Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Funny, really. Not so long ago I took the generic comment regarding Osama bin Laden as "insane, crazy, an absolute loon, etc." as essentially shallow, even if it was understandable. Fact is, most Americans have delved into the why and how of bin Laden and Al Qaeda only so far as their equally shallow mentors, the mainstream media, have allowed them to. In short, little critical thought, lots of superficial nonsense and coin words like "thug" or "massmurderer" designed to market rather than inform. This isn't to say that I have any semblance, whatsoever, of empathy for bin Laden's cause.

Rather that I'd begun to grasp the concept of bin Laden through research and understood that he was well beyond such simplistic realms of definition. Sun Tzu cautions us; "Know your enemy." While I'm certainly not actively fighting bin Laden or AQ I am engaging their philosophy and intentions intellectually from a position of vehement opposition and so Sun Tzu's infamous words apply here, I think.

Boiled down and brief, my understanding concluded that bin Laden was a toss back to the teachings of Muhommed ibn Abd al Wahab whose ideals have come to be the thread that's woven into much Sunni fundamentalism. The essence being a successful civilization (and planetary hegemony) centered around the most pious recognition of the Koran as absolute law.

In this respect bin Laden tied his Jihad to a conceivable cause in the same essence that any martial-expansionist has (good or evil) whether it be Genghis Khan or Adolf Hitler. Long story short, here's the world and here's the world as I want it to be. Now where's my army? Hence my above mentioned reticence to writing off bin Laden as a simple lunatic in the Jim Jones fashion and my want to understand him and his cause as something more complex and dynamic, well beyond the common murderer who spills blood to satisfy his own internal demons.

Recently, I've come to second guess my own possible over analysis of bin Laden. That I'd layered on complexity in considering him and his dark cause when simplicity would have been a better tool as the truth might well be hovering just below my nose as I squinted in a most studious fashion at the distant horizon.

I considered his early days in Afghanistan under his mentor, Abdullah Azzam when bin Laden was little more than a financial beneficiary of a propaganda machine designed to draw, train and thrust an Arab mujahideen into the Afghan cause. I considered the general attitude of the Arab muj when compared to the Afghan muj, the former that of simple, reckless martyrdom while their Pashtun and Tajik "brethren" were fighting for their existence as they knew it. I thought of the division between bin Laden and Azzam when the former decided he'd wanted a taste of the blood and guts of this jihad. And on, how after the Soviets had yanked their smarting forces from the bleak landscape of Afghanistan, bin Laden hadn't simply raised a celebratory fist, rather he'd cast his eyes beyond and sought out the next Jihad.

These considerations were topped by this recent post that detailed very real, very worrying (for AQ) and very under reported dissent within the ideological ranks of AQ's core membership. And I've begun to consider that perhaps the simplistic approach is best suited, not for it's simple ease, rather for it's ring of truth. That bin Laden is little more than a man who fell in love with not the idea behind what he defines to be jihad, rather the simple want to act in a manner that ends lives. In other words, despite any and all analysis by myself or those more proficient in this subject, the simple reality may be that Osama bin Laden kills for the thrill of killing and is not equitable to that of Sulla or Stalin but rather that of Dahmer or Manson.


Adrian said...

doesn't have to be one or the other. bin ladin's belief in his political objectives could be real while at the same time he is in love with the idea of killing for god.

Jay@Soob said...

True enough. But then, his political ideals could be a simple vehicle for his fascination with ending life (for pleasure, not God.) A bit like the Abu Sayaf, who parade around this Islamic Cause bit when they're really little more than an enterprising kidnapping cartel.