[lit-ideas] Re: Text of bin Laden Tape

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 11:44:12 -0800

Andreas, you say the future of the USA in the Arab world doesn't look good,
but what lens are you using to view the Arab world?  You mention the NYT,
but the NYT doesn't seem to find anything coming out of Iraq news unless
it's bad.  Reports coming out of Iraq from the troops provide a different
view.  And the Iraqi polls suggest that democracy has been firmly grasped by
the Iraqi imagination.  


Alas, when I was here last you were describing our Wilsonian adventure as
doomed, but I compared it to other wars and said by any standard available
(for wars) it was a great success.  We have yet to endure the casualties the
Marines saw in a single day of fighting in some of the islands in the
Pacific.  We have a viable government in place and functioning (far sooner
than we did in Japan), and are working on countless projects that will turn
Iraq into a modern economy.  I realize most of the people on Lit-Ideas have
view (through the lenses of the NYT, the Washington Post & the popular media
news channels), but there are other lenses: CNN, Fox News, C-Span and the
many reports of returning veterans.  I have a friend who is in the Army
Corps of Engineers in Iraq and he writes that the news they see in the media
(widely accepted here on Lit-Ideas, apparently) is viewed over there as
something providing aid and comfort to our enemies the Islamists.


In regard to our leaving Saudi Arabia, we did that at the behest of the
Saudis and not Osama.  The internet doesn't do books so you won't have the
information contained in America's Secret War, Inside the Hidden Worldwide
Struggle between America and its Enemies.  According to George Friedman,
founder of Stratfor, it was necessary to remove the Saddam Hussein regime in
Iraq to get Saudi Arabia to cooperate with us in our pursuit of Al Quaeda.
Those who argue that we would have been better off going after Al Quaeda
instead of taking out Saddam's regime first are not thinking the matter
through.  As long as Saddam stood in the way, Saudi Arabia and other
countries such as Libya weren't going to cooperate with us in our
anti-Islamist efforts.  We couldn't readily go after Islamists in countries
not cooperating with us.  I notice that we did that in Pakistan recently and
there has been an uncharacteristic complaint - as though Pakistan isn't
taking us as seriously as the once did.  Why is that?  I suspect they view
the pro-Islamist (in effect) stance of the Media and many important people
in government as a sign that the Bush anti-Islamist efforts are doomed.  


I see a strong parallel between the Vietnam period and this one.  Strong
influential voices in the media are declaring success failure and victory
defeat.  Will the "failure/defeat" forces succeed in Iraq as they did in
Vietnam?  Perhaps, but I doubt it.  I think the Iraqi government will be too
strong by the time Bush leaves office to permit an Islamist victory there. 


As to Osama bin Laden's goals, they have indeed been known for a long time.
You can find them in the teachings of Sayyid Qutb.  Osama studied directly
under Sayyid Qutb's brother.  The goal is the continuation of Mohammad's
goal, the subjugation of the entire world to Allah.  The success of
Mohammad's successors stalled when Muslims quit practicing strict adherence
to the Sharia.  When they return to the Sharia including its teachings on
the Jihad then Islam will once again become the success that it was under
Mohammad and the righteous Imams.  Look at the success that true believers
achieved against the USSR in Afghanistan.  A handful of the faithful
defeated a superpower.  Another handful can defeat the US as easily.  


If you read the teachings of Sayyid Qutb and the speeches of Osama bin Laden
then you will know that any retreat by the US will be deemed a great
Islamist success.  Sayyid Qutb's teachings are readily available to the
curious and Osama is following them.  


As the Islamic Scholar Youssef Choueiri writes in his Islamic Fundamentalism
(a book and therefore not available on the internet), the Islamist teachings
of Qutb share much with fascism.  As the Algerian Islamists rather
prematurely argued after their political victory, "Allah now rules Algeria
so we will have no further need for elections."  The Iraqi elections are
anathema to the Islamists.  The Islamists cannot let a Democratic Iraq


You are right about the Islamist view of Reagan & Bush Sr.  You can include
Carter and Clinton as well.  The Islamists had a low opinion of America's
willingness and ability to fight.  Bush Jr has been a surprise to them, but
they see the anti-Bush a force actively opposing him in America's and the
World's presses and take heart.  Once the "Cowboy" is finished with his two
terms, and someone more in the pattern of earlier presidents takes office,
the Islamists can return to business as usual.  But I don't think you are
correct in thinking that the Islamists are taking heart out of driving us
out of Saudi Arabia and Lebanon at this late date.  They would gladly let us
back into those places if they could get us out of Afghanistan and Iraq - in
my opinion.


Lawrence Helm

San Jacinto


-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Andreas Ramos
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2006 9:59 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Text of bin Laden Tape


> bin Laden does not explain what this truce might look like, but it would

> most likely involve the standard elements: removal of all infidel troops

> from Saudi Arabia and the return of all land to the Palestinians.

> Previously he has said that these were the conditions for ending his

> jihad...


Shortly after 9.11, Mr. bin Laden (as the NYT calls him) stated three
demands: Remove 

infidel troops from Saudi Arabia. End US support for Israel. I can't
remember the third one 

exactly; I think it was for Israel to shut down. Something like that.


Bush flatly rejected the three demands. A few months later, he quietly
accepted the first 

one: the USA pulled out its troops out of Saudi Arabia.


9.11 worked. The Saudi guerillas/terrorists/freedom fighters/fundamentalists
forced the USA 

to leave Saudi Arabia.


It was fairly certain this would happen. Under Reagan, the USA occupied
Lebanon. Hezbollah 

was able to force the US to leave. They carbombed a building and killed 250
US Marines. The 

next day, Reagan diverted attention by "invading" Grenada and meanwhile,
pulled the US out 

of Lebanon.


The Islamic fundamentalists have now learned twice that if they raise the
stakes high 

enough, they can beat the US. Neither Reagan nor Bush were pacifists,
liberals, or tree 

huggers. Both had Big Words about Standing Tall, Staying the Course, and so
on. Yet both cut 

and ran.


The future for the USA in the Arab world doesn't look good. If the Islamic

have been able twice to force the US to leave two critical locations, they
will do this 

again. They will continue to hammer the US until it leaves.







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