutbar in a cave on the other side of the globe to have so much power.  How humiliating. 

Update:  The Telegraph speculates that bin Laden’s speechwriter may be Adam Gadahn.

Bin Laden referred to “the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgage” and blamed “global warming and its woes” on “emissions of the factories the major corporations”.

A former senior US intelligence official said: “It has Adam Gadahn written all over it.” Mike Baker, a former CIA covert operations officer, said the tape left bin Laden with “the title of biggest gas bag in the terrorist world”.