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.


Jared said...

OK, you got me. I voted for "other". Here's why. I see it as a a combination of the first three to some extent.

I know, you probably weren't looking for an "all of the above" type answer but it is the one that fits best.

Jettboy said...

I voted NO, because, what exactly is Osama bin Laden right about? Does anyone really know his arguments and grievances?

Nate said...

Since I'm the only terrorist/freedom fighter vote, I thought I'd explain...

I just imagine if I were brought up to think 'x', that is what I would believe is right. To start a war, it doesn't matter who is right, just that both sides think that they are right.

I'm reminded of the many stories I have heard about young LDS people raised in Germany that fought for the Nazis.

It's a hard dilemma, and makes you think about our enemies in a different light...they are also your brothers.

That said...if Osama is in my cross hairs, I fire.

Now I'm confused. Hence, my vote.

Evgenii said...

Jettboy, my post below the actual poll provides three of his stated grievances against the West. The question is are they really legitimate or is he completely wrong. I even provided links to interviews that he conducted with ABC and al-Jazeera so you can see exactly what his views are. If you are not sure if he is telling the truth that those really are his views, then No is probably the best vote.

Jettboy said...

"If you are not sure if he is telling the truth that those really are his views, then No is probably the best vote."

Bingo! At best those are simply side issues based on his real arguments that he simply has directly expressed. If I was to parse the views presented then his main argument is that he hates anyone who isn't Muslim or even his kind of Muslim.

Jettboy said...

I meant:

At best those are simply side issues based on his real arguments that he simply has not directly expressed.

JLJ said...

Every country has it's grievances. But most countries at least try to exhaust diplomatic efforts before waging war. I agree with Jettboy that OBL's ultimate grievance was not expressed because it wouldn't play well into his strategy of pitting the West against itself - playing on our own sense of Christian guilt. Are there any good reasons or grievances for spreading terror and preaching hate?

роден от моето сърце said...

While I may not know OBL's internal grievances, his external one's are legitimate and strike a chord with most other Arabs and muslims worldwide. We can't comprehend their grievances because in reality the US does not have many. Or it if does, it's not to the magnitude of Middle Easterners.

While at the end of the day OBL wants to push his interpretation of Islam on other more moderate muslims, he doesn't need to try very hard to use arguments that rally most of the downtrodden. He is believe of Sayid Qutb who advocated that the Muslim Umma (community) is in jahiliyyah (apostasy) and that the only way to restore Islam's grandeur is by going back to the Islam of great civilizations of the 12 and 13th centuries. My point is that if we address his main public grievances, most Muslims will not be willing to accept his view of reform.

JLJ, you ask whether there are any good reasons for spreading terror or hate. I would argue that US actions in WWII and other wars would surely fall into that category. Because we are the victors, we define the terms of how history views these events. But one cannot say that the attacks on 9/11 were more terrorizing than Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or the napalm dropping on Tokyo. Did we have our justification? Yes. Did we commit massive atrocities? I will not comment. To OBL and other muslims, we are the aggressors and have caused the death and suffering of millions. At what point is terror accepted as a necessity. It was in 1945, but not in 2009. We are excused because of self-defense. We do not think his is. However, a majority of people in that world would certainly consider it self-defense.

JLJ said...

War is horrid and sometimes neccesary. I don't think the terror exacted on 9/11 compares at all to the bombing of Japan. First, those were attacks were part of a declared war. A war that came after years of failing diplomacy. There has been little or no effort on the part of OBL to negotiate with the West. Second, the people and government were forewarned of the attacks, they knew they were coming. That is one of the things that differeniates terror and acts of war. There was no such warning for the people on 9/11.

I remain firm in my opinion that terror is never justified. I can't argue that war is always justified either. But the efforts of diplomacy and attempts to solve grievances passively is what separates the people who love violence and the people who truly want to live in a world of peace.

Anonymous said...

Osama bin Laden is too late to start bankrupting America. That was started many years ago by another group of so-called terrorists - see Keynesian Economics and Savings for a primer.

Anonymous said...