Alarming News

October 31, 2004

Quote of the Day

And now, we have convincing proof to those who said that Bush’s foreign policy was actually a benefit to Al-Qaeda, in that it supposedly inflamed the Arab world against America: here’s Osama bin Laden himself, trying to declare a truce with Americans, and sounding less like Saladin and more like some over-earnest college professor with anti-Bush stickers on his Volvo.

-Daily Lunch.

Posted by Karol at 10:41 PM |

Yeah, well, considering Osama’s dead and this tape was starring some over-earnest college professor in a fake beard, I’ll readily accept Dubya’s plan for democratizing the Arab world over Kerry’s plan for…for…
Oh, he still hasn’t specified it? In light of his voting record in the Senate, it must be a plan to surrender.

Posted by: Oschisms at October 31, 2004 at 11:59 pm

Literally, every person who believes bin Laden said something new or novel in this video is an idiot. A pure and simple idiot. That’s what he said for the ten years before 9/11; that’s what he said immeidately after 9/11; and that’s what he’ll keep saying until somebody goes in there and offs him. Whether you want to believe him or not is another story, but what he expressed in the video are the exact same terms that he’s always put on the table.

Posted by: Andrew at November 1, 2004 at 12:18 am

Karol, thanks!
Andrew, hey, you called me stupid! Didn’t you learn your manners? Anyway, here’s the infamous Guardian transcript of one of Bin Laden’s earlier audiotapes (assuming it was him). Among other delightful things, he says there’s no point negotiating: “There can be no dialogue with occupiers except through arms. Throughout the past century, Islamic countries have not been liberated from occupation except through jihad.”

Posted by: Yaron at November 1, 2004 at 10:31 am

Did you actually read that? I don’t even mean the transcript–the quote, did you read the quote? Let’s take another look:
“There can be no dialogue with occupiers except through arms. Throughout the past century, Islamic countries have not been liberated from occupation except through jihad.”
Does anything stand out to you this time? Anything that–oh, I don’t know–says that we’re doing something and that we thinks we could stop doing? I’m still not saying we should listen to him, but right there in the very short quote you gave me, bin Laden said exactly what we needed to do to avoid conflict.
So yes, manners or not, I think that people who can’t bother to read that because they’re convinced that “the terrorists hate us for our freedom!” is an idiot. Sorry.

Posted by: Andrew at November 1, 2004 at 11:39 am

Well, at least the argument is now down to a manageable quote. So: the quote is directed toward fellow Muslims (the transcript makes that clear). He’s saying there’s no negotiating with America or Israel – warfare is the only way. But now he’s trying to negotiate with Americans by saying if you vote for Kerry/pull out of Iraq/whatever we won’t harm you. As far as I know it’s his first message directed at Americans and not just at fellow Muslims. That’s a clear reversal.

Posted by: Yaron at November 1, 2004 at 12:54 pm

How is it clear? He’s telling his fellow Muslim’s that there is no negotiating with occupiers. Which, by pretty fricking “clear” implication means that if the occupiers stop occupying, there’s no more jihad. The trick is to actually read the sentence the way that he said it. He used the word “occupier”, which is a role that a nation can choose to fulfill or not. When no nations are filling that role, when no nations are occupiers, the sentence falls apart, you see.
I don’t see how you somehow broaden that to:
“we must keep fighting America even if they become an isolationist nation on the other side of the world because we hate their freedom.”
He’s always been critical of our foreign policy, and that’s always been the underlying justification for his actions. Every message directed at the American people, even indirectly like the one you supplied, has made that quite clear. Do you really not see it?

Posted by: Andrew at November 1, 2004 at 1:09 pm

Okay… I went to your blog and I see what you’re hang up is. You’re feeding entirely off the difference in tone between this video and prior messages that were directed at Muslims…
But don’t you see how these are different audiences that always need to receive different messages? He needs to appeal to two different demographics, just like any politician. He needs “the base” (yes the pun is on purpose) to get riled up for a global caliphate, and he needs to convince moderates that he’s really just trying to save the Middle East from Western interference. This makes him sound more reasonable to Arabs marginally sympathetic to Western efforts, and Westerners marginally sympathetic to Arabian perceptions of oppression and occupation.
But just like Arafat always voiced two messages to two audiences, this guy has always voiced two messages to two audiences. Giving the Americans one of those deliberately reasonable messages before their election is not really a sign of anything but good politics. He’s got selfish and epic motives, but needs the support of people who just want Western countries to stop butting in. And that’s how it’s always been.
[ And if I may say so, Yaron, I think you'd make for a crappy megalomaniac. You just don't seem to have a good enough feel for being duplicitous, which is a vital element. :) ]

Posted by: Andrew at November 1, 2004 at 1:26 pm

Well, it may well be true that he’s being duplicitous a la Arafat, but that doesn’t change the fact that what he’s saying is on the surface a new approach. Not so stupid after all, is it?
Oh, and thanks, I think. You just watch, though! I’ll get a cat to stroke menacingly.

Posted by: Yaron at November 1, 2004 at 1:57 pm
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