Dead Men Left

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Stumbled over this at Juan Cole, a few weeks old now, but never mind:

...I heard Michael Scheuer, the former CIA Bin Laden analyst, a couple of times this morning, once on NPR's Morning Edition and once on the Diane Rehm show. I thought his comments compelling.

He found the statement issued by a "secret jihad" web site similar in form and content to typical al-Qaeda communiques, including the threats against other countries (Italy and Denmark). He was sure this was an al-Qaeda operation.

He noted that Bin Laden had called off any ceasefire and had several times threatened to hit the United Kingdom.

He said that "chickens were coming home to roost" for US and UK politicians who had obscured the nature of the al-Qaeda struggle by maintaining that the organization attacks the West because "they hate our values."

Scheuer believes that al-Qaeda is an insurgent ideology focused on destroying the United States and its allies, because its members believe that the US is trying to destroy them. Al-Qaeda members see the Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians, backed by the US; US support for military regimes like those of Pakistan and Egypt; and US military occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq as evidence of a US onslaught on Islam and Muslims aimed at reducing them to neo-colonial slavery. That is, specific Western policies are the focus of al-Qaeda response, not a generalized "hatred" of "values."

Bin Laden, in his US election video, rhetorically demanded, "Let [Bush] tell us why we did not strike Sweden." The constant hammering on the theme that al-Qaida are motivated only by hatred of the West, and the related trumpeting about destroying an "ideology" - as if any such thing was ever possible without destroying its material roots - is a not particularly subtle attempt to cover New Labour backsides. It is at best going to do nothing whatsoever to remove the threat of terrorism, and is reasonably likely to simply magnify the threat. It represents the most horrid abdication of responsibility by this government.