Saturday, May 07, 2011

Quote of the Day: Bin Laden's Irrelevance

"The most striking thing is that even before Osama bin Laden was killed, he seemed largely irrelevant to the Arab Spring.  I don't know of a single instance of these Arab freedom fighters holding up pictures of bin Laden. I know many instances of them displaying American flags in Benghazi or painting 'Facebook' on their foreheads in Cairo.

The idea of freedom . . . is absolutely contradictory to what bin Laden stood for, which was . . . taking Muslims back to some medieval theocracy and encouraging people to die not for freedom but to go to paradise and to kill innocent people along the way. The contrast is really striking."

~Paul Wolfowitz in today's WSJ (works now)

23 Comments:

At 5/07/2011 9:06 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Ironically, getting bin Laden may have created a big problem for Obama. The President's popularity certainly increased over the short term but now that bin Laden is swimmin' with the fishes Americans may start to wonder why the War on Terror is not winding down and why Obama is committing so much money and so many resources to escalating old and creating new conflicts.

I imagine that once the Euro bump is gone and holders of USDs resume their hedging activities Americans will realize that their currency is the healthiest horse in the fiat glue factory and the real collapse will continue as it has been for most of the past decade.

The al Qaeda leadership and organization are old news with few real followers in the Arab youth. Given the demographic distribution it looks a lot as if most of the Arab world is about to go through its version of the French Revolution. As many old rulers are deposed their replacements will not be the old guard with terrorist ties but undisciplined and reckless young radicals who may actually be just as bad but a lot harder to get rid of.

 
At 5/07/2011 11:40 AM, OpenID American Delight said...

"I don't know of a single instance of these Arab freedom fighters holding up pictures of bin Laden."

Christians and Jews of the Middle East rejoice! The Islamist revolutionaries left their bin Laden portraits indoors, which means they'll create open, tolerant societies respectful of the rights of religious minorities.

It's a little early in the "Arab Spring" to be uncorking the champagne...

 
At 5/07/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

WTF - Are we out of JDAMs??

 
At 5/07/2011 12:57 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Agreed, bin Laden was a minor threat to the USA and irrelevant.

So why did we spend $3 trillion to fight him?

It's called hyping terrorism for political and economic gain.

 
At 5/08/2011 1:39 AM, Blogger Richard said...

Mark,

The link to the WSJ is no good.

 
At 5/08/2011 7:10 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The link to the WSJ is no good.

Here you go.

 
At 5/08/2011 7:51 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"WTF - Are we out of JDAMs??"...

Just say, "MOAB"...:-)

 
At 5/08/2011 2:33 PM, Blogger NormanB said...

Charles DeGaulle said, "There is no power without mystery". Now that we see Osama in his lair, desheveled and ordinary, his power went poof. That's the advantage of going in and getting him.

The same thing was true of Saddam when the pictures of him in his hole were made public.

Try as they might, Osama's followers have lost him as a beacon. He ended as a guy on the lam without trappings. Lets now find the rest of them.

 
At 5/08/2011 6:05 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

NormanB

"Try as they might, Osama's followers have lost him as a beacon. He ended as a guy on the lam without trappings. Lets now find the rest of them."

He is now a martyr. What do the widespread demonstrations tell you?

Saddam was widely feared, but loved by very few. He had no particular appeal to the masses, and the demonstrators after his overthrow were those overjoyed to see him gone.

Osama bin Laden is nothing like that.

"The rest of them" may be several hundred million people. They aren't hard to find.

 
At 5/08/2011 7:23 PM, OpenID PK said...

One needs to consider the source of the article--Wolfowitz. He was one of many that Bush surrounded himself with, who were literally obsessed with "taking out Saddam Hussein" years before 9/11. Then when we were attacked by (mostly) Saudi terrorists, they used that excuse to consummate their obsession, a.k.a. not letting that crisis go to waste.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

Interesting list of signatories on the bottom. The site has many more letters like it.

 
At 5/08/2011 7:45 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

He is now a martyr. What do the widespread demonstrations tell you?

I don't know about you but the riots tell me that he was not all that important. The demonstrators were not fanatics looking for a conservative Islamic regime. They were ordinary people looking for freedom. The demographics are dire for the Arab ruling classes just as they were for Louis XVI and his regime.

 
At 5/08/2011 9:14 PM, Blogger gadfly said...

From Angelo Codevilla:

"The real Osama bin Laden, like the real al Qaeda over which he presided, was never as important as reports from Arab (especially Saudi) intelligence services led the CIA to believe. Osama's (late) role in Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance was to bring in a little money. Arab fighters in general, and particularly the few Osama brought, fought rarely and badly. In war, one Afghan is worth many Arabs. In 1990 Osama told Saudi regent Abdullah that his mujahideen could stop Saddam's invasion of the kingdom. When Abdullah waved him away in favor of a half-million U.S. troops, Osama turned dissident, enough to have to move to Sudan, where he stayed until 1996 hatching sterile anti-Saudi plots until forced to move his forlorn band to Afghanistan.

