The Daily Kos and Osama
The Daily Kos has published a post analyzing Osama bin Laden's latest video. The post, entitled Decoding bin Laden's Latest: An Odd Congruence, is written by FMArouet. Although one does not expect to see much logic or patriotism coming from the Daily Kos, this post, in my opinion, should automatically disqualify the website from having any credibility in either the blogosphere and the world at large.
FMArouet begins by complaining that discussions of Osama tend to get sidetracked because so many people consider him "crazy" or "evil". Since they start from these negative premises, people get sidetracked from his actual points. (Which until recently have consisted of "Death of America. Death to Israel". But I digress).
Osama is not crazy, says FMArouet, because:
I do agree with the author here. Osama is probably not crazy, except possibly in a weird Ron Paul combined with Timothy McVeigh sort of way. His next conclusion, however, more than makes up for whatever kernels of logic may have crept into the one above.
[H]e is highly intelligent, and he speaks coherently and persuasively to his
audience. He is regarded throughout the Arab World as astute and dignified, and
he appears to possess genuine charisma. He has excellent organizational
skills, and he thinks strategically. He has the capacity to imbue his followers
with great loyalty and sense of mission--even unto martyrdom for his, and their,
cause. Watch video of him closely. He does not rant. He does not rave. He does
not foam at the mouth. He does not gesticulate manically like Der Führer or
stare wild-eyed into the camera. He appears to speak with conviction and with
gravitas. At least most Arab observers think so.
[B]in Laden does not hate the U.S. or its (or other Western) people for what they
are or for what they personally believe. He is opposed to specific U.S. policies
in the Arab and Islamic World and seeks to organize and inspire resistance to those policies.
Well, as I recall, bin Laden advised the United States to give up on democracy, which seems to me to qualify for "hating us for what we are".
After informing us that Osama doesn't hate our way of life, he just has issues with our foreign policy, FMArouet turns his attention to the question of whether Osama is actually evil or not. Because that is a issue that should be considered carefully when dealing with mass murderers. (Next week, we will examine whether Charles Manson was really a bad guy). The answer?
Bin Laden is no more evil than other revolutionary leaders in other timesWow. War is seldom a good thing, but even the most depraved empires usually had the decency to attack targets with military value. Dresden? Hiroshima? They had military value. The Germans were forced to use a considerable number of anti-aircraft guns in their Motherland that could have been fitted for tanks on the Russian front, and Hiroshima did end the war. The military value of the World Trade Center? Zero. Even the Imperial Japanese surprise attacked us at Pearl Harbor, which was a naval base. Apparently, murdering three thousand people doesn't make one evil.
or even than ordinary national leaders who propel their countries to war for
"national honor," or to acquire the resources of others, or even to "do good."
The rest of the post considers the policy points mentioned by bin Laden and recommends accommodating him if not against the best interests of the United States, which none of them, according to the Daily Kos, are. This is possibly the worst part of the post. Bin Laden may or may not be making valid points. But why should we listen to him, a mass murderer, of all people? Many others have made identical points (think Michael Moore). Does it make sense for us to give his demands extra attention due to the fact that he is a wholly evil mass murderer?