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'Oppression kills the oppressors'
April 15, 2004 7:22 AM   Subscribe

This is a message to our neighbours north of the Mediterranean, containing a reconciliation initiative as a response to their positive reactions. Osama bin Laden's latest message to the world. (more inside)
posted by brettski (99 comments total)

 
I know this risks a "newsfilter" call out, but I found it interesting just to read the message, without the spin of the media.
posted by brettski at 7:23 AM on April 15, 2004


Does anyone know the PR agency he's using now? They're good.
posted by loquax at 7:26 AM on April 15, 2004


[insert obligatory 'this is good' comment here]

Hopefully this won't be deleted. It's an interesting read.
posted by twine42 at 7:32 AM on April 15, 2004


The reconciliation will start with the departure of its last soldier from our country.
The door of reconciliation is open for three months of the date of announcing this statement.


Three months to pack our bags, huh? That's about two weeks after the handover. That's a little unrealistic.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:36 AM on April 15, 2004


I think that this statement is more lucid than anything W has said.
posted by trbrts at 7:39 AM on April 15, 2004


Gotta love it when somebody who is responsible for the murders of thousands of innocent people complains about injustice.
posted by Mark Doner at 7:46 AM on April 15, 2004


Perhaps we should negotiate with this obviously lucid and reasonable man. We could have "Peace in our time".
posted by cmdnc0 at 7:47 AM on April 15, 2004


Three months to pack our bags, huh? That's about two weeks after the handover. That's a little unrealistic.

The initiative was not aimed at the US, but at Europe. Besides, what is "our country"? He's a Saudi national, or was.
posted by norm at 7:50 AM on April 15, 2004


What happened on 11 September [2001] and 11 March [the Madrid train bombings] is your commodity that was returned to you.

Right, blame the victims. I can't wait until the day this guy's severed head is mounted on a stick somewhere.
posted by jonmc at 7:57 AM on April 15, 2004


Right, blame the victims. I can't wait until the day this guy's severed head is mounted on a stick somewhere.

that is the only reconciliation i approve.
posted by lescour at 8:05 AM on April 15, 2004


How about this:
Severed head hung upside down like a punching bag!

Everyone takes turns with the blindfold and bat.

Pinata!
posted by mcgraw at 8:08 AM on April 15, 2004


Bush does a press conference so Osama had to answer back. I swear, it's like they are both running for supreme ruler of our world. Would someone please kill Osama already.
posted by jbou at 8:22 AM on April 15, 2004


I can't wait until the day this guy's severed head is mounted on a stick somewhere.

That's the spirit. An excellent way to stop mass bloodshed spiralling further out of control.
posted by Pericles at 8:32 AM on April 15, 2004


Would someone please kill Bush already?
posted by bonaldi at 8:33 AM on April 15, 2004


Perhaps if the Muslim world gained a little traction in regards to literacy, women's rights, etc. this blood soaked message would carry a little weight.

As it is, it is a lonely cry, a ringing of a thousand years of suicide tactics and oppressive government.

It is time for him and his message to die.
posted by four panels at 8:38 AM on April 15, 2004


That's the spirit. An excellent way to stop mass bloodshed spiralling further out of control.

You'd prefer we bought him an ice cream cone, maybe?

Come off it. The bastard needs to answer for and pay for what he's done. Or perhaps your one of those people who thinks this whole terrorism thing will go away if we all sit in a circle and think good thoughts.

I'm open to all kinds of opinions, but if we've reached the point where people find ahting someone like Bin Ladem too much for their tender little minds to handle, then we really have lost our collective minds.
posted by jonmc at 8:41 AM on April 15, 2004


I sort of agree with you, jonmc, but I think that Pericles' point (please correct me if I'm wrong, Pericles) is that it's counterproductive to sit around and hope for heads on sticks. Desire for justice is one thing, while desire for vengence (which is certainly what I read into heads-on-sticks comments) is different, and certainly contrary to any notions of a peaceful future.

I would really, really, really like to see bin Laden dead. I don't have much need to pee on his corpse.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:49 AM on April 15, 2004


I'd be delighted to see Bin laden caught and tried. But wishing to see his head on a stick hardly seems to be occupying the moral high-ground. Neither does illegal detention in Guantanemo bay, supporting the disgraceful Isreali government etc etc. I'm not saying that terrorism is a legitimate response to these actions, but they hardly allow us to be self-righteous. And if we've reached the point when hatred is the only permitted response (and anything less is seen as somehow unpatriotic/ unmanly/ appeasement) then, yes, we really have lost our collective minds.
posted by Pericles at 8:53 AM on April 15, 2004


I sort of agree with you, jonmc, but I think that Pericles' point (please correct me if I'm wrong, Pericles) is that it's counterproductive to sit around and hope for heads on sticks.

Fair enough. I think most of the more graphic desriptions were not meant to be taken literally, but more as just expressions of rage (which is certainly understandable). And even imaginary vengeful thoughts and the expression thereof serve a purpose.

And comments like trbts and bonaldis merely make people angrier. Look, I loathe George Bush, but bad as he is, the Osamas of the world are much, much worse.
posted by jonmc at 8:58 AM on April 15, 2004


Gotta love it when somebody who is responsible for the murders of thousands of innocent people complains about injustice.

Wait...are you talking about bin Laden or Bush here??

Also, what Pericles said.
posted by rushmc at 8:59 AM on April 15, 2004


You'd prefer we bought him an ice cream cone, maybe?

They'll like us when we win! /WestWing
posted by gd779 at 9:05 AM on April 15, 2004


*No purchase necessary. Offer does not apply to citizens of the United States and residents of its territories. Responses must be postmarked no later than July 15, 2004. OBL(Ltd., L.L.C.) cannot be held responsible for future acts of jihad undertaken by splinter groups. Winners must correctly answer a faith-testing question. To redeem truce, please enclose the UPC codes and serial numbers from your weapons. Photocopies and hand-drawn facsimiles are not acceptable. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of truce. Runners-up will receive one (1) free song at the iTunes Music Store. Full rules available on aljazeera.net.
posted by stonerose at 9:06 AM on April 15, 2004


Is it overly wishy washy to strongly agree with both jonmc and Pericles on this? I wish I could say one tack is clearly more righteous, but it's so easy to vacillate between needing violent symbolic retribution (head-on-a-stick), and proper justice.
posted by dhoyt at 9:17 AM on April 15, 2004


stonerose, you win!
posted by shoepal at 9:26 AM on April 15, 2004


That message is tailor-made to appeal to the lefties of the world. I can tell when I'm being manipulated. The man is a scumbag.

It's far more effective to capture and try these guys as publicly as possible. Killing them only makes more high-profile martyrs.

stonerose, ha!
posted by whatnot at 9:30 AM on April 15, 2004


dhoyt, I don't see it as wishy washy at all. I prefer to think of it as: I don't want bin Laden out there scheming, but I really don't care how that gets accomplished. Head-on-a-stick? Fine. Trial in the Hague? Sounds good. Suspended over the Thames in David Blaine's glass box? That'll do, too.

But if I was standing five feet away from bin Laden, and I had a gun and a few seconds to pull the trigger (even if it meant my certain death), I'd do it with a smile on my face.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:30 AM on April 15, 2004


I agree with jonmc, too. I'm angry for friends terrified in istanbul, for the deaths of a coleague's friends killed in the WTC. But the thing to remember is, no matter what our glorious leaders tell us (whether they be Bush, Blair, Bin Laden, Sharon, whoever) it isn't black and white. Ask this guy, whose child was killed by US bombs at an Afghan wedding, whom he hates for slaughtering innocents. Who would you hate, if you were him?

Hate and a lust for vengeance rather than an attempt to understand why people feel the need to destroy random civilians only makes us more afraid, more supportive of "strong leaders" who want to divert our taxes to the coffers of some evil armament manufacturers who bankroll them - and the end result is, we all live in fear, people die and the living don't get better schools, hospitals, medical care becuase the money's been blown up in some desert somewhere.

Hermann Goering (another strong leader) said "the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. "
posted by Pericles at 9:35 AM on April 15, 2004


But if I was standing five feet away from bin Laden, and I had a gun and a few seconds to pull the trigger (even if it meant my certain death), I'd do it with a smile on my face.

py? -- That's exactly the kind of thinking that makes people fly airplanes into Capitol buildings. You think killing Bin Laden is going to make everything OK? You think global terrorism is going to suddenly disappear as soon as he's dead? Come on. The only thing that will accomplish is that you will be dead, and a madman will be martyred.

Perhaps we should negotiate with this obviously lucid and reasonable man. We could have "Peace in our time".

The funny thing is, all the "terrorists" have basically been asking for the exact same thing for decades now, and we've never even tried to do it. They want us off their lands. That's it. It's not like they're asking for countries, which is why the Hitler analogy is flawed. In their eyes, we're the invaders. Any offer of truce on their part would probably be considered downright gracious to them.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:45 AM on April 15, 2004


I agree with jonmc, too. I'm angry for friends terrified in istanbul, for the deaths of a coleague's friends killed in the WTC. But the thing to remember is, no matter what our glorious leaders tell us (whether they be Bush, Blair, Bin Laden, Sharon, whoever) it isn't black and white.

I never claimed it was, but ultimately we can drown in gray as well and make things worse through inaction. Yes, all the ramifications of our actions and the events that led up to them, but the one thing that's not negotiable is that the Bin Ladens of the world need to be put out of business, one way or the other, and yes, some people are going to wind up dead in the process.

It may surprise you, but I am against the war in Iraq, not because of any great concern for the internal politics of Iraq, but because Bin Laden wasn't there and Saddam, whatever else he's guilty of, was not behind 9/11. He's out of power and that's nice, but I don't think it was worth all the dead GI's, who count among their number buddies of mine. But I do believe that the military has a role in bringing Bin Ladin and his cohorts to justice.

Hermann Goering (another strong leader) said "the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. "

Agreed, but at the same time not every non-pacifist is a war-mongering Bush-worshiping oil-investor who eats Iraqi babies. Also, the anti-war movement has been co-opted by jagoffs flogging every side cause they possibly can, and some of them are flat-out enraging, hateful or just plain stupid. I can't march with these people one, because I don't wanna give them even my implied support, and two, I don't think I'd be able to control my urge to bust their heads open.
posted by jonmc at 10:01 AM on April 15, 2004


They want us off their lands. That's it

Who does? Their democratically elected leaders? Their independent and free presses? And which lands are occupied? Israel? Saudi? Kuwait? Iraq? Afghanistan? Which of these have they been demanded the Americans leave for decades? Just because terrorists that represent no-one but their own interests want something, doesn't mean the people they claim to represent want it too. The same way that just because Bush says something, doesn't mean you agree. The difference is, you're allowed to disagree and not be tortured and mutilated.
posted by loquax at 10:01 AM on April 15, 2004


The only thing that will accomplish is that you will be dead, and a madman will be martyred.

You assume he'd be a martyr, and that this would lead to more bloodshed. I assume that he's a powerful figurehead who is the glue that holds his fragmented organization together. I assume he already wants to kill as many westerners as he can -- I fail to see how killing him could lead to more death -- or how it could do anything but reduce al Qaeda's effectiveness. Who's right? Beats the fuck out of me, but as jonmc notes, sometimes you have to do something. It doesn't do much good to sit around paralyzed by moral equivocation, when the other side harbors no such hesitation.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:15 AM on April 15, 2004


The bastard needs to answer for and pay for what he's done.

Indeed. So does our bastard.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:15 AM on April 15, 2004


and two, I don't think I'd be able to control my urge to bust their heads open

So once again, the approach to take with those you disagree with is preemptive violence? You are different from the terrorists how, exactly? You may restrain your base urges (which is laudable) but clearly you haven't overcome them or moved far beyond them. For someone who is constantly pledging to a philosophy of moderation, this seems a bit hypocritical...
posted by rushmc at 10:17 AM on April 15, 2004


Perhaps if the Muslim world gained a little traction in regards to literacy, women's rights, etc. this blood soaked message would carry a little weight.

It carries no weight because Bin Laden does not and never has spoken for "the Muslim world". Typical ignorant comment, the ironic thing is that you think your thinking is what will lead the good side to victory, when actually it's what empowers the Bin Laden types.
posted by chaz at 10:19 AM on April 15, 2004


Mars Saxman - An unfair comment by any standard. Equivocation between the two men is wrong. You want to complain about Bush, knock yourself out, there are plenty of threads to do it in. Bush didn't make Bin Laden chose to slaughter anyone, only Bin Laden himself made that choice.

chaz - Agreed 100%
posted by loquax at 10:23 AM on April 15, 2004


Dear Osama, go fuck yourself.

The whole Iraq debacle is a fuckup, and the policies of the First World vis-a-vi the Third World are in many cases abhorrent, but it doesn't get you off the hook. You are a mass murderer. Killing 3000 civilians is not a valid way to make a point, no matter who does it.
posted by moonbiter at 10:24 AM on April 15, 2004


You are different from the terrorists how, exactly? You may restrain your base urges (which is laudable) but clearly you haven't overcome them or moved far beyond them.

I think you answered your own question there.

I don't act on my base urges. I may want to have sex with the cute girl walking down the street, but I don't sneak off to a motel room with her,because I'm taken. I may be enraged at the dumbass kid with the sign, but I don't take a bat to his head. I may stare at the expensive gold chain around someone's neck or their fat wallet with envy, but I don't take out a gun and mug them. Why, because to do these things would be wrong and harmful, no matter how much satisfaction they might give me. I restrain myself or remove myself from the situation. Is there some other magic potion I don't know about that removes "base urges," because last time I checked all humans had them. It's not acting on them that separates us from the Bin Ladens.
posted by jonmc at 10:29 AM on April 15, 2004


So 'dja hear that crazy tyrant the other day, trying to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Europe, testing the mettle of the American people -- I mean, even without the translation you can tell he's just losing his marbles more every day -- I can't imagine he thinks he has the credibility to negotiate anything with anybody. On the other hand, he doesn't have that many press conferences, so we should be grateful to hear from him at all.

/standup
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:33 AM on April 15, 2004


I would be more than happy to piss on Bin Laden's corpse... if for nothing else, than to be "the guy that pissed on Bin Laden's corpse".

So once again, the approach to take with those you disagree with is preemptive violence?

I prefer PROACTIVE... not preemptive.
posted by Witty at 10:33 AM on April 15, 2004


FWIW, I prefer hot tubs to pinatas.
posted by mcgraw at 10:55 AM on April 15, 2004


If you're going to hang Osama's head upside-down and use it as a pinata, I'd prefer it to be still attached. And breathing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:08 PM on April 15, 2004


You could have first swing, _crash_, if we could only find the guy.

Btw, in case I confused anyone, this is what I was talking about.
posted by mcgraw at 12:23 PM on April 15, 2004


Mars Saxman - An unfair comment by any standard. Equivocation between the two men is wrong.

It's a fair comment by my standard; equivocation between the two men is a matter of opinion. bin Laden killed thousands of Americans in an unprovoked attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Center; in retaliation, Bush raided Afghanistan in a failed attempt to capture him, killing thousands of Afghans in the process, and went on to kill thousands of Iraqis in an unprovoked attack on and ongoing occupation of their entire country. I don't see how the U.S. has a significant moral edge over bin Laden at this point.

As a result, all this violent talk against bin Laden makes me pretty uncomfortable. Really, how are we any better than him? At least he's honest about his motivations and goals, extreme as they may be; our government spouts nothing but bullshit and hypocritical moralizing vapidity, and nobody really knows what Bush is actually trying to do.

Bush didn't make Bin Laden chose to slaughter anyone, only Bin Laden himself made that choice.

Of course; I'm not claiming otherwise. But neither did Bin Laden force Bush to go pick a fight with a relatively harmless tin-pot dictator and kill thousands of innocent people in the process. Bush chose to do that for his own reasons, and blaming it on bin Laden is just pathetic.

Making bin Laden out as some kind of devil is also pathetic. He's just an ideological revolutionary hiding in the wilderness, like hundreds before him, striking at whatever power oppresses him with whatever means he can gather. We talk like he's somehow worse than everyone else just because he dared to attack us. Well, no, he's just the first one we noticed, and he pulled off his attack on a scale to match the outsized ego of the country he was attacking.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:24 PM on April 15, 2004


I don't see how the U.S. has a significant moral edge over bin Laden at this point.

Oh, well, I dunno Mars, perhaps the fact that Bin Laden's vision of the world is one with him as an absolute theocratic ruler who would prefer that women wear burqas and never speak and that all dissent be squashed with violence, whereas here in the US (despite efforts of people like Ashcroft and Co.) we have the ability do dissent without fearing anything worse than people dissenting back at us, women have the same rights as men and when we have greivances we can redress them. Is that enough for you or does your hatred/obtuseness run that deep?

Here's a reading list for you:

Goodbye, All That

Searching for a Better Left

Can There Be a Decent Left?

and especially this one(it's about San Francisco but it applies to a large swath of the mouthiest on the left.)
posted by jonmc at 12:43 PM on April 15, 2004


equivocation between the two men is a matter of opinion

I don't see how the U.S. has a significant moral edge over bin Laden at this point.

Really, how are we any better than him?

...a relatively harmless tin-pot dictator


Mars Saxman - I understand (but disagree with) your arguments from an intellectual perspective, but I can't help but feel they are dishonest. Do you really believe what you are saying? Without getting into a big debate about it, are you just making a point or are you serious when you say that "we" are no better than Bin Laden, and that the US and Al Qaeda are moral equals?
posted by loquax at 12:46 PM on April 15, 2004


Our leaders are killing people for personal financial gain, and simultaneously doing away with a 200 year old constitutional democracy (ours). They would like to do away with women's rights, but do not have the political power (yet) to accomplish it.

