Osama bin Laden purportedly released a new audio tape on April 15. The CIA, after studying the recording, believes that the voice on the tape is in fact bin Laden’s, but cannot say for certain how old the tape is. No one has actually seen the al-Qaeda mastermind since 2001, but he is believed to be hiding out somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistani border, under hot pursuit by Coalition Special Forces and Pakistani militias.
The tape was initially broadcast by the pan-Arab, al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera satellite channels. The essence of the tape has been reported around the globe as a conditional truce offering to European nations, who bin Laden refers to as “our neighbors north of the Mediterranean,” but much more has been revealed by the release of this tape than initially reported.
One thing is for certain – bin Laden is a genius. This is clearly evident by the sophistication of his worldwide terror network, but it goes beyond that. The tape shows the real workings of a political mastermind as well.
It includes carefully chosen words, sentences crafted to leave room for ambiguity and debate, a message seemingly carrying tones of willingness to engage in reasonable and thoughtful discourse, and yet there is a divisive and politically destructive message.
He recognizes that the neo-conservative movement around the globe wants nothing more than to engage him, especially militarily, in a match that he cannot win. But the tone of Mr. bin Laden’s message makes exceedingly evident what he thinks of democracy, especially western democracies. He sees them as too weak, too fragile, and as lacking the resolve to continue to carry out President Bush’s War on Terror.
Clinical Psychologist Davis Gutmann, in The View from Abroad in December 2003, talked about the cultural aspect of al Qaeda, saying that they “are most likely to attack an enemy who appears weak rather than strong and threatening. The weak enemy is corrupt, effeminate, and ready to surrender his honor…they fantasize about the foe’s humiliation.” Additionally, bin Laden recognizes the very real, very legitimate, and very wide gap between the conservatives in the White House, the left-wing opposition in America, and socialist-dominated Europe.
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the Madrid bombings are regarded not as acts of terror, but “reaction coming at the same level as the original action.” The thousands murdered by his terror network are “commodities returned to us.” Mr. bin Laden carefully exploited the typical left-wing opinion that the execution of war is directly related to major companies.
“We must take into consideration that this war brings billions in profit to major companies…such as Halliburton Company,” says bin Laden. He refers to the assassination of the Hamas terrorist Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as “the killing of the old and the handicapped.” If his terrorists spill our blood, it is not the fault of the terrorists, for we must “blame ourselves” because our social injustice has brought this war upon us. We will pay with our lives for our support of Israel and Jews.
While western leaders, conservative and liberal alike, almost immediately rejected the supposed truce, and rightfully so, we must recognize the wedge al Qaeda wishes to drive between us by exploiting political divisions.
The goal is to send western democracies into political chaos. It was a strategic decision to mention “recent events and opinion polls, which indicates…people want peace…” in contrast to the wishes of our “bloodsucking” leaders. In this case, our divisions are referenced outright.
Any chance for peace with America has passed; bin Laden points out that Operation Restore Hope in Somalia of 1993, America was “made to leave without hope, Praise be God.” It is clear he believes our action in Somalia was apropos of the American paper tiger that he thinks will cut and run with enough political pressure.
If he continues to pay attention to our politics, it would not be surprising if he and Ted Kennedy begin to compete to see who can say Vietnam and quagmire the most times in a week.
Bin Laden is clearly trying to capitalize on the liberals’ willingness to surrender in Iraq and the typical conservative position to tough it out at virtually any cost. In Europe, they were unwilling to allow him to exploit this. Even if you agree with the notion of big, bad Halliburton, and our spilling of innocent blood (as many anti-war activists do), just remember that his claims are driven by strategy, not by good will.
Given the opportunity, war in Iraq and Afghanistan or not, he would kill us all. History proves this to be the case. It is not about our current war, but about our willingness to tolerate all peoples, especially Jews, that drives the hatred in these men. And remember that democracy is viewed as inadequate and as something to be conquered.
He will continue to try to capitalize on our divisions, but we must remain resolved to promote homeland solidarity as well as homeland security in order to win this war on terrorism.
Terry Tracy can be reached at email@example.com.