Topic: "Osama Can You See?" (2)
Frodo has spent much of the past twenty four hours listening to people who knew of what they spoke. Last evening, Christiane Amanpour's production "In the Footsteps of bin Laden," was televised on CNN. This morning, Tom Friedman talked live with Don Imus on the MSNBC show "Imus in the Morning." These two journalists have spent much of their lives visiting, observing, and talking with people in the Middle East. They know a lot of stuff, and they have personal contacts which allow them to gather even greater input.
Frodo learned last night that the attack on 9/11 was not viewed universally within the radical fundamentalists of Islam as a great victory. Many of bin Laden's peers felt that the assault on the United States would unleash the "800 pound gorilla," and result in catastrophic damage to the assets of their movement. According to her sources, Amanpour reported that this dialogue has been the major reason that no further attacks have so far been unleashed against the United States. Although planning for another assault is underway, and one cleric has already authorized al Qaeda to commit the deaths of up to "10 Million" American civilians in such an attack, the political discourse within radical Islam continues. The tapes released by al Qaeda are basically political propaganda spouting bin Laden's position.
Frodo wonders if George W. Armstrong Custer Bush, now on phase II of his month-long vacation (this time in Maine with his parents), knows that his efforts to prevent another assault on America have been basically irrelevant?
Tom Friedman first travelled to the Middle East when he was 16 years old. He has always sounded much like Gandalf when he discusses the make-up of this part of our small blue planet. Friedman has used the term "vacuum" time-and-again when discussing the institutional changes initiated by the Iraqi incursion, explaining that one must replace a broken brick with a new brick, or the whole wall will collapse upon itself. Frodo's analogy here is his own.
Friedman has concluded that there is no further role for the military arm of the United States in what has basically become an internal and civil conflict. Our military stands amidst what has basically become a struggle within Islam itself. A struggle between those who desire secular government, and those who desire a fundamentalist state. At the present time the US military serves no role other than to support one of these positions against the other. It is a more dangerous world because of our presence there, and Friedman grows increasingly pessimistic with each passing day.
Frodo has thought about the position of 130,000 brave young Americans, with Sunnis to the left of them, Shiites to the right of them, volleyed and thundered. Into the Valley of Death, in obedience to their Commander, ride the many hundred.
All it takes is a malignant ideologue who justifies the death of so many as "pay back" for many years of supplying and supporting those who committed "atrocities" against Islam. For this is exactly the position of those who follow bin Laden. There are now "a thousand" who would sacrifice themselves in a short flight into the Mess Hall of the largest concentration of US troops in Iraq. That is not the course for us to stay. In contrast to the Commander-in-Chief, Frodo argues that staying there will be the "disaster."
God grant Frodo's wish that he is wrong.