Questioning Osama's relevance to today's terrorism leads naturally to asking how relevant he ever was, and who might be more relevant. That in turn quickly shows how flimsy are the factual foundations on which rest the U.S. government's axioms about the "war on terror." Consider: We know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) planned and carried out 9/11. But there is no independent support for KSM's claim that he acted at Osama's direction and under his supervision. On the contrary, we know for sure that the expertise and the financing for 9/11 came from KSM's own group (the U.S. government has accepted but to my knowledge not verified that the group's core is a biological family of Baluchs). This group carried out the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa and every other act for which al Qaeda became known."

No wonder the man had but five weapons and 500 Euros to his name when he was snuffed. Five years in a single room -- now that really shows what an important terrorist leader he was!

 
At 5/08/2011 11:53 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

VangeIV,

US citizens against the Afghanistan War have been pissed at Obama from the get-go for continuing the war, especially after he boosted troop presence. Some have called it "Obama's Vietnam." Unfortunately, this is America, and there's a segment whose gullibility is easily snagged (and many such people hate the president).

If you want a simple explanation of what I'm saying, just remember: the invasion of Iraq commenced over supposed WMD possession, even with contrary evidence beforehand. After the lack of WMDs became clear - with both George and Dick admitting Iraq possessed none - the war supporters, nevertheless, continued their feverent approval of Iraq's occupation for years afterward; many still do to this day.

Sadly, before the invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban were willing to hand bin Laden over to a third-party country if the Bush administration could prove he was behind the 9/11 attacks. The military-industrial complex, however, seemed to have other intentions; Rumsfeld was ordering Iraq invasion plans in the midst of 9/11 chaos.

 
At 5/09/2011 12:06 PM, Blogger Monkeesfan said...

Bloggin' Brewski, a few problems -

The "invasion" of Iraq commenced after over a year of deliberation and after multiple UN resolutions authorizing it. It also came after over 40 years of Iraqi aggression between the invasion of Kuwait, no-fly zone attacks, and backing of international terrorism from Al Qaida to the PLO. N-B-C weaponry was certainly a major part of it and the "contrary" evidence was nothing of the kind. Far from possessing none, Iraq had parts and blueprints for a nuclear centrifuge, 500 tons of weapons-grade uranium, was working with North Korea to purchase missiles and had multiple stockpiles of chemical weapons plus labs, test sites, etc. - the only shocking aspect was how Iraq had been able to decentralize their N-B-C programs, though it shouldn't have been a shock given the need to disperse items in case of air attack.

The Taliban had no intent of ever handing over Bin Laden, and saying "Rumsfeld was ordering Iraq invasion plans" is false.

 
At 5/09/2011 7:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

US citizens against the Afghanistan War have been pissed at Obama from the get-go for continuing the war, especially after he boosted troop presence. Some have called it "Obama's Vietnam." Unfortunately, this is America, and there's a segment whose gullibility is easily snagged (and many such people hate the president).

You will excuse my skepticism but I do not see as much opposition as you claim. The left was behind Obama on the Afghan war escalation and the right no loner seems to be able to find a war it did not like.

If you want a simple explanation of what I'm saying, just remember: the invasion of Iraq commenced over supposed WMD possession, even with contrary evidence beforehand. After the lack of WMDs became clear - with both George and Dick admitting Iraq possessed none - the war supporters, nevertheless, continued their feverent approval of Iraq's occupation for years afterward; many still do to this day.

But both the Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly supported the Iraq invasion and voters were behind them. It was only a collection of a few lefties, old right conservatives, and libertarians who opposed the war.

Sadly, before the invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban were willing to hand bin Laden over to a third-party country if the Bush administration could prove he was behind the 9/11 attacks. The military-industrial complex, however, seemed to have other intentions; Rumsfeld was ordering Iraq invasion plans in the midst of 9/11 chaos.

I agree. The bin Laden crew should have been handed over to an international court which would have judged them on the basis of the evidence presented. Bush wanted no part of such a process and Obama went along because he did not want bin Laden to be caught alive.

The bottom line is that you are screwed. The conflicts will bleed the country dry until the currency fails.

 
At 5/09/2011 7:57 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The "invasion" of Iraq commenced after over a year of deliberation and after multiple UN resolutions authorizing it.

The UN only passed the resolution because the US lied about WMDs.

It also came after over 40 years of Iraqi aggression between the invasion of Kuwait, no-fly zone attacks, and backing of international terrorism from Al Qaida to the PLO.

There was never any evidence that Iraq helped al Qaeda. Saddam was a secular leader and bin Laden was calling for an Islamic state.

N-B-C weaponry was certainly a major part of it and the "contrary" evidence was nothing of the kind. Far from possessing none, Iraq had parts and blueprints for a nuclear centrifuge, 500 tons of weapons-grade uranium, was working with North Korea to purchase missiles and had multiple stockpiles of chemical weapons plus labs, test sites, etc. - the only shocking aspect was how Iraq had been able to decentralize their N-B-C programs, though it shouldn't have been a shock given the need to disperse items in case of air attack.

