Stealing your best lines

by Ted on January 23, 2006

A long excerpt from Osama bin Ladin’s complete letter to America (UPDATE: Please note, as per comments, that this is a letter from 2002.) Between the call to Islam, the condemnation of homosexuality, gambling, financial interest, alcohol, the separation of church and state, and the liberation of women, does anyone else feel like they’ve heard this before? It’s practically Howard Dean’s stump speech, isn’t it?

Between the part about how Clinton was let off too easily for immoral acts committed in the Oval office, and the part about how America “brought (the world) AIDS as a Satanic American Invention”, I’m surprised he doesn’t already have a diary at Daily Kos. Is Osama really out of the anti-Bush mainstream with this?

Um, yeah. He really, really is.

(Q2) As for the second question that we want to answer: What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?

(1) The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.

(a) The religion of the Unification of God; of freedom from associating partners with Him, and rejection of this; of complete love of Him, the Exalted; of complete submission to His Laws; and of the discarding of all the opinions, orders, theories and religions which contradict with the religion He sent down to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the religion of all the prophets, and makes no distinction between them – peace be upon them all.

It is to this religion that we call you; the seal of all the previous religions. It is the religion of Unification of God, sincerity, the best of manners, righteousness, mercy, honour, purity, and piety. It is the religion of showing kindness to others, establishing justice between them, granting them their rights, and defending the oppressed and the persecuted. It is the religion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with the hand, tongue and heart. It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah’s Word and religion reign Supreme. And it is the religion of unity and agreement on the obedience to Allah, and total equality between all people, without regarding their colour, sex, or language.

(b) It is the religion whose book – the Quran – will remained preserved and unchanged, after the other Divine books and messages have been changed. The Quran is the miracle until the Day of Judgment. Allah has challenged anyone to bring a book like the Quran or even ten verses like it.

(2) The second thing we call you to, is to stop your oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery that has spread among you.

(a) We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling’s, and trading with interest.

We call you to all of this that you may be freed from that which you have become caught up in; that you may be freed from the deceptive lies that you are a great nation, that your leaders spread amongst you to conceal from you the despicable state to which you have reached.

(b) It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind:

(i) You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator. You flee from the embarrassing question posed to you: How is it possible for Allah the Almighty to create His creation, grant them power over all the creatures and land, grant them all the amenities of life, and then deny them that which they are most in need of: knowledge of the laws which govern their lives?

(ii) You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. Yet you build your economy and investments on Usury. As a result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have then taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense; precisely what Benjamin Franklin warned you against.

(iii) You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of intoxicants. You also permit drugs, and only forbid the trade of them, even though your nation is the largest consumer of them.

(iv) You are a nation that permits acts of immorality, and you consider them to be pillars of personal freedom. You have continued to sink down this abyss from level to level until incest has spread amongst you, in the face of which neither your sense of honour nor your laws object.

Who can forget your President Clinton’s immoral acts committed in the official Oval office? After that you did not even bring him to account, other than that he ‘made a mistake’, after which everything passed with no punishment. Is there a worse kind of event for which your name will go down in history and remembered by nations?

(v) You are a nation that permits gambling in its all forms. The companies practice this as well, resulting in the investments becoming active and the criminals becoming rich.

(vi) You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools calling upon customers to purchase them. You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins. You then rant that you support the liberation of women.

(vii) You are a nation that practices the trade of sex in all its forms, directly and indirectly. Giant corporations and establishments are established on this, under the name of art, entertainment, tourism and freedom, and other deceptive names you attribute to it.

(viii) And because of all this, you have been described in history as a nation that spreads diseases that were unknown to man in the past. Go ahead and boast to the nations of man, that you brought them AIDS as a Satanic American Invention.

But, then he mentions Kyoto. So, like, is it Michael Moore or is it Osama, right? It’s absolutely uncanny.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Who Said It? at Pandagon
01.24.06 at 10:01 am
Myopic Zeal :: Who Said This? :: January :: 2006
01.24.06 at 11:45 am



ponte 01.23.06 at 2:19 pm

“You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator.”

Wow, Michael Moore couldn’t have said it better.


neil 01.23.06 at 2:29 pm

He might not sound like Moore in that letter, but he does sound a few other notes which are familiar to domestic politics.


garymar 01.23.06 at 2:46 pm

Did Ben Franklin warn against Usury? I thought he said people shouldn’t overdo Venery.

In any case, what a pious blowhard that Osama bin Laden is!


Chris 01.23.06 at 2:53 pm

That’s my favorite Pat Robertson speech yet. Thanks for the link to it.


california_reality_check 01.23.06 at 2:57 pm

Might want to check out this thoughtful piece.


Steve LaBonne 01.23.06 at 2:57 pm

Which raises the obvious question- why does Pat Robertson hate America?


