Jan. 20, 2006 | My message to you is about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how to end them. I did not intend to speak to you about this, because this issue has already been decided. Only metal breaks metal, and our situation, thank God, is only getting better and better, while your situation is the opposite of that.
But I plan to speak about the repeated errors your President Bush has committed in comments on the results of your polls that show an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. But he Bush has opposed this wish and said that withdrawing troops sends the wrong message to opponents, that it is better to fight them [bin Laden's followers] on their land than their fighting us [Americans] on our land.
I can reply to these errors by saying that war in Iraq is raging with no let-up, and operations in Afghanistan are escalating in our favor, thank God, and 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. So you can imagine the state of psychological breakdown that afflicts a soldier as he gathers the remains of his colleagues after they stepped on land mines that tore them apart. After this situation the soldier is caught between two hard options. He either refuses to leave his military camp on patrols and is therefore dogged by ruthless punishments enacted by the Vietnam Butcher [U.S. Army], or he gets destroyed by the mines. This puts him under psychological pressure, fear and humiliation while his nation is ignorant of that. The soldier has no solution except to commit suicide. That is a strong message to you, written by his soul, blood and pain, to save what can be saved from this hell. The solution is in your hands if you care about them [the soldiers].
The news of our brother mujahedin [holy warriors] is different from what the Pentagon publishes. They [the news of mujahedin] and what the media report is the truth of what is happening on the ground. And what deepens the doubt over the White House's information is the fact that it targets the media reporting the truth from the ground. And it has appeared lately, supported by documents, that the butcher of freedom in the world [Bush] had decided to bomb the headquarters of the Al-Jazeera in Qatar after bombing its offices in Kabul and Baghdad.
On another issue, jihad [holy war] is ongoing, thank God, despite all the oppressive measures adopted by the U.S. Army and its agents, [which are] to a point where there is no difference between this criminality and Saddam's criminality, as it has reached the degree of raping women and taking them as hostages instead of their husbands.
As for torturing men, they have used burning chemical acids and drills on their joints. And when they give up on [interrogating] them, they sometimes use the drills on their heads until they die. Read, if you will, the reports of the horrors in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo prisons.
And I say that, despite all the barbaric methods, they have not broken the fierceness of the resistance. The mujahedin, thank God, are increasing in number and strength -- so much so that reports point to the ultimate failure and defeat of the unlucky quartet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Declaring this defeat is just a matter of time, depending partly on how much the American people know of the size of this tragedy. The sensible people realize that Bush does not have a plan to make his alleged victory in Iraq come true.
And if you compare the small number of dead on the day that Bush announced the end of major operations in that fake, ridiculous show aboard the aircraft carrier with the tenfold number of dead and wounded who were killed in the smaller operations, you would know the truth of what I say. This is that Bush and his administration do not have the will or the ability to get out of Iraq for their own private, suspect reasons.
And so to return to the issue, I say that results of polls please those who are sensible and Bush's opposition to them is a mistake. The reality shows that the war against America and its allies has not been limited to Iraq as he [Bush] claims. Iraq has become a point of attraction and restorer of [our] energies. At the same time, the mujahedin, with God's grace, have managed repeatedly to penetrate all security measures adopted by the unjust allied countries. The proof of that is the explosions you have seen in the capitals of the European nations who are in this aggressive coalition. The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes the minute they are through [being completed], with God's permission.
Based on what has been said, this shows the errors of Bush's statement -- the one that slipped from him -- which is at the heart of polls calling for withdrawing the troops. It is better that we [Americans] don't fight Muslims on their lands and that they don't fight us on ours.
We don't mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America who have supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars -- which lets us understand the insistence by Bush and his gang to carry on with war.
If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you. 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," which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all."
Finally, I say that war will go either in our favor or yours. If it is the former, it means your loss and your shame forever, and it is headed in this course. If it is the latter, read history! We are people who do not stand for injustice and we will seek revenge all our lives. The nights and days will not pass without us taking vengeance like on Sept. 11, God permitting. Your minds will be troubled and your lives embittered. As for us, we have nothing to lose. A swimmer in the ocean does not fear the rain. You have occupied our lands, offended our honor and dignity, and let out our blood and stolen our money and destroyed our houses and played with our security, and we will give you the same treatment.
