Friday, September 07, 2007

My Take On Osama's New Release.

Osama Bin Laden is making waves by releasing a 30 minute diatribe to mark the anniversary of 9/11. I've read the transcript (PDF) of what he has to say and I come away with that same sort of gut churning anger at the opinions expressed by OBL as I feel many times when I listen to what George Bush has to say. In fact in many ways I come away feeling like Bin Laden and George Bush are different sides of the same coin.

To start with, maybe there is something lost in translation from OBL's screed, but I find the wandering, disjointed and overbearing message delivered by him to be only slightly worse than the bothersome tendency of the President to verbally wander hither and yon while making a mockery of the English language, all with an air of supreme confidence. Maybe this says something about the partisanship which is my nature and which I fully admit too, but I can barely tolerate a couple sentences of the typical Bush speech before reflexively changing the channel in order to avoid losing my cool. If I was fluent in Arabic I can just imagine having the same visceral reaction to Osama's nonsensical drivel. Reading the transcript I was struck by the amount of times I found myself rereading sentences to try to garner the meaning OBL was going for... much the same as one often must carefully consider President Bush's utterances in order to get his meaning. (Don't get me wrong here, in this very blog you can find many examples of my own egregious mangling of sentence structure I'm certain.)

Reading the transcript in many ways is like listening to an echo chamber. For example OBL makes a point early in his blathering that George Bush's speeches focus mainly on OBL and Al Qaeda (OBL uses the term Mujahideen). That point is undeniably true, so OBL echoes Bush by spending the vast remainder of the speech focusing mainly on George Bush and the west's role in oppressing his religion.

President Bush recently blundered into the weeds of history and recalled the specter of Vietnam in order to argue that we should not withdraw from Iraq. Osama blunders into the weeds of history and recalls the specter of the Kennedy assassination, somehow relating that event to Kennedy seeing the need to withdraw from Vietnam which led to his assassination at the hands of corporations who were gaining wealth from the war. To both Bush's and OBL's take on the lessons of the Vietnam war I have just one reaction. "Huh?"

Both Bush and OBL can rattle off a list of rogues who help to lead the others organization, responsible for the deaths of thousands (from the point of view of the speaker at least). For Bush's Khaled Sheikh Mohammed there is Osama's Donald Rumsfeld. For Osama's Richard Armitage there is Bush's Ramzi Binalshibh. Both want to see the others rogues brought to justice before select tribunals for war crimes and crimes against humanity. I suppose the main difference here is that Osama hasn't been given the pleasure of torturing any of our high level rogues, but I feel confident that if given the chance he would order it done in a heartbeat.

Both Osama and Bush are positively certain of the eventual successful outcome of the struggle which they are waging. Bush proclaims certain victory for the forces of freedom and democracy while OBL proclaims certain victory for the forces of Allah and righteousness. Bush points to the oppressive regime which would be instituted if OBL wins, while OBL points to the historical oppression of the "Red Indians" and other indigenous populations around the planet who stood (or stand) in the way of western advances.

One of my favorite echoes between the two men is President Bush's never ending harping on tax cuts as the way to economic prosperity... which OBL trumped by announcing that under Islam there are no taxes what-so-ever, but only a 2.5% "alms" fee or zalkaat. Talk about trickle down!

Osama sounds like a justice department flunky straight out of Regence University while decrying the American separation of "state from religion". Is it just me or do we hear a pretty noticeable echo on this issue?

There are noticeable differences to be sure. George Bush shaves... Osama is using hair dye in his beard... George likes mega corporations and Osama doesn't... you know that sort of thing. But in reading that transcript I was struck by how it seemed that I was looking at a mirror of what I find so objectionable about the President.

I believe the final comparison here will be what is to come. Much the same as Osama uses George Bush as a tool to fill the ranks of his movement with new blood, Bush will try to use the re emergence of Osama to motivate and swell the ranks of his followers. I will gladly eat crow if the next couple of weeks are not filled with Presidential speeches featuring Osama and/or Al Qaeda as a central theme in justifying the Presidents wrong headed approach to policy. It's like they both need each other... they are both sides of the same coin.

It's like they both need each other... they are both sides of the same coin.

I totally agree with you on this! It sounds crazy but nothing this administration has done has made any sense!
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