Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Was this OBL's Message: U.S. Deserves Imminent WMD Attack?

Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor of Global Information Service, argues in Monday's Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily that Osama bin Laden's main audience in his recent speech was the Arab world, not Americans, and that his main message was the heralding and defense of a mass-killing spectacular strike against the United States.

Bodansky takes bin Laden's message to be an anticipatory moral defense:
He emphasized that the key to the security of all Americans was in their own hands: "Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush, or al-Qaida . Your security is in your own hands." This can be done if Americans, through the electoral process, profoundly changed the policy of the US and ended the war on terrorism. "Each and every state that does not tamper with our security will have automatically assured its own security," bin Laden noted. Left unstated was the most important point: namely, that if US voters chose to support the continuation of the war on terrorism in one form or another they would be held responsible for the inevitable retaliation. This was the logic behind the spectacular strikes of September 11, 2001, and this logic remains valid.
In a November 2001 interview by Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, Bin Laden made the argument that given their participation in the democratic process, no US citizen was actually an innocent civilian.
"This is a major point in jurisprudence," bin Laden explained. "In my view, if an enemy occupies a Muslim territory and uses common people as human shield, then it is permitted to attack that enemy. ... The American people should remember that they pay taxes to their government, they elect their president, their government manufactures arms and gives them to Israel and Israel uses them to massacre Palestinians. The American Congress endorses all government measures and this proves that the entire America is responsible for the atrocities perpetrated against Muslims: the entire America, because they elect the Congress."
Bodansky reports that in the summer 2004 there began a crescendo of threatening messages, referring to the forthcoming use of weapons of mass destruction against the West, with a strong hint of the use of a nuclear weapon. He also notes that the threats delivered in American English by Azzam al-Amriki in late October of spectacular strikes against American cities have been echoed in numerous messages delivered in Arabic, Dari and a host of other languages.

A note from the Editor reports that GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs sources within the Islamist movements in the Balkans all report, on October 31, 2004, an upsurge in the rumors of a planned nuclear strike by Islamists on one or more U.S. targets. The note adds that Bosnian groups linked to the radical Islamist party SDA were active in supporting the terrorists who carried out the attacks on September 11 in the United States and in March 2004 in Madrid.

Bodansky concludes that taken together, these warnings have created great expectations among those faithful to the Islamic jihadist movement and that the leadership is not likely to ignore or fail to fulfill these expectations.

[Ed. In the full text of the speech posted on Aljazeera.Net, there is a grisly attempt by bin Laden to lay the blame for 9/11 on the victims. He claims to discern in their gestures before the collapse of the towers this message: "How mistaken we were to have allowed the White House to implement its aggressive foreign policies against the week..." Bin Laden then sees the victims imploring living Americans to hold their leaders to account, thereby implying that if we do not, we too will be guilty and thus deserving of the attacks of the Islamists.]

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