Bin Laden’s not-so-Is­lamic ha­tred of Amer­ica

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

In those har­row­ing first days and weeks af­ter the 9/11 atroc­ity, Amer­i­cans were trau­ma­tized, but also be­wil­dered. What vi­cious ha­tred was this? Who was this new and ter­ri­fy­ing en­emy? What could pos­si­bly mo­ti­vate peo­ple to sac­ri­fice their lives for the honor of killing in­no­cent Amer­i­can civil­ians, and cause thou­sands of oth­ers to cheer mass mur­der?

Nat­u­rally, some Amer­i­cans couldn’t re­sist the temp­ta­tion to ride their own hob­by­horses. We had it com­ing, said the late Rev. Jerry Fal­well, for tol­er­at­ing abor­tion and gay unions. (Fal­well later apol­o­gized.) On the left, a ver­i­ta­ble cho­rus of “blame the vic­tim” anal­y­sis ex­plained that Amer­ica’s crimes had driven our en­e­mies to terrorism. The Nation mag­a­zine de­clared that Amer­ica was “the world’s lead­ing rogue state.”

Noam Chom­sky of­fered his own twist, call­ing the U.S. the world’s chief “ter­ror­ist state.” Michael Moore, who held a seat of honor at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in 2000, of­fered that we shouldn’t be sur­prised by the at­tack be­cause “we have or­phaned so many chil­dren . . . with our tax­payer­funded terrorism.”

The rest of us won­dered how Mus­lims could be so fired with ha­tred of Amer­i­cans con­sider- ing that the last three wars we had fought had been on be­half of suf­fer­ing Mus­lims: in Kuwait, Bos­nia, and Kosovo.

The usual sus­pects blamed Mus­lim ha­tred of the U.S. on our sup­port for Is­rael (though that is­sue ranked be­low “infidel” troops on Saudi soil on bin Laden’s list of griev­ances). The rest of us have un­der­taken, dur­ing the past decade, a crash course in Is­lam, Is­lamism, the his­tory of the Le­vant, al-Qaida, the clash of civ­i­liza­tions, and ji­had. No sooner had we de­feated com­mu­nism than the scourge of Is­lamism seemed to reach straight out of the Mid­dle Ages, a death cult promis­ing its killers 70 vir­gins in par­adise, and warn­ing the faith­ful that only the strictest ad­her­ence to the Qu­ran would bring sal­va­tion.

Osama bin Laden, with his talk of the Caliphate and re­gain­ing Spain for the umma,

A cam­era panned the room where Osama bin Laden died, a room in a multi-level man­sion in the sub­urbs of Islamabad, not a cave in a hill­side near the bor­der, and lit upon the quo­tid­ian para­pher­na­lia of his life.

On a shelf lay a jar of Vase­line, bot­tles of what looked like vi­ta­mins, and a pre­scrip­tion box that seemed to be for a nasal spray.

On the floor lay a vac­uum cleaner. Next door were the com­put­ers.

It’s no rev­e­la­tion, of course, that bin Laden was con­ver­sant with mod­ern tech­nol­ogy. But just as bin Laden’s home held mod­ern prod­ucts, his mind held mod­ern prej­u­dices. By al­low­ing our­selves to be too dis­tracted by the tur­bans and the pietis­tic lan­guage, we may have missed that, and in the process over­es­ti­mated the role of Is­lam in Is­lamism.

In 2007, in his long­est video-

Michael Moore, who held a seat of honor at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in 2000, of­fered that we shouldn’t be sur­prised by the (Sept. 11) at­tack be­cause “we have or­phaned so many chil­dren ... with our tax­payer-funded terrorism.”

taped mes­sage to the world, bin Laden mouthed some of the fa­mil­iar in­vo­ca­tions of “Al­lah, the most high,” but much of his mes­sage to the Amer­i­can peo­ple could have come straight from the pages of the Nation. He de­cried global warm­ing, the “greed of ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives,” “glob­al­iza­tion,” and “cap­i­tal­ism.” Here’s his ex­pla­na­tion of the war in Viet­nam:

“In the Viet­nam War, the lead­ers of the White House claimed at the time that it was a nec­es­sary and cru­cial war, and dur­ing it, Rums­feld and his aides mur­dered 2 mil­lion vil­lagers. And when Kennedy took over the pres­i­dency and de­vi­ated from the gen­eral line of pol­icy drawn up for the White House and wanted to stop this un­just war, that an­gered the own­ers of the ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions who were ben­e­fit­ing from its con­tin­u­a­tion. And so Kennedy was killed . . . those cor­po­ra­tions were the pri­mary ben­e­fi­ciary from his killing.”

Oliver Stone couldn’t have said it bet­ter.

Yes, the late Osama bin Laden was a re­li­gious fa­natic. But if re­li­gious zeal were his only mo­ti­va­tion, he might have turned his ha­tred to­ward China, a con­sis­tent per­se­cu­tor of Mus­lims (and oth­ers) or In­dia (which some Is­lamists have at­tacked, though with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion).

But bin Laden’s gar­ru­lous videos re­veal some­one who had drunk deeply from the well of ha­tred for Amer­ica that nour­ishes ev­ery­one from Hugo Chavez to Vladimir Putin.

It’s a well with springs that orig­i­nate right here.

Mona Charen is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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