What BS. Bush admitted that Iraq had no WMDs. He was even rubbing it in about the WMDs.

The Taliban had no intent of ever handing over Bin Laden, and saying "Rumsfeld was ordering Iraq invasion plans" is false.

They offered and were rejected. There is no basis to make the claim that they were not interested because they were never given the chance to do what they offered.

 
At 5/10/2011 5:03 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

Monkeesfan,

You might want to pay better attention to the news. The truth is Iraq was disarmed of WMDs in the '90s, it posed no threat, and the war was built on a pack of lies.

The UN stated Iraq had no WMDs.

Rusmfeld gunned for Iraq invasion plans on the day of 9/11.

George W. Bush admitted Iraq had no WMDs, was not responsible for 9/11.

Dick Cheney acknowledged there was no link between Iraq and 9/11.

15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi-born.

But yes, Saddam once had WMDs and used them on his own people. Do you know who gave them to him?

 
At 5/10/2011 5:19 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

Monkeesfan,

Sorry, I forgot to put this bit up: yes, the Taliban WERE willing to turn over bin Laden.

 
At 5/10/2011 5:41 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

VangeIV,

I get your argument. Sadly, 9/11 adversely affected even otherwise smart people's judgement, compelling primal fears to call for blood and "justice"; even when rationale evidence suggested Iraq possessed no WMDs, that war with Iraq (as with Afghanistan) would result in quagmires with no esteemable results.

It's too bad the American public, nor Dick Cheney himself, didn't adhere to this ominous prophecy.

"The bottom line is that you are screwed. The conflicts will bleed the country dry until the currency fails."

I live here in America. I've been witnessing first-hand the slow but steady degradation of living standards among large swaths of the population. This (plus the huge myriad of reasons commonplace among the fall of all empires) is already dragging the country down; it simply hasn't giveth full fruit yet (it likely isn't even close). What we are witnessing is the fall of the American Empire.

I feel I'll do okay but it appears there may be some forthcoming pain elsewhere: the Euro's promise looks decrepit, Japan is ever so sclerotic. Some analysts even believe China's real estate market may lead to a crisis (This may be but I'm still gung-ho about China's rising prominence as she'll still have her factories, fresh infrastructure, recently-purchased oil fields and mines, her enviable creditor status, and her army of well-educated and highly-motivated workers after the dust settles. Did the Great Depression prevent America's prominence?)

Can't hurt to buy gold.

 
At 5/10/2011 7:09 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

Monkeesfan,

I put up a longer response filled with links debunking your claims, but, mysteriously, the blog's filtering system removed the post; this has happened to me before as the filtering system is fickle with link-laden posts. Instead, I'll put up only two links.

Dick Cheney admitted there was no link between Iraq and 9/11.

The UN stated Iraq hasn't had WMDs since 1994.

Of course Saddam once had WMDs, he used them on his own people. The US gave him the weapons in the 1980s. For an interesting photo I'd recommened googling "Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand photo" for a nice, grainy surprise.

 
At 5/10/2011 9:16 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I get your argument. Sadly, 9/11 adversely affected even otherwise smart people's judgement, compelling primal fears to call for blood and "justice"; even when rationale evidence suggested Iraq possessed no WMDs, that war with Iraq (as with Afghanistan) would result in quagmires with no esteemable results.

Here is where we differ a bit. I point out that if we compromise on principle, buy into unsupported hype, and just go along just to be a part of the mass movement we are not really SMART. I recall Ron Paul laying out a great case about why we should not go to war in Iraq. I recall how many experts dismissed much of Powell's presentation as weak and wrong. I recall how many pointed out that any occupation of Afghanistan will lead to a big problem for the US military. All were ignored by people who should have known better if they were as smart as they thought that they were.

I live here in America. I've been witnessing first-hand the slow but steady degradation of living standards among large swaths of the population. This (plus the huge myriad of reasons commonplace among the fall of all empires) is already dragging the country down; it simply hasn't giveth full fruit yet (it likely isn't even close). What we are witnessing is the fall of the American Empire.

If I may, I want to recommend a very interesting book. The reason that you may want to read it is what it makes clear; that what made America great was not some virtuous man or woman with a plan but a bunch of slobs at the margin looking to make a better living for themselves or looking to gain a little bit more liberty. If you want an idea take a look at an excerpt on Lew Rockwell's site that is titled, 7 Ways the Mafia Made the U.S. a Better Place: 'Renegade History'. The American people will do fine if the government gets out of the way and allows them more freedom. That is why America became so great in the first place.

Can't hurt to buy gold.

I still think that silver will be a much better play over the next few years. There are too many large short positions and far too little physical. Eventually the COMEX will raise margins to 100% and there won't be any futures market to distort reality.

 
At 5/11/2011 3:29 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

VangeIV,

Thanks for the book recommendation.

 
At 5/12/2011 9:36 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Thanks for the book recommendation.

You are welcome. My twelve-year-old son loved the section on the Mob and had a big laugh with the crack about how 'good' Americans were always defined as people who could not dance and about the efforts to segregate 'white' and Italian kids.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home