Our citizens aren't interested in law, and equal protections under it, but instead would like to engage in real-life 10 minutes of hate.

I'd rather live here than in Afghanistan. Of course! I like living in a democracy, and I think that it is possible that the United States isn't so far gone that it's over. I think totalitarian religious states are horrible, and I'd rather that despite the best efforts of the president this didn't become one.

So, while it's perhaps fun, and cathartic or whatever to hate the tall guy on the other side of the planet who killed 3000 people, we have some control over what's going on here. There was a massacre in faluja this weekend. We are responsible for that. We invaded a country and we slaughtered people who tried to bury their dead.

So please spare me the inane analysis of the 'loony left'. Grow up. These are serious times, a madman is at the helm of a once great republic. I will be looking for the constitution because it seems that someone has replaced it with reality TV.
posted by goneill at 1:02 PM on April 15, 2004


So please spare me the inane analysis of the 'loony left'. Grow up.

Well, that was incisive enough to tell me that you didn't read any of the links. Typical, the left urges critical thinking and dissent except when it applies to itself.
posted by jonmc at 1:08 PM on April 15, 2004


Our leaders are killing people for personal financial gain, and simultaneously doing away with a 200 year old constitutional democracy (ours). They would like to do away with women's rights, but do not have the political power (yet) to accomplish it.

Perhaps, but we also have something called "elections," the next one of which Bush will lose and things will get back to sanity. I don't recall Bin Laden endorsing such ideas.

And quite frankly I find the dismissive tone of this sentence: So, while it's perhaps fun, and cathartic or whatever to hate the tall guy on the other side of the planet who killed 3000 people, incredibly offensive.
posted by jonmc at 1:14 PM on April 15, 2004


Making bin Laden out as some kind of devil is also pathetic.

as pathetic as someone defending a man who thinks Americans are devils.

By God's leave, we call on every Muslim who believes in God and hopes
for reward to obey God's command to kill the Americans and plunder their
possessions wherever he finds them and whenever he can. Likewise we call on
the Muslim ulema and leaders and youth and soldiers to launch attacks
against the armies of the American devils and against those who are allied
with them from among the helpers of Satan.

posted by clavdivs at 1:19 PM on April 15, 2004


Goneill, you live in a dream world.
posted by mcgraw at 1:30 PM on April 15, 2004


Incidentally, that's my all-time favorite comment on Metafilter, borrowed from quonsar.
posted by mcgraw at 1:40 PM on April 15, 2004


Why should Bin Laden and Bush have to be morally equivalent? They're both criminals, however, and they both deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Incidentally, those who did want to play soccer with their heads would be just as barbaric and inhumane as those Iraqis who strung up the contractors in Fallujah.

Of course, U.S. anger, when acted out to horrific effect, is always morally justifiable and never inhumane, right?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:44 PM on April 15, 2004


jonmc:

I read the first part of two of them, including that ridiculous last one I have no idea why you thought would be interesting to anyone. I've also read your tireless posts about how leftists stole your lunch money some time in the past.

I don't understand why you are so obsessed with leftists. It's like you're in the 60s or something and hippies have taken over and you always had short hair, and now no girls will go out with you.

I'm not even a member of the left. I think George Bush and Osama Bin Laden and Bill Clinton, and Ralph Nader, and John Kerry are really fucked up. I just have no idea why you keep bringing up this red herring, of "anti-war activists are crazy." I don't understand what that has to do with anything.

How is Osama similar to George Bush?

1. He believes in theocracy (see stem cell reseach, gay marriage, prayer in schools, federal money to churches, etc.)

2. He's obviously willing to kill civilians (see wedding in Afghanistan, anyone in Iraq),

3. George Bush has made dissent more dangerous. I'm afraid of a lot more when I dissent than being dissented back at. That's what the Patriot Act is about.

Besides, you're confusing america with George Bush. America is a great place where people are allowed to have differing political opinions. America is a place where the people get together and decide what laws they want within the framework of the constitution. George Bush is a temporary leader of America who is trying to erode the scope of what is allowable under the constitution.

I hate religion and politics mixing anywhere. I think politics should be about people getting together and deciding what they need and want and then working together to get that. I have no urge to beat anyone over the head with a baseball bat. Call me passionless.

I live in NYC. It is all in my head?
posted by goneill at 1:52 PM on April 15, 2004


Goneill, you live in a dream world.
posted by Witty at 1:59 PM on April 15, 2004


Oh my. Goneill, what are you talking about? Have you really no idea what happens in the real world? Osama and GWB also each have two legs and two arms, it doesn't make them morally equivalent.

Actually, no, forget it. There's no point in addressing your comments.

Please, please, complain about Bush all you want, but lavish the freedom you have to do so in the society that he presides over. On MetaFilterAlQaeda, it wouldn't be so easy to do the same with Bin Laden. Also, this thread had nothing to do with George Bush, at all, whatsoever. Bin Laden, a homicidal maniac issued a silly, offensive, repulsive and somehow comically deluded statement. How that translates into a discussion about Bush being just as bad as him is beyond me.
posted by loquax at 2:04 PM on April 15, 2004


Besides, you're confusing america with George Bush. America is a great place where people are allowed to have differing political opinions. America is a place where the people get together and decide what laws they want within the framework of the constitution. George Bush is a temporary leader of America who is trying to erode the scope of what is allowable under the constitution.

I hate religion and politics mixing anywhere. I think politics should be about people getting together and deciding what they need and want and then working together to get that. I have no urge to beat anyone over the head with a baseball bat. Call me passionless.


