Meh Culpa

I’d like to say it’s prescient

but still,  the essay is well worth reading: “How Bin Laden Bankrupted America: The Five Ways” by Jon Basil Utley

I can remember writing something to the effect back in 2002-ish after Bin Laden’s “Letter to America” was published– on an old e-list that no longer exists–that Bin Laden was brilliant.*  That he hated Saddam and would never work with him, but would allow us to think so if it would both ruin Saddam and us.

The text of Bin Laden’s letter provides a map of his brain, to some extent.  He lists our shortcomings–our sins and venality and meddling–and advises us that we have compromised our values–although in 2002 most Americans didn’t yet know the half of torture, extraordinary rendition,  and least of all the lies about WMDs in Iraq.  At the very end,  he says what wants to happen (or believes will happen):

If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.

In this respect, he’s looking back at history.  The Soviets were defeated.  The British were defeated at Herat in 1880, although it was India that did in the empire.  The Center for Strategic and International Studies has published a plan for winning the Afghan War, but given our current economic circumstances, I don’t think we can afford that war.  We might be able to afford to chase Bin Laden down via covert ops,  but we can’t deal with war on the scale it would take to remedy the connected situations in Pakistan and Afghanistan–unless you treat war as an extended employment opportunity, which I hope you do not.

Just my nickel.

* I think it might be a good idea to fact-check Bin Laden’s claims. You know, see how much is real and how much isn’t. There is truth to some of what he writes, but he does have a warped POV so you have to take that into consideration. Maybe some day if I have time.  (Off to study more medical terminology now…)

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January 19, 2009 Posted by | Bush administration, Economy, Foreign policy, India, Iraq, Iraq War, Russia, torture, WMD | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment