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02.Dec.2002 'Osama's 'Letter to America' - View from the left' - The Smirking Chimp
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02.Dec.2002 'Osama's 'Letter to America' - View from the left' - The Smirking Chimp

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Harley Sorensen: 'Osama's 'Letter to America' - View from the left'
Date: Monday, December 02 @ 09:55:39 EST
Topic: War & Terrorism

By Harley Sorensen, San Francisco Chronicle

Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist and liberal iconoclast. E-mail him at harleysorensen@yahoo.com.

©2002 SF Gate

Reprinted from The San Francisco Chronicle:
https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
file=/gate/archive/2002/12/02/hsorensen.DTL

Just offhand,

would you think

that anyone in America

is curious

as to why

Muslim fundamentalists

hate

us

so much?

If we were given the answer,

straight from the horse's mouth,

would anyone pay attention

?
If

Osama bin Laden wrote,

"This is why we hate you,"

and then laid it all out,

chapter and verse,

do you think

we'd

be

curious enough

to read

what

he

had to say?

The

answers

to these questions

seem to be no, no and no.

Lives

are at stake

in our"war

on terrorism,"

perhaps

thousands of lives,

maybe hundreds of thousands

-- and not just overseas.

Untold numbers

of

Americans

might die --

right here,

in the United States of America

-- before our "war"

is resolved,

and yet

we seem not one whit interested

in the motivations

of

our

enemies.

That's

the conclusion

one

must reach

if one

looks

at

our

studious avoidance

of the "letter to America"

purportedly written by Osama bin Laden.

Have you seen that letter?

Have you read about it in your newspapers?

Have you heard it mentioned on television or on the radio?

Not likely.

As near as I can tell,

after searches on both

Nexis and Google,

bin Laden's

"letter to America"

has been

thoroughly

ignored

by

the American press.

It has had

quite a few mentions

on the Internet, however.

The only place off the Web

that the English version of the letter

has been reprinted

in its entirety,

to my knowledge,

is

in the

United Kingdom's

Observer.

The letter,

written in Arabic

and about 3,800 words long,

has been around

the past few weeks.

It was originally posted

"on a Saudi Arabian Web site

previously used by al-Qaeda

to disseminate messages,"

the Observer reported.

It was then picked up and sent by

Mohammed al-Massari

to hundreds as an e-mail attachment.

The Observer

described al-Massari as

"the UK-based Saudi Arabian dissident

whose Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights

has opposed the al-Saud regime

for more than a decade."

The Observer

had the letter translated into English

by Arabs living in England.

Was

the "letter to America"

truly written by bin Laden?

Who knows?

I can't tell,

and I certainly wouldn't take the word

of any government "expert,

" theirs or ours.

Whoever wrote it,

however,

seems to have done a good job

of laying out the case

against America

and other Western nations,

as seen

through the eyes of

Islamic fundamentalists.

In his

"Churchillian" address to Congress

on Sept. 20, 2001,

President Bush

gave

his

reasons

why

our

enemies

hate

us

.

"They hate what we see right here in this chamber

-- a democratically elected government.

Their leaders are self-appointed.

They hate our freedoms

-- our freedom of religion,

our freedom of speech,

our freedom to vote

and assemble

and disagree

with each other,"

Bush

said

.

Judging from bin Laden's letter,

Bush was right in that.

Islamic fundamentalists,

like fundamentalists everywhere,

are

not

too keen

on

democratic principles.

But

bin Laden

went a few steps further.

Bush didn't.

"Why are we fighting and opposing you?"

bin Laden asked.

Then, answering his own question,

he wrote,

"The answer is very simple:

Because

you

attacked and continue to

attack

us."

He focused on Palestine,

"sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years.

The British handed over Palestine,

with your help and your support,

to the Jews,

who have occupied it

for more than 50 years;

years

overflowing

with oppression,

tyranny, crimes,

killing, expulsion,

destruction and devastation."

Because of

our continued

support of Israel,

bin Laden wrote,

we must share the blame

for the mistreatment of Palestinians

by the Israeli

government.

But although the continuing problems in Israel

seem to be on the top of every Arab's complaints against America,

the list of complaints is long.

Bin Laden continues,

"You attacked us in Somalia;

you supported the

Russian atrocities

against us in Chechnya,

the Indian oppression

against us in Kashmir

and the Jewish aggression

against us in Lebanon."

He adds,

"Under your supervision,

consent and orders,

the governments of our countries,

which act as your agents,

attack us

on a daily basis."

After a long list of complaints,

bin Laden asks,

"Is it in any way rational to expect

that after America has attacked us

for more than half a century,

that we

will

then

leave her

to live

in security

and

peace

?"

If you want to know our enemy,

I urge you to read the letter attributed to bin Laden.

We're in trouble.

We could be badly hurt by our enemies.

So far, we've been lucky.

During World War II,

German scientists

were trying to develop

atomic weapons.

We beat them

to it.

When

the war in the Pacific

went bad for the Japanese,

they enlisted kamikaze pilots

to fly explosive-laden planes

into our warships.

Some observers believe

the strategy might have changed

the outcome of the Pacific war

if

it had been tried

earlier.

As

the events of

11.Sep.2001

showed,

and

as we see almost every day in Israel

and other nations,

we are opposed

by a totally dedicated enemy

who doesn't fear death.

For our own good,

we'd better start paying attention

to what this enemy has to say.

We have problems

that guns and bombs alone

won't solve.


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