What goneill said.
posted by amberglow at 2:04 PM on April 15, 2004


Baying for Osama's blood is not how things get better in the world.
posted by amberglow at 2:06 PM on April 15, 2004


jonmc: I think the links would've been a lot better about a year ago, maybe, before Christopher Hitchens defended the war in such a stupid and holier-than-thou sort of way. I don't read the Nation regularly, but I don't think it's readers are missing much of anything by his absense. He represents not golden alternative. To the contrary, his stuff on Slate has as of late been foolish and shameful.

Meanwhile, who gives a rat's ass what Osama says this week anyhow? Why dedicate so much time to yacking about his every statement?
posted by raysmj at 2:09 PM on April 15, 2004


I don't understand why you are so obsessed with leftists.

Because, I am still to some degree, a leftist myself, and as you yourself say, we're living in serious times and I'm sick and tired of the idiots among us ruining the chance to get anything real done.

I just have no idea why you keep bringing up this red herring, of "anti-war activists are crazy."

Because most anti-war protestors are not crazy and when we bend over backwards to apologize for those who are, we taint ourselves by association by making ourselves look stupid and/or nuts.

I don't understand why you are so obsessed with leftists. It's like you're in the 60s or something and hippies have taken over and you always had short hair, and now no girls will go out with you.

Right, because anyone who might have criticisms or reservations about a political matter must have some kind of deep seated psychological motivation. Keep your hands out of my mind thank you very much.


I have no urge to beat anyone over the head with a baseball bat.

If you read two posts down, I said that I would remove myself from that situation to avoid doing it. The kid in that picture was holding a sign proclaiming solidarity with people who had murdered and burned three Americans in Iraq a week previous. Can you not see how that might enrage someone? Don't insult my intelligence.

that ridiculous last one I have no idea why you thought would be interesting to anyone.

That last piece is by Jim Goad, probably the most brilliant satirist at work in America today. Yeah, it's over the top, but it makes it's points.

Which you have failed to do. You've nit-picked and brought up personal issues of your own but you haven't actually adressed any of the substance of what I've said.
posted by jonmc at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2004


Amberglow, sure, but George Bush DOES NOT equal Bin Laden. Right?

What specific things has George Bush done to become Bin Laden's contemporary? Let's see a list, along with the reasons behind the action. Then let's put it up against Bin Laden's. And if Bush blocking stem cell research if proof that they're long lost brothers, well, maybe I'm all topsy turvey on the issues at hand.
posted by loquax at 2:14 PM on April 15, 2004


Baying for Osama's blood is not how things get better in the world.

Nor is his baying for ours. Hey, this comparison stuff is fun!
posted by pardonyou? at 2:23 PM on April 15, 2004


Oh, well, I dunno Mars, perhaps the fact that Bin Laden's vision of the world is one with ... [snip] ... Is that enough for you or does your hatred/obtuseness run that deep?

I don't really care what bin Laden's vision of the world is; he doesn't have the power to accomplish his vision unless we give it to him. Nor do I care about "the left", whatever it stands for, or what you think of it. Perhaps I am being a bit obtuse, in order to make my point in a more dramatic way, but I don't know what it is you think I hate; the entire point of my post was that I cannot find a justification for this personalized hatred of Osama bin Laden, and the violence of the rhetoric spewed against him makes me uncomfortable.

People are making bin Laden out to be the second coming of Adolph Hitler, but he's just another rebel in the wilderness preaching his extremist ideology and lashing out at the structures of power wherever and however he can. The United States supported him once, and as far as I can tell we still support his kind in "hot spots" around the world, as long as they are fighting against our enemies.

are you just making a point or are you serious when you say that "we" are no better than Bin Laden, and that the US and Al Qaeda are moral equals?

A bit of both. Within the context of the current wars in the Middle East, no, I don't think the U.S. does have any moral advantage over bin Laden. Anything he did to us in 2001, Bush has done twice over to Afghanistan and Iraq in retaliation. It was appropriate to seek justice on September 12th 2001, but what our leaders have created is not justice but another round in the classic cycle of vengeance and retribution. If we are going to call the act bin Laden orchestrated "murder", and hold him to account for it, we must hold Bush to the same account for his "murders" of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, or we are hypocrites.

"Moral equals" is a bad phrase. There is a lot more to the U.S. than its military adventures in the Middle East, while warfare is all that al-Qaeda does. But when we speak of Bush and bin Laden in this specific context, no, I don't see a whole lot of difference between them. Bush had a better excuse at first, and while the invasion of Afghanistan seemed like a hasty and poorly-thought out mess, there was at least a plausible justification for it. The invasion of Iraq under the pretext of continued vengeance on al-Qaeda, however, is a crime as heinous and unjustified as the original attacks on the WTC and Pentagon.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:30 PM on April 15, 2004


amberglow, you live in a dream world.
posted by Witty at 2:56 PM on April 15, 2004


I am wondering how hard it would be for our CIA, special forces, etc. to trace back the tape.

I figure it's not easy, but I wonder if there is any effort being made.


Also, I totally understand the reactions after reading this. I am not a violent person, but I entertained the notion of choking the life out of him while he tried to continue his speech.
posted by john at 3:03 PM on April 15, 2004


If we are going to call the act bin Laden orchestrated "murder", and hold him to account for it, we must hold Bush to the same account for his "murders" of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, or we are hypocrites.

You must hold Bush to the same account for the times, if any, when he deliberately targeted civilians for slaughter. You can also criticize Bush for the fact that many civilians died as an inadvertent result of military action that he started. But equating civilian deaths in wartime with the targeted murder of civilians is ridiculous.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:18 PM on April 15, 2004


Amberglow, sure, but George Bush DOES NOT equal Bin Laden. Right?
What specific things has George Bush done to become Bin Laden's contemporary? Let's see a list, along with the reasons behind the action. Then let's put it up against Bin Laden's.

Bush: 1. Not preventing 9/11, even though it was preventable.
2. Invading a country that did nothing to us, and lying about the reasons why, over and over.
2a. Causing the deaths of thousands of people as a result of 2.
2b. (very important) Earning the undying hatred of millions of people in the world as a result of 2.
2c. Not preparing for 2 and its aftermath, causing still more deaths and destruction.
2d. Not having an exit strategy for 2. Or a plan at all.
3. Empowered Bin Ladin and his followers around the world by spouting rhetoric ("dead or alive" etc) and talking tough, but completely failing to finish the job in Afghanistan.

