Saturday, September 08, 2007

Osama bin Laden message of 7 September 2007

Which is available here as well as through the title link. I encourage you to read it. People have been saying that it sounds like bin Laden has been reading lefty blogs because he mentions Noam Chomsky and Michael Scheur, who was the previously anonymous author who wrote "Imperial Hubris". Bin Laden also denounces corporations, American empire, the destruction of the environment, the claims of America to be a functioning democracy. But these things don't indicate that bin Laden is on the side of the left, instead they indicate something that the majority of commentators have ignored but that has been present from the start, which is that bin Laden and company are no fools.

Although they're Islamic fundamentalists the people who are at least at the top of the organizations that bin Laden funds benefit from the simple fact that they see the United States through the same lens that many of the people outside of the United States see it, which means that things like the sorts of analysis that Noam Chomsky and others offer isn't foreign to them. They're actually educated and savvy. People have erred in thinking that they're like the Taliban, i.e. ignorant. Instead, they used Afghanistan and the Taliban government for their own purposes. The irony of all of this is that people who support a fundamentalist Islamic State have turned out to be better informed about world events and about the United States itself than a majority of the actual citizens of the U.S. There was an interesting note that was published in the papers by Moussaoui that was intended for Bush and Rumsfeld that outlined a few simple history questions and questions about foreign affairs that he wanted to ask them, questions that anyone familiar with the subjects could have answered but that they seem to be ignorant of. The meaning was clear: Bush and company were ignorant idiots. To switch thing a little bit, the hiding out in a cave stuff is misleading as well because caves in Afghanistan, that have been inhabited for centuries, have things like electricity and running water and aren't isolated from the world.

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The anti-capitalist parts of bin Laden's message should be measured against what he sees as the solution to the problems, which is a non-capitalist Islamic state. This is basically a right-wing alternative to capitalism, which is similar in kind to people who advocated, and sometimes still advocate, a return to the Catholic regulations of the Middle Ages, that on top of being theocratic were in fact anti-capitalist in that they restrained the power of industry. The analysis might be ok, but the solution I don't really care for, not because I have a problem with Islam but because I'm not a fan of right wing theocratic socialism, especially one where religious law would be rigorously enforced, to the letter, as bin Laden says.

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