Nashville has more than its share of “birthers” who seem to believe that President Barack Obama is some sort of planted Muslim agent. Their calling card is that they love to use his middle name: Barack Hussein Obama. But now their strange assertions have been countered by an unlikely source, Osama bin Laden.
According to a recent Washington Post article by David Ignatius, bin Laden commanded his al-Qaeda associates to assassinate President Obama, calling him “the head of infidelity.”
What will the birthers say now that the central figure of Islamic jihad just refuted their pet theory?
The assassination plot is described in documents retrieved from bin Laden’s compound by Navy Seals the night he was killed. Ignatius was given an exclusive preview of some of those documents, which have been declassified and may soon be available to the public in the original Arabic and translations.
The documents also tell us interesting things about bin Laden’s organization, its failures and perhaps about our government’s as well.
In a 48-page directive bin Laden instructed his top lieutenant, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, to focus “every effort that could be spent on attacks in America” instead of operations within Muslim nations. But a senior analyst who reviewed the documents pointed out that al-Qaeda “lacks the ability to plan, organize and execute complex, catastrophic attacks.” So with bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda unable to execute catastrophic attacks, why are we still fighting in Afghanistan, especially considering the recent atrocities that have greatly strained an already-frazzled relationship?
The documents also reveal that bin Laden thought his organization has ruined its reputation by killing too many Muslims in its jihad against America. But our government has exactly the same problem.
Bin Laden’s biggest concern was al-Qaeda’s media image among Muslims. He was so worried about this that he suggested finding a new name for the organization. But what has the “United States” come to mean in the region?
Bin Laden mentioned “mistakes” and “miscalculations” by affiliates who had killed Muslims. He told Atiyah to warn every regional leader to avoid such “unnecessary” civilian casualties. “Making these mistakes is a great issue,” he stressed, arguing that spilling “Muslim blood” had resulted in “the alienation of most of the nation [of Islam] from the [Mujaheddin].” Local al-Qaeda leaders should “apologize and be held responsible for what happened.”
Of course the United States has exactly the same problem, but American politicians resist apologizing for even the most terrible of mistakes, making the United States seem arrogant and indifferent even to the deaths of innocent children. Every American death is an atrocity and an “act of terrorism.” But when Americans go berserk and desecrate Korans, urinate on Muslims, or kill civilians, they have PTSD. But what about Muslims who have lived through a decade of hell on earth. Isn’t it possible that some of them have America-induced PTSD? That possibility is almost never mentioned.
Bin Laden also criticized subordinates for linking their operations to local grievances rather than the overarching Muslim cause of Palestine. But the U.S. has repeatedly fumbled the ball on the matter of equal rights and justice for Palestinians, by always supporting the “Israeli Injustice Machine.” Why? Because the pro-Israel lobby wines and dines American politicians and helps them win elections with Jewish votes and campaign contributions. Thus, millions of completely innocent Palestinian women and children continue to be deprived of basic rights, freedom and justice. And therefore, for completely understandable reasons, our name remains Mudd in the Middle East.
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.