Bin Ladin: 1. Killed thousands on 9/11, and much smaller numbers before then in various attacks.
2. (most important) Started a worldwide terror network that will live on long after he's captured or killed.

I'd say they're both evil and dangerous. Bush will be gone in November, but what both Bush and Bin Ladin did to stir up hatred for us through their actions will live on forever. Bin Ladin wins as most dangerous, as he's obviously smarter, and has proven he can be successful at what he does, unlike Bush.
posted by amberglow at 3:20 PM on April 15, 2004


Bush: 1. Not preventing 9/11, even though it was preventable.

I feel sorry for you.
posted by Witty at 3:27 PM on April 15, 2004


Bush will be gone in November?! Ha!! I only give his Presidency a "B", the enjoyment I will get from Metafilter when he wins makes it a virtual A-. It's amazing how many leftist a moral cowards dwell on Metafilter!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:27 PM on April 15, 2004


that's AMORAL.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:29 PM on April 15, 2004


Witty, do you also feel sorry for the 9/11 commission? (appointed by Bush himself, btw)
posted by amberglow at 3:29 PM on April 15, 2004


OK, how about this:

Be it resolved that Bush is a "war criminal" guilty of unnecessarily killing thousands of people and making life miserable for thousands more. And that he should be impeached and tried on that basis and serve time in jail. I don't agree, but let's start from there.

Given the intent behind his actions, is he no better than Bin Laden? Bin Laden wants to march all Jews into the ocean, for a start, then destroy any opposition to his world view by massacring those who oppose his vision of Islamic Theology. He would gladly eliminate homosexuals, impudent women, etc etc etc of the face of the Earth and advocates the purposeful killing of innocents in order to force compromise from their governments.

Bush, on the other hand, it could be argued was incompetent, negligent, and willfully reckless with the lives of others while attempting to accomplish misguided objectives. Had another president been in charge, perhaps a better outcome would have come from their actions and fewer innocent civilians would have died.

Is there no moral conclusion to be drawn even given the initial resolution?

How about one person that kills a homosexual because they are a homosexual and they hate homosexuals because they are an abomination of their god, and they want all homosexuals to be wiped off the planet to match their worldview.

Contrast that person with another that in a fit of violent rage at the murder of their child, runs into the home of the person that killed their child, murders the guilty party and in the process kills another family member and wounds several others.

Of course, not a perfect analogy, but you can see where I'm going. Even though both acts are horrific, one was committed out of sheer evil and hatred while the other was committed out of misguided good intentions, although the result was irresponsible, criminal and punishable.

We make moral judgements all the time in society regarding the degree and intent of evil committed by human beings. Even the laws of the United States would likely condemn the first man to death while giving the second life in prison.

If you think Bush is a very very bad man, fine. But there is no way he is in Bin Laden's league. Not by a long shot.
posted by loquax at 3:31 PM on April 15, 2004


loquax, how do you know all that specific stuff about Bin Laden, and where can I read about it? I haven't heard much about his 'domestic policy' as it were.

I don't think you can just ascribe the taliban's views to Bin Laden, from what I have read, they were just useful dudes giving him shelter. Also we hear a lot about Bin Laden wanting a return to the 'golden age' of Islam, a time with Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived in Peace, or at least that's how most Muslims remember it. So... all I have read about the man is what you might call foreign policy. What's your source?
posted by chaz at 3:39 PM on April 15, 2004


loquax, spouting all that stuff doesn't make Bin Ladin more dangerous, or more evil--millions of people around the world feel that way about all of those things.

He's more dangerous because he established a terror network with cells around the world to put whatever plans he has into action, and he's successful at it. Plus, that network will exist long after he's gone, and is gaining new members daily.
posted by amberglow at 3:42 PM on April 15, 2004


Hey, Jonmc:

Everyone seems real pissed that Osama killed 3000 people on 9/11 while pursuing his own personal vendetta against the US. So it's reasonable to want him dead, right?

Well it seems like Bush used 9/11 as a cover to pursue his own personal vendetta against Saddam ... and so far has killed over *15,000* Iraqi citizens. With no justification, other than that their leader was bad to them and he was going to free them. And with a large part of his nation cheering him on.

Do you wonder why they feel like Bush just like you feel about bin Laden?

On preview:
He would gladly eliminate homosexuals, impudent women, etc etc etc of the face of the Earth and advocates the purposeful killing of innocents in order to force compromise from their governments.


And Bush would gladly deny homosexuals basic American rights, Women basic bodily rights etc etc etc and advocates the purposeful killing of citizens in order to force compromise from their chosen mouthpieces.

(I'm being slightly facetious here, loquax has a good point, but makes Bush out to be far, far, far better than he is and doesn't take enough of the other side of the coin into account.)
posted by bonaldi at 3:43 PM on April 15, 2004


also loquax, just to have fun with an argument, we don't know Bush's intent with regard to Iraq, exactly. To make the world safer? To protect Americans? To dominate the world? To dominate the oil-producing regions? What if it turned out that the latter two were the intent behind the initial action. Even if the intent in Falluja or Baghdad or wherever by the Military later was to protect civilians and root out armed militias, doesn't the first intent override the later intent in terms of culpability? Maybe it's a trivial point, but it seems to me that greed and hubris are usually the two traits that lead to launching wars, not altruism and concern for the citizenry.
posted by chaz at 3:50 PM on April 15, 2004


From here, for starters (more here):

The [Islamic] Nation has also been promised victory over the Jews, as the Prophet Mohammad has told us: 'The Day of Judgment will not arrive until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jew hides behind the stones and the trees; and each stone or tree will say: Oh Muslim, Oh servant of God, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him; apart from the gharqad,[18]which is the tree of the Jews.'[19]This hadith also teaches [us] that the conflict with the enemy will be settled by killing and warfare, and not by disabling the potential of the Nation for decades by a variety of means such as the deception of democracy.

