The transcript of Osama bin Laden’s newest video, in which he speaks directly to American listeners, is available here. It is intensely interesting, for a number of reasons.
First, the subject matter is Iraq, almost exclusively. Bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders have said that Iraq is the main front in their global war against us. That sentiment is repeated in the video. Bin Laden begins by saying that he will “[discuss] the war that is between us,” and that discussion is entirely about Iraq. Later, he says it is “our duty” to “escalate the killing and fighting against you” in Iraq, and that “our brothers are carrying it out.” It has never been plausible to suggest that the war in Iraq is anything other than fundamental to our conflict with al Qaeda and related groups; after this video, any such suggestion is impossible.
Second, the affinity between Muslim extremism and Western leftism has never been so clearly displayed. Bin Laden sounds for all the world like a Marxist. He praises Noam Chomsky as one of the “most capable” of American war opponents. Over and over, he attributes American foreign policy to “the owners of the major corporations.” In bin Laden’s view, “[t]hose with real power and influence are those with the most capital,” and “the essence of man-made positive laws is that they serve the interests of those with capital and thus make the rich richer and the poor poorer.”
Third, bin Laden’s disappointment in the Democrats is palpable:
The vast majority of you [Americans] want [the Iraq war] stopped. Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose….
Let’s pause there. Remember the video that bin Laden released just before the 2004 election? It was virtually a campaign commercial for John Kerry. When the Democrats finally won in 2006, bin Laden must have thought victory was at hand. But no:
…but the Democrats haven’t made a move worth mentioning.
He’s right about that. Bin Laden offers the Marxist explanation that our government is controlled by big corporations, so the Democrats are powerless.
Fourth, the extent to which bin Laden’s talk is a pastiche of liberal cliches and conspiracy theories is striking. He obviously has access to our newspapers, and it sounds like he may be a fan of left-wing web sites as well. Thus, “all of mankind is in danger because of…global warming.” The Kennedy assassination finds its way into the story: it was ordered by “the owners of major corporations who were benefiting from [the Vietnam war’s] continuation.”
Speaking of Vietnam: just as the Democrats can’t let go of Vietnam analogies, neither can bin Laden. He says–shades of John Kerry!–that Americans “murdered two million villagers” there. Bin Laden goes a little astray, however, when he tries to lay Vietnam at the feet of the “neoconservatives.” He describes Donald Rumsfeld as “the most violent of [America’s] murderers” in Vietnam. Actually, Rumsfeld served in the Navy from 1954 to 1957, but was too old for Vietnam.
On Iraq, bin Laden reads from the liberal script. Iraq is a “civil war;” America’s involvement was fomented by “neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Richard Perle;” “American statistics” say that 650,000 Iraqis have been killed; the justifications for the Iraq war are “based on deception and blatant lies;” the war was “entirely unnecessary, as testified to by your own reports;” war opponents have denounced the conflict in “eloquent terms” like “no to spilling red blood for black oil;” “thinkers” world-wide have predicted the imminent collapse of the “American Empire;” Bush’s problem in Iraq is that he “refused to look at the facts on the ground.” And, weirdest of all: “If you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing of your war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer in this regard.”
I’m starting to think bin Laden is a regular poster on the Daily Kos.
Bin Laden’s tirade does have a point: “To conclude, I invite you to embrace Islam.” Presumably the American liberals who share so many of bin Laden’s beliefs don’t intend to convert. Sometimes I wonder, though, what their alternative is.
Finally, I can’t conclude without acknowledging that in one respect, bin Laden does diverge from the left-wing line: he denounces America’s “insane taxes,” and points out that “[t]here are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling only 2.5%.” I suppose it’s a case of the blind pig and the acorn. Someone might want to tell bin Laden there are one or two places where he needs to catch up with the party line.
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