Sunday, January 22

What Democratic Cliches Has Bin Laden Missed?

Surely there must be some. When you spend so much time running from one cave to the next, pestering Allah five times a day and beating half a dozen wives, you can't be expected to catch every single episode of West Wing. You don't dare subscribe to The New York Times - what if they have a CIA agent in their circulation department? (They're awfully cozy with that Plame woman, whose husband allows her to go around dressed like a prostitute.) And your guano-powered generator is always conking out before you can load The Huffington Post.

And yet, bin Laden hasn't done a half bad job, considering all of these obstacles. It's as if he's being coached by Sandy Berger. By the way, has anybody seen Berger around lately? Anyway, here are the Democratic Talking Points that bin Laden trots out in his latest communique, in order:

1. "... your polls that show an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq."

To bin Laden, these polls are obviously the greatest thing since the toe-popper mine. He mentions them no less than three times in his statement. The blessed Koran, on the other hand, gets no reference at all. Caliph Omar's conquest of Jerusalem in 638? No mention at all.

Bin Laden's distortion and exaggeration of "polls" suggests that he doesn't have much understanding or first-hand knowledge of them, but he is definitely familiar with anti-war rhetoric about polls.

2. "Pentagon figures show the number of your dead and wounded is increasing not to mention the massive material losses, the destruction of the soldiers' morale there and the rise in cases of suicide among them."

John Murtha might say the same thing on Sixty Minutes, and essentially has. But it's unusual for a terrorist to lecture us about troop morale and Pentagon expenses. If we were destroying our military and bankrupting our imperialist treasury, the terrorist would not be pleading with us to stop. He would want more, more, more.

Besides obsessing about things like troop morale, bin Laden shows other second-hand traces of rhetoric about the war. Several times he uses the silly redundant phrase "[Situation] on the ground".

3. "The Vietnam Butcher."

Domestic critics of the war would just say "Vietnam" for short, but many of them mean the same thing bin Laden does.

4. "... what deepens the doubt over the White House's information is the fact that it targets the media reporting the truth from the ground."

So somebody is ordering somebody to shoot journalists. Where have you heard that before?

Bin Laden has apparently forgotten about all the journalists his gang have murdered, like Daniel Pearl. Most journalists seem to have forgotten about them as well.

5. "... oppressive measures [have been] adopted by the U.S Army and its agents to a point where there is no difference between this criminality and Saddam's criminality."

Dick Durbin put that much better, didn't he? And John Kerry threw in some very imaginative examples.

6. "Read, if you will, the reports of the horrors in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons."

Bin Laden is obviously an avid reader of such reports, but he sounds much less passionate about them than Al Gore does. Almost apathetic in comparison.

7. "... reports point to the ultimate failure and defeat of the unlucky quartet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz."

This is an artful way of putting it, though I suspect that the word "unlucky" is a poor translation. Many of bin Laden's followers are more shocked by Condoleezza Rice than they would be by ten thousand Paul Wolfowitzes, but bin Laden is not talking to his followers here. He gives the correct leftist orthodox version of the Unholy Pantheon.

8. " The sensible people realize that Bush does not have a plan to make his alleged victory in Iraq come true. "

Bush does not have a plan! Of all the Mynah-bird noises in this statement, this one squawks the loudest. What the hell does bin Laden care? If there's no plan, so much the better for him.

9. "And if you compare the small number of dead on the day that Bush announced the end of major operations ..."

Must not overlook the "Bush declared victory, Bush declared victory!" meme. Again, bin Laden's phrasing of it looks moderate in comparison.

10. "... that fake, ridiculous show aboard the aircraft carrier ..."

Yes indeed, Osama bin Laden shared the indignation that all decent Americans felt at that photo of Bush in the flight suit. Al Franken, he feels your pain.

It seems strange that the leader of a vast terrorist organization would fret over what Bush wore at a photo opportunity. Does Lex Luthor spend a lot of time worrying about Superman's color coordination? When did the job of "terrorist" and "bitchy media pundit" become conflated?

Welcome to Michael Moore's world, where all of these things are cosmicly connected. In the meantime, peace-loving Americans, Osama bin Laden just wants you to know that if it makes you mad, it makes him mad, too.

11. "Bush and his administration do not have the will or the ability to get out of Iraq for their own private, suspect reasons."

Apparently nobody at al-Qaeda HQ knows what the proper Arabic transliteration for Halliburton is. Otherwise he could have just said "Halliburton" and saved some space.

12. "Iraq has become a point of attraction and restorer of energies."

Bin Laden probably does not like the standard Democratic term, "breeding ground". After all, this is a Holy Jihad, not a prairie dog town at the height of rutting season.

13. "And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State ..."

Check out William Blum's Rogue State at your bookstore and you'll find that it is also highly recommended by Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, and Oliver Stone. They blurbed all over it. I suppose they will have to add bin Laden's kudos now. After all, Osama bin Laden is a sort of superior version of Noam Chomsky. He knows everything Chomsky knows, plus how to milk a goat and field-strip an AK-47.

How does this relate to Democratic Talking Points? Have you heard an Al Gore speech lately? Put it down in a book and it would make Rogue State look like Reader's Digest.

Incidentally, in his little bio at Counterpunch (the Internet Magazine that Hits Like a Girl) William Blum brags about having revealed the names and addresses of hundreds of CIA agents after he left the State Department in 1967. Look up some of the angry internet editorials about Valerie Plame and you'll be surprised how many of them feature an advertisement for Rogue State on the same page.

THE ANSWER: The Democratic Cliches on Iraq/WoT which bin Laden missed are: a) The Legendary Plastic Turkey; and b) wiretapping and searches of al-Qaeda suspects. The great turkey scandal is mainly of interest to esoterics like Cindy Sheehan, so we won't count off too much for that. You'd think he'd have complained about our attempts to spy on his employees, though. Some boss he must be.

That aside, this is such a comprehensive collection of donkey-gripes that I'm amazed there's nothing in there about Jack Abramoff. Maybe "Jack Off" witticisms don't translate well into Arabic. And it's possible that the communication was cut short by a security alert, just as bin Laden was about to rip into Linda Tripp and the Great Arkansas Baitshop Conspiracy.

He might have even intended to close with "Go for Gore in '08!", laughing at us stupid Americans who don't get the double meaning.

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