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January 20, 2006

Osama and the Lessons of Vietnam

Reading the full text of Osama bin Laden's audiotape (released yesterday by -- who else -- Al Jazeera, but believed to have been recorded in December) was fascinating. (Curiously, only the NYT and NY Post chose to publish the whole thing.) Just like in his pre-election video released in October 2004, Osama appears to be addressing the American people, and his talking points largely reflect the arguments of MoveOn.org and other domestic anti-war groups.

Here are a few themes he emphasizes that should sound familiar:

It's All Bush's Fault

. . . I plan to speak about the repeated errors your President Bush has committed . . .

. . . reports point to the ultimate failure and defeat of the unlucky quartet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. . .

. . . The sensible people realize that Bush does not have a plan to make his alleged victory in Iraq come true.. .

. . . And if you compare the small number of dead on the day that Bush announced the end of major operations in that fake, ridiculous show aboard the aircraft carrier with the tenfold number of dead and wounded who were killed in the smaller operations, you would know the truth of what I say. This is that Bush and his administration do not have the will or the ability to get out of Iraq for their own private, suspect reasons.

Bush Lies and Suppresses the Press

. . . The news of our brother mujahideen (holy warriors) is different from what the Pentagon publishes. They (the news of mujahideen) and what the media report is the truth of what is happening on the ground. And what deepens the doubt over the White House's information is the fact that it targets the media reporting the truth from the ground. And it has appeared lately, supported by documents, that the butcher of freedom in the world (Bush) had decided to bomb the headquarters of the Al-Jazeera in Qatar after bombing its offices in Kabul and Baghdad.

Low Troop Morale Leading to Suicides

. . . the destruction of the soldiers' morale there and the rise in cases of suicide among them . . .

. . . [The soldier] either refuses to leave his military camp on patrols and is therefore dogged by ruthless punishments enacted by the Vietnam Butcher (U.S. army) or he gets destroyed by the mines. This puts him under psychological pressure, fear and humiliation while his nation is ignorant of that (what is going on). The soldier has no solution except to commit suicide. That is a strong message to you, written by his soul, blood and pain, to save what can be saved from this hell. The solution is in your hands if you care about them (the soldiers).

Abu Ghraib and US Torture Are As Bad As Saddam

. . . On another issue, jihad (holy war) is ongoing, thank God, despite all the oppressive measures adopted by the U.S Army and its agents (which is) to a point where there is no difference between this criminality and Saddam's criminality, as it has reached the degree of raping women and taking them as hostages instead of their husbands.

As for torturing men, they have used burning chemical acids and drills on their joints. And when they give up on (interrogating) them, they sometimes use the drills on their heads until they die. Read, if you will, the reports of the horrors in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons.

Iraq War Increases Terror Risk in US

. . . And so to return to the issue, I say that results of polls please those who are sensible, and Bush's opposition to them is a mistake. The reality shows that the war against America and its allies has not been limited to Iraq as he (Bush) claims. Iraq has become a point of attraction and restorer of (our) energies. At the same time, the mujahideen (holy warriors), with God's grace, have managed repeatedly to penetrate all security measures adopted by the unjust allied countries. The proof of that is the explosions you have seen in the capitals of the European nations who are in this aggressive coalition. The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes the minute they are through (with preparations), with God's permission.

Based on what has been said, this shows the errors of Bush's statement -- the one that slipped from him -- which is at the heart of polls calling for withdrawing the troops. It is better that we (Americans) don't fight Muslims on their lands and that they don't fight us on ours.

Osama then goes on to say that since the war is going so well for Al Queda, we will offer you a truce and leave you alone, not for own sake (surely not!), but to save you money and allow us time to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. (Though by what they mean by rebuilding is probably an attempt to restore the paradise on earth that had been pre-war Afghanistan under the holy rule of the Taliban.)

Finally, Osama concludes that patience and steadfastness are more than a match for American weapons and technology:

. . . Don't let your strength and modern arms fool you. They win a few battles but lose the war. Patience and steadfastness are much better. We were patient in fighting the Soviet Union with simple weapons for 10 years and we bled their economy and now they are nothing.

In that there is a lesson for you.

The sad part is that he may be right. If the anti-war Democrats have their way, Iraq will end just like Vietnam did; with a military victory achieved at a significant cost in US blood and treasure, followed by a political defeat as the American public tires of the war.

But there is also an important difference between Al Queda and the North Vietnamese government or the Viet Cong. The Vietnamese were fighting for communist rule in their own country. When we withdrew from Vietnam, the war -- at least for the US -- ended. (Things did not turn out so well for the people of South Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos, but then they don't get to vote in US elections.) For Al Queda, Iraq and Afghanistan are only the beginning of their aspirations. Their true aim, as they will readily admit (since they "are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat" as Osama reminds us) is the restoration of the Caliphate and Islamic rule extending from Spain to Indonesia.

He may be sincere in offering us a temporary truce, but we would have to be fools to confuse this with an offer of peace.

January 20, 2006 at 07:13 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I linked to your analysis, http://www.tacitus.org/comments/2006/1/19/182755/304/77#77

Sorry, I do not have the technical capacity to figure out trackback.

Posted by: Steve Malynn | Jan 20, 2006 12:50:15 PM

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