Al Qaeda and you
Osama is jealous
Let's talk about Al Qaeda for a minute.
The American people have a bad habit of seeing all enemies as the next Hitler, the one man to stop, and with Al Qaeda, that is the wrong way to approach them.
Of course, the only discussion of terrorism in America is on JAG and 24, discussion as in thinking about the subject, as opposed to mouthing platitudes about the subject. Now people are pissed that Maggie Gyllenhaal actually had the nerve to suggest that the US might have actually enraged people with their policies.
The never blame America crowd, the people who endorse torture and murder, don't make the connection. They get up on their high horse and say "I love "Merika, we ain't do nothin'", while the rest of the world is indifferent to our very real struggle with people who want to,if not destroy this country, kill a bunch of Americans to make their point.
You cannot piss on your neighbor's lawn without people noticing. How many dictatorships have we propped up, how many AQ recruits did that create? More than one.
And when someone says anything which suggests this, they get shat on. Why? Because American exceptionalism is the thing that must be protected above all else. We can't be guilty of anything, so the people against us are just crazy terrorists.
And the understanding of these people is well, retarded by politics. Serious adults use the words "islamofascist" like the word means anything. It makes people like the always drunk Chris Hitchens feel like a man, like his naval officer daddy did on the bridge of a ship. But he didn't risk being sunk or seasickness or anything else remotely dangerous. He uses this word which not only sounds stupid, but makes no sense. Makes the user sounds as brave as jack lighting deer poachers but means nothing.
Osama Bin Laden is not a fascist. He is not seeking to dominate the world. Attaching islam to it makes no sense. WHy? Because that isn't what they're about.
Osama and friends are Islamic revivalists. Which means that they want to return to the 13th Century and the days of the Caliphate. This is not a new movement, but a repeated challenge to state power for at least 200 years, but it is utopian in nature. It has a history predating fascism and little in common with it. It is just a cheap way for chickenhawks to feel they are engaged in some new struggle.
And then, out of fear and political expediency, we conflated the threat of Al Qaeda and refused to deal with it's taliban allies seriously.
Afghanistan was used as the testbed of Donald Rumsfeld's theories of war. Which worked against the hillbillies who then went back into the hills and stayed there. Then they declared victory. Afghanistan was going to show how powerful the US was, and then every few months, we get a video from Osama and friends. Because Rumsfeld found out, at the cost of hundreds of Americans and the security of this country, his ideas on transformational warfare were seriously wrong. As much as I respect Special Forces, they are men, not supermen and there are limits as to what they can do. To think a few A teams can run around a country and win a war is insane.
Instead of investing the two to three divisions of paratroops and light infantry we needed there, they're now patrolling Iraq and losing. No matter what happens in Iraq, we will be in Afghanistan for years to come.
The fact that Bush and the GOP has shamelessly used Al Qaeda to get reelected has obscured the real threat from Al Qaeda.
First, AQ is not some vast network of millions of angry Arabs. Osama is the religious Che. People use his image as a way to stick it to the man. His image basically says fuck the state. While there are hard core supporters of Osama, the reality is that AQ is the new Bader-Meinhoff gang or the Japanese Red Army, disaffected graduate students who are pissed that they do not rule the world.
The 19 men who attacked the twin towers were middle class Saudis and Egyptians, people who could have had good lives in their countries or the west, but they were so pissed, that they decided to use violence to create their utopia. Why? Becuase it was a lot more fun to play terrorist than work for a living. There are thousands in their ranks, but the few people who are dangerous are able to hide in the masses of the disaffected. And since we have mangled our relations with the Arab world so seriously, AQ membership is a status symbol, like being a Black Panther.
Second, they are showboats.
If they had decided to set up 20 car and suicide bombs in Manhattan, instead of the WTC attacks, they could have shut the city down. But car bombs aren't flashy, and they want the world to notice them. Attacking the WTC was serious, but they had no capacity for follow on, and like graduate students, they hunt for the best theoretical solution and not the simple one. They can do one big attack every year or so, but a campaign of terror is beyond their grasp so far. Which is why the concentration on chemical and bioweapons is so rendolent of people who are still wedded to school solutions.
The resistance in Iraq is much more direct, they load up cars with RDX and blow people up.
But that isn't what Al Qaeda is interested in.
Osama Bin Laden has one goal and it isn't the destruction of the United States. It is to replace the Saud family with the Bin Laden family in running Saudi Arabia. No matter how much he cloaks his intentions in religion, his real goal is power. Osama is like so many rich dillitants who tire of a life of rent girls and casinos, and gets attached to a cauise. The life he should have lead would have made him a rich sybarite, with European mistresses and fat bank accounts. But with that life, he would have to obey the Sauds, and coming from the second family of Saudi Arabia, he wondered why it wasn't the first.
His plan to overthrow the Sauds comes through the US. If he can weaken the US, then the Sauds have no place to turn. And given the complete corruption of that family, AQ gains in Saudi Arabia have been profound.
And of course, Bush has inflated then ignored Osama as it served his purposes. He wanted to overthrow Saddam for any number of reasons, none of which had anything even remotely related to the security of the United States, but when time for the switch came, he told the American people and the Congress that Saddam was the real mastermind behind 9/11. A story only wingnut crackpots believed, but a lie which served their purposes all too well. The only problem was that Iraq was the best thing that ever happened to
Saddam Osama. Not only is it a live fire training ground for the motivated, it has trapped a large proportion of the US Army in Iraq. Every soldier patrolling Tikrit is one not patrolling the Hindu Kush. Osama couldn't be happier with this turn of events. Not only are US troops occuiped in a soul-killing, machine-destroying war, one which is shrinking the pool of potential recruits, he has 150,000 targets.
While the warmongers like to talk about the flypaper theory as if there are a finite number of terrorists, the reality is that it's more compost heap than flypaper. Iraq is training a new generation of hard core terrorists, nuturing and educating them. While the US has tried to pretend that there have been thousands of foriegn nationals flocking there, the reality is that the group is much smaller, but that much more dedicated.
And of course, while we are dying in Iraq, AQ grows stronger in Saudi Arabia. How many attacks have there been since 2003? 10, 20? All suicidal, but scary all the same. Before Iraq, this was rare, now, with the battleground of Iraq a handy training ground, Saudi Arabia can have any number of terrorists ready to kill Saudis after a few months of killing Americans.
The only way to protect the American people is to have Muslims realize that Revivalists will harm them more than help them. The racism of American policy shines through. We want freedom in Lebanon, but don't care if Egypt ever has free elections. We talk about elections in Iraq, but never say a word about the disnefranchisement of Saudi women. Arabs are not stupid, they are not blind. They see the hypocrisy and the lies and the abuse of the Palestinians and they treat our words as lies. American policy under Bush has hindered our war on terror not enhanced it.
The one greatest thing we could do to enhance our standing within the Arab world would be to ensure justice and stability for the Palestinians. This is the signature issue in the Arab world. They don't care about the farce of the Iraqi parliment or Lebanon. They care about Palestine and as long as Israel tries to deal with the Palestinians as subjects and not equals, AQ will always have a cause to rally around.
posted by Steve @ 9:12:00 AM