In the video, bin Laden accused Bush of misleading Americans by saying the attack was carried out because Al Qaeda "hates freedom." The terrorist leader said his followers have left alone countries that do not threaten Muslims.
Let's see, countries that threaten Muslims include: the U.S., the U.K., Russia, China. Pakistan, Australia, the Philippines, Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Tunisia, Belgium, Germany, Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and, of course, Israel. I may have missed a couple. Apparently Sweden is safe.
"We fought you because we are free ... and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours," bin Laden said."Our nation?"
The principal stated aims of al-Qaeda are to drive Americans and American influence out of all Muslim nations, especially Saudi Arabia; destroy Israel; and topple pro-Western dictatorships around the Middle East. Bin Laden has also said that he wishes to unite all Muslims and establish, by force if necessary, an Islamic nation adhering to the rule of the first Caliphs.So, his "freedom" for his nation means a holy war, the creation of a Islamic super nation (but only for Muslims who believe exactly as he does- the rest can be killed or converted). His "freedom" means the freedom to believe exactly as he does and follow the rules of Sharia as he would have them interpreted.
According to bin Laden's 1998 fatwa (religious decree), it is the duty of Muslims around the world to wage holy war on the U.S., American citizens, and Jews. Muslims who do not heed this call are declared apostates (people who have forsaken their faith).
Al-Qaeda's ideology, often referred to as "jihadism," is marked by a willingness to kill "apostate" -and Shiite-Muslims and an emphasis on jihad. Although "jihadism" is at odds with nearly all Islamic religious thought, it has its roots in the work of two modern Sunni Islamic thinkers: Mohammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Sayyid Qutb.
Al-Wahhab was an 18th-century reformer who claimed that Islam had been corrupted a generation or so after the death of Mohammed. He denounced any theology or customs developed after that as non-Islamic, including more than 1,000 years of religious scholarship. He and his supporters took over what is now Saudi Arabia, where Wahhabism remains the dominant school of religious thought.
Sayyid Qutb, a radical Egyptian scholar of the mid-20th century, declared Western civilization the enemy of Islam, denounced leaders of Muslim nations for not following Islam closely enough, and taught that jihad should be undertaken not just to defend Islam, but to purify it.
[C]alling the Sharia 'law' can be misleading, as Sharia extends beyond law. Sharia is the totality of religious, political, social, domestic and private life. Sharia is primarily meant for all Muslims, but applies to a certain extent also for people living inside a Muslim society...
Bin Laden suggested Bush was slow to react to the Sept. 11 attacks, giving the hijackers more time than they expected. At the time of the attacks, the president was listening to schoolchildren in Florida reading a book.This last stuff is just pure baloney and a blatant play to the Michael Moore "makeitupumentary" fan base who believe that 5 or 7 minutes might have made some difference in what happened on 9/11. Actually, at the time of the book reading the second tower had already been hit. Apparently, OBL is of the school of thought that the President should have jumped up and perfotmed the classic "When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout" routine intead of calmly letting his subordinates get a handle on what was happening before deciding on a response (if I'd been in the Natonal Command Center, I would have appreciated that- it's hard enough trying to sort through first reports - which are almost always wrong- without any "prompting' by the higher levels of the food chain).
"It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American armed forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face these horrors alone," he said, referring to the number of people who worked at the World Trade Center.
"It appeared to him [Bush] that a little girl's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers. That gave us three times the required time to carry out the operations, thank God," he said.
Osama has obviously been following the election process and is trying to get President Bush out of the way. He apparently (and to my mind correctly) reads Kerry as a "negotiator and not a fighter" whose election might provide time for the OBL movement to recover from the damage being wrought on it by the US and our allies. Now is not the time to give him what he wants.
Update: Beldar has a good piece on OBL's gambit.
Update: A good analysis at Captain's Quarters
Update: While I like his analysis, I disagree slightly with Wretchard at Belmont Club about the significance of what OBL did not directly say in the tape.
It is important to notice what he has stopped saying in this speech. He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out.Instead, I think he certainly implies in his use of the phrase "our nation" that he is still tracking towards the unification of Muslims into a single Islamic nation. I think that the Captain has it right in his analysis that OBL has toned down his language to attempt to appear "reasonable":
Far from signaling a surrender, I believe that OBL wants to influence the American elections as another demonstration of his power. He wants to depose George Bush, but he's smart enough to understand that a fire-breathing performance only helps Bush by scaring/insulting the voters. His moderate performance was designed to appeal to the reasonable leftists and centrists who tend to believe that America brought Islamist terror onto itself. His "offer" amounts to a lever with which to promote anti-Israel sentiment to undercut support for Bush, as well as give people the impression that the war is Bush's fault, despite the years of Al Qaeda attacks on American assets.
Update: Donald Sensing has an excellent post about the effect of the "Chicago Way" on OBL's motivation for the newest tape.
Update: Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette offers up some good stuff including this pithy bit on Osama's reappearance: " Just in time for Halloween he's come out swinging, one would assume with his best stuff, and lo and behold it's Michael Moore quotes"
Update: Roger L. Simon says only 6 minutes of the OBL tape was shown and some of parts left out talk about the damage the U.S. has done to the OBL network.