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Was Osama right?

"Islamists always believed the U.S. was weak. Recent political trends won't change their view."

From renowned Middle Eastern scholar Bernard Lewis in the Wall Street Journal:


During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?"


* * * * *

From the writings and the speeches of Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, it is clear that they expected this second task, dealing with America, would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks--on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000--all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places.


Read Lewis' entire essay at the link above. He forgot Khobar Towers in 1996.

When Osama envisioned a spineless, weak America, he had today's Democratic Party in mind. FDR is spinning in his grave.


Comments (13)

"When Osama envisioned a sp... (Below threshold)
KendraWilder:

"When Osama envisioned a spineless, weak America, he had today's Democratic Party in mind. FDR is spinning in his grave."

The question now is: Will the Conservatives and Moderates who were so determined on sending a "message" to the Congressional Republicans in 2006 now realize what a grave mistake it was....and try to undo the nightmare that has been happening with the Democrats churning everyday government business and foreign policy into a blobby mess that might take years to clean up?

If the trend isn't reversed by 2008, I fear that Osama's vision of a weak America will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. If it isn't too late already.

Osama called the U.S. a Pap... (Below threshold)
marc:

Osama called the U.S. a Paper Tiger.

It was always assumed he meant the U.S. as a whole. It may have been true at the time but recently it would appear the "paper" has a DNC letterhead on it.

Jim,You forgot to me... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Jim,
You forgot to mention the Marine Barracks in Lebanon during the mid 80's.

In case anyone's interested... (Below threshold)

In case anyone's interested, I commented about this yesterday: They Didn't Change, We Did

Sorry for the shameless self-promotion.

For a brief period I though... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

For a brief period I though Hillary was exhibiting exemplary behavior in her Iraq position, but now watching her flop around in response to Obamessiah it's become a sad circus.

The Democratic entertainment now consists of a pissing match to see who can cut off military funds quickest.

I like that Spider: 'Any re... (Below threshold)
kim:

I like that Spider: 'Any reasonable person can discern that the terrorists don't want sustained action against our military in one location'.

Read his link. Sorry for the unself promotion.
============================

Bernard Lewis, Victor Davis... (Below threshold)
kim:

Bernard Lewis, Victor Davis Hanson, and Mark Steyn are the prophets.
====================================

What, no comments from the ... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

What, no comments from the left? We must be misunderstanding what Osama actually said, right? We need to hear a spirited defense of the Clinton years of non response. They are listed above.

Is Osama right?Dep... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Is Osama right?

Depends on your audience/point of view.

If Osama is looking only at the political/elite/state department he is right.

If he is looking at the soldiers giving his compatriots hell, he is wrong.

If he looks at the chattering class on the coasts he is mostly right.

If he looks at the folks in fly-over country, he'll get his ass handed to him.

Notice none of the resident... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Notice none of the resident opposition has seen fit to pine in here. Guess the referal to the Clinton years by the enemy is too painful for them to face, and it is hard to call an ally like Bin Laudin a liar. Afterall, both the Democrats and al Qaeda want us to leave Iraq. Birds of a feather and all that.

"Notice none of the residen... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

"Notice none of the resident opposition has seen fit to pine in here."

I think because when a person with a liberal perspective reads the quote----
"What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?"

The phrase "truth hurts" gives them cotton mouth/fingers.

Now only if they could learn....before it's too late.

The important point is not ... (Below threshold)
Ashok Chowgule:

The important point is not the response, but the provocation. Why did the Islamists wish to provoke anyone - whether it is the Americans or the Russians? Why did groups other than the Islamists - the Hindus, the Buddhists, the animists, the aethists, the gays (just trying to be friviolous), etc. - try and provoke the Americans? Why do the Islamists not take a policy of live and let live, as these other groups do?

Ashok Chowgule, Goa, India

Ashok, it is my opinion tha... (Below threshold)
kim:

Ashok, it is my opinion that future public spirituality will be Confucian, private spirituality will most resemble Buddhism, public holydays will be festive like Hindu ones, and the various cults of Abraham will be marginalized as too violent.
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