They carried out the raid by means of enemy planes in a courageous and splendid operation the like of which mankind had never before witnessed. They smashed the American idols and damaged its very heart, the Pentagon. They struck the very heart of the American economy, rubbed America's nose in the dirt and dragged its pride through the mud. The towers of New York collapsed, and their collapse precipitated an even greater debacle: the collapse of the myth of America the great power and the collapse of the myth of democracy; people began to understand that American values could sink no lower. The myth of the land of freedom was destroyed, the myth of American National security was smashed and the myth of the CIA collapsed, all praise and thanks to Allah.


The rest of what I said can be derived from extreme implementations of Sharia.

I think it's reasonable to read between the lines of what he says for public consumption, in the same way Bush's words are examined.

Maybe he does hope for a peaceful age where all live together under Islam. He doesn't propose a very peaceful way of going about it. What about the other religions? What about those who don't share his opinions?
posted by loquax at 3:55 PM on April 15, 2004


Witty, do you also feel sorry for the 9/11 commission? (appointed by Bush himself, btw)

I certainly do. The more it becomes a politicized media circus, the less it actually accomplishes its purpose of making the U.S. safer.


chaz -- How about a source where Bin Laden states he wants to live in peace with the Jews?
posted by Krrrlson at 4:04 PM on April 15, 2004


Witty, do you also feel sorry for the 9/11 commission? (appointed by Bush himself, btw)

Preventable or not preventable, you can't lay the blame at the feet of George W. Bush. He was in office for 8 months. Clinton was in office the 8 years prior. I'm not going to blame Bill either. The attacks on 9/11 took years to plan... it's as simple as that.

I think the mission of the commission {ding!} should certainly be focused on where any weakness in the "system" might be so things like this can be prevented in the future. But finding someone or a group of someones to blame is pointless. There's only one man, one group, to blame... and that's Osama and his minions.

You can't blame George for every aspect of this horrible world we live in, as much as you may like to.
posted by Witty at 4:05 PM on April 15, 2004


So, while it's perhaps fun, and cathartic or whatever to hate the tall guy on the other side of the planet who killed 3000 people, we have some control over what's going on here. There was a massacre in faluja this weekend. We are responsible for that. We invaded a country and we slaughtered people who tried to bury their dead.

Well said, goneill. (Don't let the simpleminded "my country, right or wrong"ers get you down.)

Perhaps, but we also have something called "elections," the next one of which Bush will lose and things will get back to sanity.

Supposition.

So what you're saying is that it's okay to have criminal, murderous leadership of a country so long as it's only for 4-8 years?

All this who-is-worse-bin-Laden-or-Bush debate is like debating how many angels dance on the head of a pin. "Worse" may or may not be meaningful, but I have no problem going on record saying that Bush is by far the more dangerous of the two, to the U.S. and to the world. Given the vast discrepancy in their relative power bases (crackpot extremist hiding in the desert vs. leader of the most powerful economic and military force in the world), that shouldn't even be a debatable statement.
posted by rushmc at 4:09 PM on April 15, 2004


You can't blame George for every aspect of this horrible world we live in, as much as you may like to.

Don't put words in my mouth. I blame George specifically for what he didn't do pre-9/11 and what he's done--or not done--since, in Afghanistan and Iraq. No one here has said they blame Bush for every aspect of this horrible world (and it's not a horrible world, btw).

and what rush said--although since Bush keeps failing at everything, maybe we don't need to worry about him so much. (or worry more maybe?)
posted by amberglow at 4:14 PM on April 15, 2004


How about a source where Bin Laden states he wants to live in peace with the Jews?

Oh G-d I hope that's not what you thought I meant!!! Only that I hadn't read it as specifically laid out as Loquox found for me, that's all. I guess it still is talking about 'victory over' rather than 'genocide of' if one gives it a charitble reading, but anyway (!) don't misunderstand, I was just curious about where to find Bin Laden's 'domestic' philosphy.
posted by chaz at 4:21 PM on April 15, 2004


btw loquax, thanks for the links. Fascinating reading if you can get through it, it's pretty tortous prose. But reading parts of it and all the footnotes, etc. make it seem really really bizarre, learned, and interesting at the same time.
posted by chaz at 4:29 PM on April 15, 2004


"Please, please, complain about Bush all you want, but lavish the freedom you have to do so in the society that he presides over. "

It is precisely because I value the society that gives me the freedom to do so that I complain about George Bush.

You seem to imply that our rights and liberty flow from him. Bushit. His power flows from us. He swore an oath to defend our laws and our Constitution. Instead, he violated them, violated binding international laws and agreements, lied and intentionally misled the people he was supposed to serve repeatedly, and basically wiped his ass with the Constitution. That, of course, does not even touch upon what he did to the people of Iraq.

Why are *YOU* comparing Osama to Bush, when Bush is clearly a criminal leader who makes Nixon look like Mother Theresa? Nixon *DESERVED* to go to prison, but he was pardoned. Bush *DESERVES* to go to prison, and frankly, if you really examine the extent of what he did, you would realise that his actions should be unpardonable.

Then again, you don't support the rule of law, you support the law of the jungle. If your idea of peace means Pax Americana, then you support tyranny, plain and simple.
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:30 PM on April 15, 2004


Huh? I think there's a disconnect there somewhere insomnia_lj.

chaz - You're welcome, it's a great site if you've never seen it, very little editorializing (I think). You're right, it is really interesting and parts seem very intelligent. The same could also be said for the writing of many of the great criminals that have existed though.
posted by loquax at 4:37 PM on April 15, 2004


Given the vast discrepancy in their relative power bases (crackpot extremist hiding in the desert vs. leader of the most powerful economic and military force in the world), that shouldn't even be a debatable statement.

