The Bin Laden Book Club

Posted: Sep 17, 2007 12:00 AM
The Bin Laden Book Club

In 2004, a leading critic of the Bush administration issued a stinging critique of the U.S. government's war on terror. He charged that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Bush continued reading to children "a little girl's story about a goat and its butting." The critic insisted that Bush invaded Iraq because of "oil and more business for his private companies." Bush knew Iraq posed no security threat but "the black gold blinded him." As a consequence, "Bush's hands are coverd with blood" and Iraq has become a "quagmire." Yet Bush refuses to change course because of "the enormity of the contracts won by large corporations like Halliburton." Moreover, in the name of fighting terror, Bush has "brought tyranny and the suppression of liberties" through such measures as "the Patriot Act."

Michael Moore? Al Franken? Nancy Pelosi? Actually, it's Bin Laden in his address to the American people on the eve of the 2004 election. In his latest video Bin Laden is at it again, attacking Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and the neocons, and denouncing the role of money in politics. Remove the Koranic references and exhortations to convert to Islam and Bin Laden sounds indistinguishable from Moore. (Alas, Bin Laden forgot to mention that Guantanamo captives get better health care than 9/11 survivors.)

But if Bin Laden has been doing his best Michael Moore imitation, he doesn’t mention Moore by name. He does, however, provide unpaid endorsements for other leading leftists. In his most recent video message, Bin Laden extols the works of the author Noam Chomsky for portraying a correct (i.e. Bin Laden’s own) view of the war on terror. He also directs Americans to read the book Imperial Hubris written by former CIA analyst and Bush critic Michael Scheuer. In his 2004 message, delivered shortly before the presidential election, Bin Laden implored Americans to read the works of author Robert Fisk to get an "unbiased" view of why America was to blame for Muslim woes. And in January 2006 Bin Laden championed the book Rogue State written by William Blum.

Who are these honorary members of the Bin Laden Book Club? A former CIA analyst who has joined the Bush-bashing crowd, Scheuer places the blame for the turmoil in Iraq and the Middle East squarely on Bush. Having blamed the Cold War on America for decades, Noam Chomsky now blames his country for being the world’s leading terrorist state. Chomsky wrote of 9/11, "As atrocities go it doesn't rank very high." Indeed for Chomsky the only significance of 9/11 was that usually it is America that is responsible for mass atrocities while "for the first time the guns have been directed the other way. That is dramatic change." Chomsky, like Bin Laden, takes the view that we had it coming. A prolific author and far-left writer for the London Independent, Robert Fisk is the British equivalent of Chomsky: anti-Americanism runs in his veins. Blum, who writes for The Progressive and other leftist publications, has called on America to withdraw from the Middle East and "give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured" by American troops.

Prior to 9/11, Bin Laden's messages made no distinctions among Americans: we were all evil. But since then Bin Laden has changed his tune. Apparently he considers some Americans like Bush, Cheney and Wolfowitz to be the very incarnations of the Great Satan, while other Americans--inevitably on the left--get globally-publicized book blurbs often resulting in a sales boost. Interestingly Blum reacted to the Bin Laden endorsement by telling the Washington Post, "I'm not repulsed and I'm not going to pretend that I am. If he (Bin Laden) shares with me a deep dislike for certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy...I think it's good that he shares those views."

Now think of how odd this is. Imagine if Hitler had issued regular missiles during World War II in which he praised a group of Americans and cited from their writings and repeated their arguments with such precision that it would be hard to tell his words from theirs. Imagine if the Americans praised by Hitler reacted to his commendations with unembarrassed delight. The reaction in America, I'm sure, would be one of unmitigated outrage!

So what’s going on here? My book The Enemy at Home has the full story, but we get a hint of the answer from Bin Laden himself. In his latest video he says that there is a twofold solution to defeating Bush's war on terror. "The first is from our side...and the second is from your side." The first part lies with his jihadists, who he says are doing their part to create the terror. The second part lies with the American left, which is expected to use the terror to demoralize the American people and urge them to retreat. Evidently Bin Laden is trying to sway American public opinion by mouthing the arguments of the American left--including calls for campaign finance reform!--and he is also counting on leftists like Moore and Chomsky to convince the American people to cut and run from Iraq and give up on Bush's war on terror.

So far the Bin Laden strategy is working beautifully. But given all the leftists and Bush-bashers that Bin Laden has cited by name, I wonder if Moore is a little upset that Bin Laden isn't giving him enough credit. Hasn’t the author of Farenheit 911 and other similar tracts earned his place in the Bin Laden Book Club?