From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Mon Sep 17 2001 - 07:50:54 MDT

[ Apologies in advance for not very extropian content ]

Or should that be, "Idiot-in-Chief"?
I don't like Dubya, but up until today I've had the impression that he
was handling this crisis reasonably well -- not brilliantly, but
competently. (Which is all we can ask for of any president, really.)
Then he had to go and use the C-word in a public speech: "crusade".
I'm speechless. Really, I am.
Hasn't he been paying *ANY* attention to what's going on? And why didn't
his minders stop him from using that fatal word? All you have to do is
read Osama bin Laden's original declaration of war on the west (which
you can find at to realise that
ObL's political position is that the west is waging a Crusade -- in the
historical sense of the word -- against Islam.
In that fatwa, Osama bin Laden wrote "The Arabian Peninsula has never --
since God made it flat, created its desert, and encircled it with seas --
been stormed by any forces like the crusader armies spreading in it like
locusts, eating its riches and wiping out its plantations." Then he went
on to say, "all these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a
clear declaration of war on God, his messenger, and Muslims."
It's there, clear as day: Osama bin Laden's whole program is to accuse
the Americans of waging a Crusade -- a holy war against Islam, and to
call on moslems to rally round in a jihad against the crusaders. Now
Dubya has just stood up in front of a billion moslems and in effect
told them that Osama bin Laden is right; that this *is* a holy war
being waged by the christian nations against islam.
I have difficulty imagining a way he could have phrased it that would
have been more inflammatory or offensive to the islamic countries --
Pakistan, for example, but also all the Arab countries -- who he's trying
to drag into this coalition. Here's a metaphor: imagine the response if
he'd announced his intention of sending troops to Somalia in terms like:
"we're jes' goin' to pacify the niggers". _That_ is what pinning the
word "crusade" on America's response means to the islamic world.
That's right, Dubya, you go on trying to build that coalition with Islamic
states as members. Don't you worry, they'll get the message. You've
probably just given bin Laden the first ray of hope since the 11th
of September.
-- Charlie

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:50 MDT