I have no love for George Bush, rush. But you forgot to add that Bin Laden is an extremely well funded crackpot extremist with legions of followers willing to sacrifice their lives for him, and who cares what his power base is? As Sept. 11 and the incident in Madrid illustrate, a crackpot extremist can do quite a bit of damage. It's pretty disturbing to see concerns over it so blithely dismissed.

George Bush, as loathsome as I find him, can (and IMO probably will) be peacefully removed from office, either by voting him out or impeaching him, which could definitely be justified at this point.. That's a pretty crucial difference.

and bonaldi, for the record, I have never supported our invasion of Iraq and have been quite empahtic on that fact. But I do believe we have a duty to take Osama out of circulation.


Baying for Osama's blood is not how things get better in the world.

Neither will letting him walk around free to plot more terrorist acts.
posted by jonmc at 5:43 PM on April 15, 2004


Neither will letting him walk around free to plot more terrorist acts.
And whose fault is that? Who dropped the ball to go to Iraq? Who still hasn't caught him, "dead or alive" ? I want him caught too, but with this president it's not gonna happen.
posted by amberglow at 5:52 PM on April 15, 2004


I want him caught too, but with this president it's not gonna happen.

I agree wholehartedly, amber, I've got no beef with you. My beef is with those in the anti-war movement who are shooting themselves in the foot, as I've already explained.

Jeez, discussions are why I stopped blogging, coz whether it's my lack of skill or other people's obtuseness what I'm trying to communicate never seems to get through. It's incredibly frustrating.
posted by jonmc at 6:05 PM on April 15, 2004


no prob, jon--it's just that we're all emotional about this. I, for one, am tired of all the death and destruction, especially needless ones.
posted by amberglow at 6:13 PM on April 15, 2004


The Answering Islam site is full of crap, and tries its best to stay anonymous and appear to be balanced. That said, their origins and tactics are murky, abusive, and childish in nature. Only fools would get their spiritual advice from these deceptive trolls.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:41 PM on April 15, 2004


As Sept. 11 and the incident in Madrid illustrate, a crackpot extremist can do quite a bit of damage. It's pretty disturbing to see concerns over it so blithely dismissed.

Certainly they can, and I wasn't denying it. My point was simply that what he and his ilk can do is extremely limited in comparison to what the President of the United States of America can do (and, in fact, has done). I dismiss neither the actions of terrorists nor any concerns that people have about them.
posted by rushmc at 7:20 PM on April 15, 2004


I wonder what would happen if the West sat down and had a real serious dialogue with the mid-East. If Bush sat down with Osama and tried to hash things out.

What's Osama really want? To nuke America to glass? Or to get Western influence out of the mid-East? Or to just get Western troops out of the mid-East?

I wonder if an agreement could be reached between the two camps.

We'd agree to withdraw from the mid-East and let them set their own course. We'd agree to nuke them to glass if they threaten us, but as long as they stay in their borders, all is cool.

They'd agree to quit terrorizing us. They'd agree to stay in their own borders.

Sure, they'd have shit for human rights. But as long as they're not blowing me up, I think I can deal with it. I don't need democracy in Iraq.

Sure, we'd see mid-East oil taken into control by the mid-East. Guess we'll see gas prices skyrocket. Oh well. At least I'm not being blown up.

All told, I'm perfectly happy to build a wall around the mid-East. I don't need to visit there, I don't need anything they provide, and I don't really care wtf they behind their wall, just as long as I'm not being blown up.

It ain't perfect, but it'd do.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:02 PM on April 15, 2004


fff - May yours numbers multiply. Spawn, dammit.
posted by troutfishing at 9:13 PM on April 15, 2004


what troutfishing said.
posted by Aleph Yin at 9:34 PM on April 15, 2004


Sadly, it seems that there are now people in the business of terror simply for the business of terror. These people aren't interested in a peaceful solution because a peaceful solution would leave them without a job and without a purpose. Arafat is a good example of this -- as long as there's conflict and death, he'll stay in power. On the other side, Sharon took advantage of terror to come to power in the first place (the difference here, in my opinion, is that he must make good on his promise to end Israeli deaths or else Israeli voters will give up on him).

But the main question is -- how do you plan to deal with people who won't let up under any circumstances?
posted by Krrrlson at 12:21 AM on April 16, 2004


The same way we (the Brits) dealt with them in Ireland. There were and are terrorists there for whom terror was a way of life. And after years of conflict, the *only* thing that started moving Ireland to peace was ... sitting round a table and talking.

That's what has to happen here too, it's the same story on a larger scale.
posted by bonaldi at 5:37 AM on April 16, 2004


troll
posted by clavdivs at 5:57 AM on April 16, 2004


Well, that troll's not picking at MY bones now, is he?........

does the troll fish for unwary schools of internet travellers, from under it's bridge, by means of a net? And does the troll prefer the meat, the fat, or THE BRAINS ? * slurp *
posted by troutfishing at 6:36 AM on April 16, 2004


Oooh, great contribution clavdivs.

How is it trolling? I think fff has a good point, and I genuinely see the parallels with the situation in Ireland. With Bush as Thatcher, natch. Look how well Thatcher did at sorting out the violence.
posted by bonaldi at 7:31 AM on April 16, 2004


bonaldi, if I were you, I'd hope that the Brits handle these chaps in a different way.

"As far as I'm concerned, when they bomb London, the bigger the better," says Abdul Haq, the social worker. "I know it's going to happen because Sheikh bin Laden said so. Like Bali, like Turkey, like Madrid - I pray for it, I look forward to the day."

The IRA are pussycats compared to these fellows. The IRA historically tried to avoid civilian casualties whenever possible. Remember, the IRA's most deadly bombing killed 29 people at Omagh (and, incidentally, that bombing took place after the Good Friday agreement was negotiated).

"We don't make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity."

Sorry, but this is not your father's terrorist organization. I fail to see genuine parallels between Islamic terrorists and the IRA. Can you help me with this?
posted by David Dark at 9:57 AM on April 21, 2004


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