Daniel 01.23.06 at 3:06 pm

Pat Robertson hates America because he hates our freedom.


Functional 01.23.06 at 3:27 pm

Why is a 2002 letter relevant to the current debate?


dipnut 01.23.06 at 3:50 pm

Second functional’s objection. Bin Laden put his God-bothering nutjobbery on proud display four years ago; but his latest speech could pass for a Salon editorial.


Louis Proyect 01.23.06 at 3:59 pm

To start with, it is questionable whether bin Laden is alive. It is highly unusual that somebody who requires dialysis could survive in such rugged conditions as the mountainous area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Leaving aside the quesion of whether it is him or somebody speaking on his behalf, the leftist rhetoric plus the favorable mention of William Blum, a radical Jew, is noteworthy. If I were the USA, I’d be worried. Any rise in anti-imperialist and class consciousness in this milieu would be worrisome indeed.

There are other signs of an affinity between Islamic radicals and the anti-Imperialist left.

This was reported on Lenin’s Tomb a while back:

“A woman has been installed as mayor of the Palestinian Authority’s political capital Ramallah thanks to the support of the Islamist movement Hamas, officials said yesterday.

“Janette Khuri, a 62-year-old Christian, became the first woman mayor of a major West Bank municipality when she was elected by a majority of her 15 fellow councillors.

“Khuri, a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), triumphed over the ruling Fatah faction’s candidate Ghazi Hanania when the three Hamas members voted for her.”

Which led Leninology to comment: “A secular Marxist woman of Christian background? Now, wouldn’t you have expected her to be stuffed into a burqa and told to wash the dishes? A thought occurs: perhaps the first thing that Palestinian movements are concerned about, religious or otherwise, is obtaining their freedom from this brutal and suffocating occupation.”


Ted 01.23.06 at 4:14 pm

functional, dipnut: I’ll update the post to make sure that everyone sees that it’s from 2002, but if you want to explain why it’s irrelevant, go nuts.


freddie 01.23.06 at 4:27 pm

Congrats! sillinest post and commentary for the day


dipnut 01.23.06 at 5:12 pm


It depends on what you mean by irrelevant. Is Bin Laden’s 2002 statement irrelevant to a general understanding of Bin Laden, his ideals, strategy and goals? No. He has not changed.

However, your post seems to be addressed to a more specific discussion, going on currently. We note that Bin Laden has lately adopted (co-opted?) arguments we are used to hearing from lefty anti-war types. Given that Bin Laden’s core ideals are diametrically opposed to those of most of the aforementioned lefty types, this development is rich in irony. It is also, of course, embarrasing to the lefties, and right-wing pro-war types have been making hay with it.

This is the context in which I read your post. Well: whether Bin Laden was and remains a religious nutcase is irrelevant to the fact that he now adjures us to the same policies (using much the same language), as Cindy, Mikey, Howie etc.


Azael 01.23.06 at 5:28 pm

So, has Tom Maguire ever given his response to the first bit? He seems to have had the time to produce a number of posts – some even on the same topic.

Just wondering.


yabonn 01.23.06 at 5:35 pm

It is also, of course, embarrasing to the lefties, and right-wing pro-war types have been making hay with it.

Mmmh. I’n not embarrassed.

Any embarassed leftie around? Got embarassed lefties, anyone? Anyone not a right-wing pro-war type?


Azael 01.23.06 at 5:35 pm


At issue is that bin Laden’s rantings as a religious nutcase have never been compared to – say – the rantings of the religious right. At no time has it entered the main stream conversation that bin Laden had coopted? the rhetoric of Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwel. However, when he “coopts” the rhetoric of the anti-war left, it suddenly became mainstream.

The question is why is it irrelevant in one case, but suddenly relevant in the other.


dp 01.23.06 at 5:46 pm

Cindy, Mikey, Howie etc.

Rich in irony indeed, when the appropriate names are Pat, Jerry, Michelle, Anne, Jeb, Newt, et al.


Artemis 01.23.06 at 5:46 pm

“At issue is that bin Laden’s rantings as a religious nutcase have never been compared to – say – the rantings of the religious right.”

— Is that a joke?


Azael 01.23.06 at 5:55 pm

Sorry, I should have qualified that in that it never a mainstream conversation.


KCinDC 01.23.06 at 6:03 pm

Artemis, I think there’s an implied “by mainstream media, elected officials, TV pundits, or other people who might be considered part of ‘serious’ political discussion in the United States, as opposed to a bunch of left-wing bloggers” there.


dipnut 01.23.06 at 6:04 pm

Mmmh. I’n not embarrassed.

Actually, I’m embarrassed to have misspelled “embarrassed”. Lucky for me, you misspelled “I’m”, so we’re even.