You have tried to prevent us from leading a dignified life, but you will not be able to prevent us from a dignified death. Failing to carry out jihad, which is called for in our religion, is a sin. The best death to us is under the shadows of swords. Don't let your strength and modern arms fool you. They win a few battles but lose the war. Patience and steadfastness are much better. We were patient in fighting the Soviet Union with simple weapons for 10 years and we bled their economy and now they are nothing.
In that there is a lesson for you.
On the tape, bin Laden promises that new terrorist attacks against U. S. soil are in preparation--but, citing polls indicating that a majority of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, he then offers us a "long term truce" so that "both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce [and] so we can [re-]build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war."
It appears that bin Laden wants to go over Bush's head directly to the American people and sue for peace. "If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you," he declares.
But exactly how are the American people supposed to signal their acceptance of such a truce? That is left unexplained. But bin Laden does assert that 'if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State, which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all.'
The implication is that if Americans "apologize to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured" and "announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all", that would signal our acceptance of the truce. To be honest, it is not much to ask, if bin Laden's offer is to be believed. But who exactly is supposed to represent the American people in accepting this offer, if not President Bush? Osama Bin Laden leaves that unexplained.
In short, there is an inherent incoherence in bin Laden's message. He appears to offer to bypass Bush and make peace (or at least "a long-term truce") directly with the American people, yet leaves unexplained how such a bypass could be enacted. It would appear impossible.
Bin Laden must know that. The real audience which he is addressing, therefore, is the audience of fellow Muslims--not that of Americans. He is attempting to show the Islamic world how reasonable he is--that peace is his first preference, rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan his top priorities. When the next attack occurs against Americans, he will shrug and say "I offered them a truce, even going over the head of their President, but they did not take me up on it."
It is little surprise that Osama bin Laden's messages are self-serving. They are deliberate bits of propaganda, as are many of the utterances that come from the Pentagon and Administration officials, President Bush included.
Unfortunately, bin Laden's assessment of the likely outcome of "the war on terror"--propaganda though it is-- is much more realistic than the self-deceiving assessments from Bush & Co. The war on terror, as it is currently being fought, is a losing proposition for us, and one which will eventually lead to the loss of our freedom and democracy, as well as the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans--if not millions. Terrorism of the sort we face cannot be successfully fought militarily, for every battle we win results in more enemies willing to die for their cause.
For example, our recent missile attack in Pakistan killed some top al-Qaida leaders, but also killed 18 women and children and inflamed the Pakistani public to such an extent that it has likely created 10 or 100 new terrorist recruits for each one we managed to kill. You cannot defeat terrorism by inflicting terror yourself.
Worse, the 21st century's trend in weaponry favors popular transient terrorists who have no specific territory to defend and who are willing to die for their cause. That same weaponry trend disfavors modern sovereign nations in such a conflict, even a nation boasting the most powerful military in the world.
The reason is that civilized nations have something to lose--places to defend, lives to protect, a state of freedom to preserve--while their terrorist enemies have already been driven to the point where they believe they have nothing left to lose and are committed to killing themselves in retaliation.
Attempting to fight terror with terror merely results in the enemy gaining enough popular sympathy that they are able to obtain more financing, better technical know-how and motivate more sympathizers into becoming suicidal fodder for more attacks.
It is not too late--yet--for the United States to change course.
To do so, we have to stop being stupid.
That would involve recognizing that Islamic suicide-terrorism cannot be successfully fought militarily; that to win we must diffuse & remove the motivations which drive the terrorist response, and we must also "civilize" the war on terror by treating terrorists as criminals rather than as enemy soldiers on a battlefield.
The Bush approach, which is to use our military to inflict terror on the terrorists (including suspending the rules of civilization against torture and intimidation of suspects and sympathizers) is doomed. It is like throwing gasoline on a fire. The fire has suddenly gotten much larger, and idiots that we are, our response is to hit it with more gasoline. When the fire flames up bigger still, the Bush response is to forbid measuring the size of the fire*, and throw yet more gasoline.
The American experiment which began in 1776 cannot survive such conflagration for long.
*The U. S Government used to compile a terrorism index, counting the number of terrorist attacks (exclusive of war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan), but after the index showed dramatic increases in terrorist incidents in 2003 and again in 2004, the Bush Administration ordered it stopped. Which--let's be blunt--goes beyond stupidity.