September 22, 2007


What does Osama want? (Victor Davis Hanson, September 22, 2007, Washington Times)

The truth is that bin Laden and al Qaeda want power for themselves, and use religious grievances and shifting political demands to try to achieve it.

In their worldview, Islam's chance for a renewed united Muslim caliphate was shattered into impotent warring nations by sneaky 19th century European colonists. They now want to reunite modern Arab nations into an Islamic empire run by the likes of bin Laden and his sidekick, Ayman al-Zawahri. [...]

Bin Laden's problem then is not really tiny Israel or global warming or mortgage interest rates, but an all-powerful and free West led by the United States. It alone has the military and economic power to stop radical Islamists. Plus, we bring the more powerful message of political freedom. And American popular culture, with its informality and egalitarianism, is sweeping the globe, seducing far more adherents than does rote memorization of the Koran.

So, despite bin Laden's bragging, America remains the big stumbling block, the stronger horse. The United States alone ensures that bin Laden stays a sick man babbling in a cave — and not a Muslim caliph in flowing robes, with billions of dollars in oil under his feet and weapons merchants lined up at his palace door.

Heck, even Ethiopia had little trouble toppling an Islamist government they didn't approve of. The reality is that the one end the al Qaedists can never achieve is sovereign governance. People who can't show their faces in public can't wield national power.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2007 12:00 AM
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