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June 18, 2006

Would Someone Please Correct Al Qaeda's Misunderstanding Of Why They Hate Us?

There's one thing I've discovered about al-Qaeda's leaders: they don't understand why they hate us. As President Bush says, they hate us for our "democratically elected government... freedom of religion... freedom of speech... freedom to vote and assemble and disagree."

Last week, though, the Washington Post ran an article about Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, apparently one of al-Qaeda's most important strategists. Just before he was captured, he wrote this online:

"I reiterate my call for mujahideen who are spread in Europe and in our enemies' countries or those able to go there, to move fast to hit countries that have a military presence in Iraq, Afghanistan or the Arab peninsula or to hit their interests in our countries and all over the world."

Geez, what a dumbass! Obviously what he meant to say was:

"I reiterate my call for mujahideen who are spread in Europe and in our enemies' countries or those able to go there, to move fast to hit countries that have democratically elected government, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to vote and assemble and disagree or to hit their interests in our countries and all over the world."

How can we have a proper war with people who don't even understand their own motivation? This reminds me of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who—according to the 9/11 commission report—originally wanted 9/11 to include the hijacking of ten planes. He was going to pilot the tenth himself, land it at a U.S. airport, and make "a speech denouncing U.S. policies in the Middle East."

Again—what an idiot! He doesn't even understand what he actually wanted to do was make a speech denouncing democratically elected government, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to vote and assemble and disagree.

We really need a higher quality of al-Qaeda leader, or we may have to call the whole thing off.

BUT SERIOUSLY: Al-Qaeda's leaders actually do misunderstand their own motivation. In their confused fantasies they're freedom fighters, battling for their oppressed brethren. In reality, they're simply trying to make themselves more powerful in their own societies, and see violence against the U.S. as a means to this end.

Posted at June 18, 2006 07:50 PM | TrackBack

I can buy into your idea about Al Qaeda's motives for the 9/11 attack as a reasonable explanation.

I am not quite convinced that Bush invaded Iraq because he thought it would help the republicans stay in power. I think Occum's Razor still applies in that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. I also think the anthropologists have a valid point and all of that indicates oil. Now maybe Bush saw it not only as a route to riches for the big money that put him in office but also saw it as a way to curry favor with the knuckle dragger element in America as well to keep his popularity or expand it and an opportunity to grab more power which he certainly has done. But that does not prove that oil was not the main motivation.

What was the first thing the troops did when they invaded Iraq? They secured the oil refineries and let the museum in Baghdad be plundered. Bush comes from an oil family, Cheney is connected with Enron, Rice has an oil tanker named after her.

I am not saying I know for a fact that I am correct about the oil element and that you are wrong in your idea which is well thought out and plausible but Bush is the only one who really knows and I doubt he is going to tell us somehow.

Posted by: rob payne at June 18, 2006 10:11 PM


I'll thank you not to bring up any more books that have to do with reality. This seems to be a habit of yours, and I don't appreciate it.


I don't think we're in disagreement here. I would define Bush's desire to empower his coterie more broadly than just winning a few elections. Seizing the oil is part of that -- the money they hoped to make off the oil would also make them more powerful vis a vis their American enemies. Moreover, controlling the mideast's oil would enable the U.S. political system to continue in a way that leaves them in power, whereas if we don't control the oil the U.S. might remain as powerful as a country but we'd be forced to make internal adjustments that would lessen the power of Bush's clique.

So I'm not saying oil isn't a large part of it. It definitely is. But it all goes back to making themselves more powerful within the U.S.

To look at this more clearly, think of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Saddam's overriding reason for that was to keep himself in power. (He was concerned his army was getting restive after the end of the war with Iran, and might overthrow him.) Of course, the oil was part of it too, but only in the sense Saddam would be able to use the oil revenue to reinforce his own power. He wouldn't have seized Kuwait and then distributed the oil revenue equally among Iraqis.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at June 18, 2006 10:55 PM

I don't think it's a matter of making Republicans more powerful, nor is it a matter of oil money. Oil money is nothing compared to weapons money. It's a matter of making a certain segment of American industry and society--a segment that was suffocating in 2000--incredibly powerful. It's about providing an excuse to suck out the wealth and productivity and power of the rest of society into that segment. Oil is just a part of it.

Posted by: Saheli at June 18, 2006 11:30 PM


That makes perfect sense to me. I also agree whole heartedly that it is about much more than a few elections.


I am quite sure the weapons industry is part of it as well, after all, it is about the only thing we manufacture any longer, weapons that is, and it certainly is big business.

Posted by: rob payne at June 19, 2006 12:05 AM

One need NOT look for a conspiracy when GREED AND STUPIDITY fit the bill so nicely. Sure one can search the tea leaves for that master plan, but there is none. Now there is a GOAL but no plan. Look at how they run everything---into the ground. No need for a plan to do that, that's LACK of planning. The goal? Feed the GREED. The plan? STUPIDITY, ain't no plan.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 19, 2006 12:44 AM

Oh, I never meant anything about a conspiracy. Looking for conspiracies is the king of Red Herrings. Maybe it's there, maybe it's not, but there is a system that has evolved--without a designer--to take care of itself.

Posted by: Saheli at June 19, 2006 01:44 AM

I would suggest that the invasion of Iraq was motivated by more than one factor. Not 9-11 or WMD, or course, but ... picky, picky ... this dependence on truth.

Like it or not, we are heavily oil-dependent, even down to the individual level. The oil we consume has to come from somewhere, and even the anti-environmentalists know Alaska will yield only about 6 months' worth.

We are also the 1 remaining superpower, but extremely leveraged. China is a still-mostly-silent, ever-nearing second in geo-political power struggles. But, we like to view ourselves as the world's leader.

Thus, I would posit that we invaded Iraq for oil and global positioning (an actual presence in the Middle East; somewhere for our military to re-fuel), and I would not rule out other reasons.

The neocons make my skin crawl, but I wonder if some of them truly see the Iraq War and the control of the Middle East's oil supplies as the U.S.'s only option to continuing global dominance and truly visualize this as a good thing.

That some of them get to make the big bucks from their oil and military-industrial connections, well, that's just icing on the cake.

Posted by: blondie at June 19, 2006 11:20 AM

I wish that once, just once, some TV or radio news person would point out that Bush's whole "terrorists hate out freedom" schtick is simply idiotic, bone-headed blather.

Posted by: esaund at June 19, 2006 12:00 PM

Not just the Administration's GREED AND STUPIDITY, ours too.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 19, 2006 05:31 PM

"they hate our freedom" to make their bed.

Posted by: buermann at June 20, 2006 01:39 AM