At no time has it entered the main stream conversation that bin Laden had coopted? the rhetoric of Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwel. However, when he “coopts” the rhetoric of the anti-war left, it suddenly became mainstream.

I don’t grant that. But then, I may be out of touch with the mainstream, seeing as I read Crooked Timber.


Artemis 01.23.06 at 6:12 pm


Are columnists in the New York Times “mainstream”?


JRoth 01.23.06 at 9:56 pm

No, no I totally remember Chris Matthews and Noam Chomsky yukking it up about the bin Laden-Santorum parallels, and wondering when Bush would disavow Santorum. That’s exactly what happened. Because if there’s one thing the last 13 years have shown, it’s that talking heads and newsweekly pundits are equal-opportunity mockers. Whether it’s a blowjob or… well, Bush has never done anything wrong, so there’s nothing to compare there. But if Bush ever does do anything wrong, you can just bet that Chris Matthews will be all over it with mockery and about 6 blond pundettes underwritten by the Economic Policy Institute.


abb1 01.24.06 at 1:53 am

Wingnuts on both sides are the same.


Zephania 01.24.06 at 3:22 am

Hi Louis “Leaving aside the quesion of whether it is him or somebody speaking on his behalf” this is part of the most fascinating aspect of the phenomenon.

With regard to the most recent recording of his voice … here is something from the Washington Post: “When Seeing and Hearing Isn’t Believing

Bill Arkin

By William M. Arkin
Special to
Monday, Feb. 1, 1999

“Gentlemen! We have called you together to inform you that we are going to overthrow the United States government.” So begins a statement being delivered by Gen. Carl W. Steiner, former Commander-in-chief, U.S. Special Operations Command.

At least the voice sounds amazingly like him.

But it is not Steiner. It is the result of voice “morphing” technology developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

By taking just a 10-minute digital recording of Steiner’s voice, scientist George Papcun is able, in near real time, to clone speech patterns and develop an accurate facsimile. Steiner was so impressed, he asked for a copy of the tape.” More in the link.

Re: the phenomenon – Where’s the _cui bono_ analysis? Where are the demands for more proof from the 4th estate? Why do we argue the toss … yes it is; no it isn’t on this specious evidence? It’s fascinating to life through a Big Lie period, don’t ya think?


abb1 01.24.06 at 4:32 am

Oh, dear:

FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) – A military jury recommended a simple reprimand Monday for an Army officer who killed an Iraqi general by stuffing him headfirst into a sleeping bag and sitting on his chest during an interrogation.

Welshofer was convicted of putting a sleeping bag over the head of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, sitting on his chest and using his hand to cover the general’s mouth while asking him questions at a detention camp in 2003 in al Qaim, Iraq


snuh 01.24.06 at 4:50 am

abb1, please don’t steal michael moore’s best lines. i mean, sure, it’s a fact that this dude was murdered in american custody, but what’s more important is that this is precisely the sort of thing michael moore would say. therefore, let us never speak of it again.


Chris Clarke 01.24.06 at 10:45 am

Wingnuts on both sides are the same.

But it’s the ones that claim to be in the middle ya gotta watch out for.


Alex 01.24.06 at 11:07 am

What purpose does this post serve? Is it meant to be a parody of Little Green Footballs?


Samuel Alito 01.24.06 at 12:13 pm

I know I’m not supposed to use international law once I’m on the court, but I really want to carve out an exception to consult this document.

The Right Honorable Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
(the A stands for Awesome)


Greg 01.24.06 at 12:45 pm

So he is homosexuality, is against abortion, thinks that religion should play a larger role in politics, and his big problem with Clinton is him getting a blow-job.

Isn’t that the basis of the conservative agenda?


Jaybird 01.24.06 at 2:30 pm

He can have my immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling’s, and trading with interest when he pries them from my cold, dead fingers.


Phoenician in a time of Romans 01.24.06 at 4:12 pm

We note that Bin Laden has lately adopted (co-opted?) arguments we are used to hearing from lefty anti-war types.

He also breathes, eats, shits and obeys the laws of gravity.

It’s called “living in the real world”. If Osama bin Laden said the sun rises in the east, would all the wingnuts rush to scream that it actually rises in the west? So why be surprised if he mixes up some truthful claims with his demands?


Thlayli 01.25.06 at 12:56 pm

To steal a quote from Thomas Friedman:

Some things are true even if Osama bin Laden believes them.


Geoff R 01.27.06 at 12:08 am

So a right-winger picks up the rhetoric of the left, isn’t this they have done since the late 19th century through to the Republican campaign against ‘elites’. Franz Neumann long ago identified fascism’s rhetorical pseudo-leftism.


perianwyr 01.28.06 at 11:54 am

No, to the orthodox, the validity of a statement is entirely derived from the motivation of the speaker.

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