Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday Afternoon Poll - Is Osama bin Laden Right?
This is going into a more random topic that has come to my thoughts lately. I will try to keep it brief.
With the recent worldwide economic problems, we seem to have forgotten about the long-bearded one, Osama bin Laden. The financial crisis, however, actually makes me think more about him. For some time now, he has waged his war against the West, knowing that he will not win on the battlefield, but can win in the pocketbook. He learned this from his experience in fighting an expensive Soviet incursion into Afghanistan in the 1980's, bankrolled by the US taxpayer of course.
I am sure that at this moment, Bin Laden thinks he has us on the run. And if he were standing in front of most of our banks, he would definitely be right that if they weren't on the run, there is most likely going to be a run on them (I just came up with that in like five seconds, seriously!). This leads me to wonder more about his cause.
In 1999, before Bin Laden became the bogeyman of the American imagination, he granted an interview with ABC to discuss his grievances with the West and the recent attacks on US Embassies in East Africa. In this and other interviews he has conducted, Bin Laden has highlighted his main grievances as:
1) Foreign armies (comprised of Christians and Jews) in the land of the two Holy cities, namely Mecca and Medina. Of course he speaks of the US base in Saudi Arabia. According to a moderate Arab friend of mine, this is to a Muslim what having a Muslim army located in Temple Square would be to a Mormon.
2) Support of Israel. I don't think I need to go here, but the last incursion into Gaza didn't do Israel any public relations favors. Yes, they certainly have the right to defend themselves, but responding to rock throwing with an F-15 is not going to win you sympathy points. Let's leave this out of the comments for argument unless it is a substantive comment.
3) Exploitation and death of Muslims. By supporting corrupt regimes who brutalize their own people (i.e. Egypt, Algeria, etc.) for cheap oil, the US is attacking Muslims, or so he says. Our most recent stroll into Iraq, on faulty premises, doesn't exactly help the West's denial of these points.
So, (and I am finally getting to my point) does Osama bin Laden have a legitimate grievance. Perhaps he does. But does this excuse horrific violence of innocent people? Or is he to us what American Colonists were to George III?
See also this article from CNN about an al-Jazeera interview from 2004 where he states that he wants to bankrupt America. I guess that's not hard when we do all the work for him. Well played Osama, well played.