Bin Laden's Economic War

This post is about something that's been bothering me for years - the selective quoting of the Big Bads by Republicans to support their pointless warmongering. I'm reminded today of this peeve by one of it's chief progenitors, a Cheney:
· Quitting helps the terrorists. Few politicians want to be known as spokesmen for retreat. Instead we hear such words as "redeployment," "drawdown" or "troop cap." Let's be clear: If we restrict the ability of our troops to fight and win this war, we help the terrorists. Don't take my word for it. Read the plans of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayman Zawahiri to drive America from Iraq, establish a base for al-Qaeda and spread jihad across the Middle East. The terrorists are counting on us to lose our will and retreat under pressure. We're in danger of proving them right.
"Don't take my word for it. Read the plans" of the terrorists, indeed. The neoconservatives reliably quote the same lines from Bin Laden - that our retreat after Somalia showed "we didn't have the stomach for a prolonged fight," for instance - but they leave out half of Bin Laden's stated strategic goal. The economic war of attrition is how Osama believes he defeated the Soviet Union, vying with Reagan for credit.

Bin Laden's words:

"We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah," bin Laden said in the transcript.

He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, "using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers."

"We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden said.

He also said al Qaeda has found it "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."

"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations," bin Laden said.


As part of the "bleed-until-bankruptcy plan," bin Laden cited a British estimate that it cost al Qaeda about $500,000 to carry out the attacks of September 11, 2001, an amount that he said paled in comparison with the costs incurred by the United States.

"Every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs," he said. "As for the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.

So, for those of you conservatives who think that we have to "listen to Bin Laden's words" and to oppose his every intention, shouldn't you also now reject the War in Iraq as playing directly into Al Qaeda's strategic goals? His line about every one of Al Qaeda's dollars defeating a million American dollars carries weight. It is exactly the sort of calculus in which those of us who opposed this war engaged. You know, strategic thinking rather than "He killed my pappy."

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